Covid-19 response

Hackathon targets impact of Covid-19

Students from eight of Europe’s leading research-intensive universities are joining forces to develop computer-based solutions to address Covid-19.

The 10-day hackathon involves more than 100 students, working in small teams, to find answers to four Covid-19 related issues.

The challenges are linked to traveller safety, minimising food waste, ensuring privacy in a digital world, and rethinking entertainment and culture in societies where Covid-19 means restrictions on normal human interaction.

Universities united

The hackathon, known as UNA.TEN (Transform Emergency Now! 10 Days for Change), is the work of UNA Europa, a group of eight leading universities - which includes Edinburgh - that seeks to redesign the education sector in Europe.

The initiative will use an open-innovation design process, with teams of five Masters students and early-career professionals collaborating together. While their primary focus will be local, the students will interact with European colleagues through virtual idea boards to share and understand global perspectives.

City community

The teams at Edinburgh will work with a number of local partners to examine two of the four UNA.TEN challenge themes.

These partners are The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, Festivals Edinburgh, and PosiFest who will help develop solutions to concerns around traveller safety and entertainment. The University is integral to the success of the City’s annual Fringe Festival, the biggest arts event in the world.

Meanwhile, the University’s own art gallery, the Talbot Rice, will assist in the task of rethinking how entertainment and culture will need to adapt in a world grappling with Covid-19.

The Covid crisis presents each of us with new challenges. This UNA Europa event will allow our students to showcase their creative abilities and find design solutions by working with our European partners. The problems being addressed by our teams are already having significant impact on the local community here in Edinburgh. We hope that together, we can find innovative ways to adapt to what is the new normal.

Arno VerhoevenProgramme Director, Edinburgh College of Art, the University of Edinburgh

UNA.TEN will conclude on 8 May, the day before Europe Day. Daily updates and invitations to virtual sessions can be found on UNA Europa’s Twitter feed.

European co-operation

The UNA Europa alliance consists of the University of Edinburgh, along with Freie Universität Berlin, Università di Bologna, Uniwersytet Jagielloński w Krakowie, KU Leuven, University of Helsinki, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

The aim of the Alliance is to develop long-term cooperation and integration between its members, focusing on innovative research and teaching and boosting international study and research opportunities for students and staff. 

Related links

UNA Europa

Edinburgh College of Art

The University at the Festivals

Talbot Rice Gallery

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society

Festivals Edinburgh