MBRU hackathon offers UAE residents unique opportunity to join battle and innovatively tackle COVID-19
Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) has launched its latest initiative in the fight against COVID-19, a hackathon for UAE residents to develop innovative solutions that could help contain the spread of the virus. The winners of which will win AED 50,000 as well as an award from Sandooq Al Watan offering a National Impact Grant of AED 25,000 for one winning solution to develop it into a st art-up serving the community.
Running from April 19-22, the online hackathon, titled #MBRUHacksCOVID-19 is open to all UAE residents, individuals or teams. Entrants will be tasked with developing innovations of a different nature such as apps, portals, service design or digital prototypes that can help in the testing, tracing, and tracking of the virus.
The hackathon addresses five challenge categories which are testing and tracking, safety, community, communication and supply chain. The hackathon aims to garner innovative solutions on ways we can better test, trace and track those infected with COVID-19, ways to protect everyone from COVID-19 not only during this pandemic, but also in the future, as well as solutions to prevent social and economic disruption in our communities, and innovative strategies in how to create a smooth transition from physical and social distancing back to regular activities as we know them to name a few.
A panel of judges from various sectors will be looking for entries designed to assist communities in times of social and economic disruption caused by COVID-19; innovations that
can disseminate fast, factual communication on the virus for the benefit of society, in addition to solutions that strengthen or insulate the medical supply chain and different industries in these extraordinary times.
The one caveat in the contest is that designs must be low-cost, easily scalable and fit for everyday use by healthcare professionals or the general public.
More than 400 people have already signed up for the challenge. Entries close on April 19. Entries will be judged on a range of criteria – impact on the population, feasibility, efforts needed for implementation, and alignment with the response to tackle COVID-19. The winners will be announced on April 23rd.
The hackathon is in partnership with the Dubai Institute for Design and Innovation (DIDI), the American University of Sharjah Sandooq Al Watan and guaana.
Professor Homero Rivas and Dr. Thomas Boillat, co-founders of the MBRU Design Lab, are the driving forces behind the #MBRUHacksCOVID19 initiative. Professor Rivas, who is Associate Dean of Innovation and the Future at the College of Medicine in MBRU, said that with MBRU dedicated to providing an innovative learning environment for all, the hackathon represents a unique opportunity for the UAE’s brightest minds and innovators from all walks of life to play their part in the fight against COVID-19.
“Resilient people always discover that challenges bring opportunities for innovation. Innovation is at the core of our work and we know Dubai is a hub for positive, creative thinking. In these extraordinary times we are casting the net and giving the people of the UAE a chance to make a difference in the country’s fight against this virus. We are all in this together and we look forward to seeing what the hackathon brings,” said Professor Rivas.
H.E. Ahmed Fikri, Acting Director General of Sandooq Al Watan, said: “Today, all community members in the United Arab Emirates are joining forces cohesively in the fight against
COVID-19. We at Sandooq Al Watan are proud to be joining forces with MBRU and all other partner in this hackathon and to support the winning solution and contributing towards its development into a startup serving the community. As a community initiative rooted in the UAE’s national values of giving and social solidarity, we firmly believe in the important role of innovative startups in finding solutions to the local and global challenges and always strive to support and empower entrepreneurs to innovate and to participate in the support and development of our community.”
Hani Asfour, Dean of DIDI, added: “DIDI is very proud to be an active partner in the MBRU Hacks COVID-19 initiative. With the mentorship of DIDI professors and the fabrication lab team, more than fifty design students have formed teams to come up with creative solutions to address the human side of the pandemic. The students are very motivated, and we are keen to share the results of their joint efforts to make a positive impact in the UAE and the world”.
Participants can register for the hackathon either as a hacker or a mentor. Over the course of the three days, the teams will be able to design, test and refine their creations. The final delivery to the jury must be in the form of a two-minute video presented in English.
Each team will be given access to mentors via pre-booked 30-minute video slots according to their skillset and connection to the solution being developed by the team. However, mentors will not help teams solve potential technical questions.
For more information and registration please visit https://www.mbru.ac.ae/mbru-hacks-covid19/.