| Hackathon

First Climathon in Darmstadt hosted at the Innovation Center

24 hours hacking for our climate: Simultaneously with Climathons in 112 other cities around the globe, the Merck Innovation Center hosted a first edition of this global movement in Darmstadt, Germany. Overnight, the participants came up with solutions to tackle challenges around climate change. Winning team "AgroTrace" aims to document environmentally friendly agriculture around Darmstadt via satellite.

From October 26-27, this very special hackathon at the Innovation Center was dedicated entirely to the challenges of climate change. Originally conceptualized as a hackathon by EIT Climate-KIC, a body of the European Union (EU), the Climathon in 2018 took place simultaneously in 113 cities on all 6 continents, demonstrating that climate issues need a global initiative. Together with the City of Darmstadt, Cesah GmbH and Döhler Group, the Innovation Center brought the event to Darmstadt for the first time

Within only 24-hours, the 20 people on site made it their task to solve pressuring climate issues. The main challenge was connected to our Innovation Field "Clean Meat" and demanded participants to come up with ideas for a sustainable food chain. Discussing questions like “What does sustainable food actually mean?” or “How can customers be enabled to make sensible purchasing decisions?”, three teams were formed to tackle the challenge in a multi-layered way. Motivated by specially created drinks from Döhler Group and with the support of mentors, the participants traded sleep against the will to improve the world, only interrupted by a motivation outdoor round of physical activity to bring the body to level of their brain performance

Three pitches, one winner

Overnight, the concepts were designed, prototypes created, hypotheses tested, rejected, and re-executed. Finally, three projects were presented to the jury:

  • "GreenTreasure" describes a model for urban agriculture that citizens can use to build their own food through individualized recommendations.
  • "AgroTrace" developed an algorithm that uses Earth observation data from ESA satellites to classify farms and fields in the Darmstadt area as environmentally friendly, while also showing pesticide use of farmers.
  • "Gartenbörse Darmstadt" created an online matchmaking platform for citizens, giving them the opportunity to share their garden with those without access to farming land, offering their resources for horticulture.

With the intention of combining different technologies to measure the resources used and identify real sustainable nutrition options in the Darmstadt region, the first price went to "AgroTrace". The team won a further collaboration opportunity with the City of Darmstadt and FabSpace 2.0 (part ofCesah GmbH) and were invited to an all-inclusive trip to a sustainable food conference in a European city of their choice. The two other teams will develop their ideas further, together with the partners and the support of Climate-KIC. In addition, the useful learnings from the event will benefit the internal projects at the Merck Innovation Center.

What´s next?

Until November 14, we are accepting applications from talented creators to participate in our upcoming Makerthon. A new hackathon format for “Makers”, organized in collaboration with Deutsche Telekom that will take place simultaneously over three weeks at our Innovation Center´s Maker Space in Darmstadt and the Telekom Open Spaces in Bonn.

 

More information about Hackathons click here!