On 20-22 May 2016, the {Life Science} meets IT Hackathon took place in Heidelberg to develop new business ideas and innovative healthcare solutions with the help of IT. The German EIT Health GmbH, Heidelberg Startup Partners e.V., the University of Heidelberg and Hackerstolz e.V. jointly organised this Hackathon, to bring together enthusiastic young professionals and students from different areas to work on new developments (including prototypes, business ideas, etc.) in the area of healthcare and IT. In this regard, the international network of EIT Health must be commended for attracting innovative talents and founders from the InnoSTAR-country Poland, as well as employees from Merck in the US.

The event was already sold out in advance, as more than 80 participants from different fields (technical & IT, medical, design, business) and from different countries (Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Poland, US) registered. In this regard, the international network of EIT Health was very effective, attracting innovative talents and founders from Poland (Lodz) as well as coaches from Sweden (Stockholm). Krim Talia, Board Member of the Scandinavian CLC of EIT Health and Peter Sandberg of the Technical Research Institute of Sweden were also among the keynote speakers.

13 teams were built and the participants worked on solutions in the areas of chronic diseases and healthy lifestyles, doctor-patient communication, dementia, digitally-assisted learning in surgery, brain functionality and augmented/virtual reality, disease interception and many other areas.  Further representatives from politics, business and other organisations participated in the Pitch & Award Ceremony on Sunday evening. A highlight of the evening ceremony on 22 May 2016 in front of more than 100 listeners was the opening speech of Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Science, Research and the Arts, Theresia Bauer.

“Today’s challenges in the health sector require new forms of collaboration and new means of leveraging ideas. In this regard, Baden-Württemberg is committed to the opportunities that digitalization entails. This {Life Science} meets IT Hackathon was the perfect setting for taking this approach”, according to Minister Bauer.

The Hackathon took place in the Marsilius Arcades in Heidelberg. Dr Thomas Prexl, CEO of the Heidelberg Startup Partners and Head of the Founder Bureau in the Heidelberg Technology Park, said that “the region around Heidelberg is a great place to combine life sciences and IT and offered thus the ideal venue for the Hackathon.

Dr Armin Pscherer, CEO of the German EIT Health GmbH was also very pleased with the outcomes, saying “The first event in this regard was a complete success for EIT Health. The spirit of the Hackathon coincides with the core aims of EIT Health: enthusiasm for healthcare solutions, talent-driven ideation and short-track implementation”.

The official sponsors of the Hackathon were Merck, SAP and Heidelberg Technology Park. Challenges were delivered and presented by Merck, Janssen, Microsoft, ESA and other organisations. Free access to Statista and Shutterstock facilitated work on new ideas. One of the material sponsors, Roche Rapid Prototyping Team, supported the Hackathon teams with 3D-printers, also creating the Hackathon trophies that were designed together with Course Resource.

During the weekend of 20-22 May 2016, renowned high-level speakers and coaches motivated the participants to find new solutions for a sustainable future in the area of health and IT. Tobias Gantner, Founder and CEO of HealthcareFuturists, was the moderator of the event. Other speakers included for example Prof Dr Thomas Rausch of the University of Heidelberg, Dr Armin Pscherer of the German EIT Health GmbH, Dr Raoul Haschke and Dr Thomas Prexl of the Heidelberg Startup Partners. The jury of the Hackathon was compiled of high-level representatives from the health field with academic or business backgrounds.

The winners were awarded in three different categories:

  • Best Business Case and Audience Award: Team “iSurgeon” – digitally-assisted learning in surgery;
  • Best technical solution/best hack: Team “Habilitas – Augmenting Brain Functionality“;
  • Most Patient-centric Solution: Team “Transparency in doctor-patient communication (Med.INION)“ – enhancing information exchange between doctor and patient.

These three winning teams will receive a starter-founding package of the German EIT Health GmbH to support the foundation of their new business. The team “LifeSense – measuring data for healthier lifestyles” received the Microsoft Award. The winners of the Audience Award will also be eligible to take part in the German EIT Health Business Plan Contest.

For more information about the event: www.lifesciencemeetsit.eu

Pictures can be found here: http://www.lifesciencemeetsit.eu/documentation/