About us

“We combine creative minds from CERN and non-profit organisations in interdisciplinary teams to work on humanitarian technology related benefits to society.”

Unite Innovators

Interdisciplinary teams of handpicked individuals chosen for their field-leading expertise and innovative minds combine humanitarian questions with state- of-the-art science, cutting-edge technology and endless fantasy.

Impact Future

The fusion of today’s real life problems analysis and a vision of scientific evolution of the next decades forces us to develop concepts and solutions for the future – hungry to use our expertise in challenges in new fields.

Act Today

Why not? There are no excuses – there is no better place than here – no better time than now – nobody more creative than you. If you just want to!

Fond out more in our THE Port Presentation and see the results of last year in our Annual Report

News & Media


Blog & Portfolio

Call For Topic Ideas 2015

If you have a good idea for a topic for THE Port hackathons at CERN and Campus Biotech that combines humanitarian or health needs with state-of-the-art technology contact us till 15th June 2015.

Besides several already existing topic ideas for the 2015 THE Port edition, we are looking for your input. Where do you see a humanity need or opportunity to help society with technology?

In the 2015 edition we will have two parallel locations with a slightly different focus on topics. At Campus Biotech we will look into health and purely software related topics, whereas at CERN we will concentrate on topics which give an opportunity for hardware developments.

Don’t hesitate to contact us already if your idea is just at the beginning. Most of last year topics started with quite different ideas and evolved together with experts from the humanitarian field into their final shape.

Your Name:

Your Email:

Your Topic Idea*:

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Currently we are discussing topic ideas with friends and colleagues working at:
If your topic idea is in their field of expertise and you would first like to discuss your idea with them, let us know with the same form with whom you would like to discuss and we try to find you the right contact.

Call For Participants 2015

Application – Are you the right fit?

We are looking for innovative and creative minds who are willing to leave their normal work field for three days and develop concepts and prototypes with their special expertise on humanitarian/social impacting topics with technology connection. Our last years participants worked for academia (e.g. Cambridge, EPFL, Harvard, LBL, MIT, NASA, Oxford), multi-national companies (e.g. Google, SAP, Ericsson), international Organisations (e.g. CERN, IPCW, ITU, FIND, REACH, GAVI) or were outstanding entrepreneurs, artists or individuals. But make sure you tell your story in the application, because we select individuals and not big names behind.

Successful candidates should:

have a professional work experience of at least 3 years, be in the 2nd half of their PhD or should have demonstrated extraordinary creative or innovative capabilities

show a high motivation to work on a humanitarian, social or public interest topic

have either a background of technology (science, engineering, product design, …) or in humanitarian or social fields (human rights, logistics, business, arts, …)

THE Port 2015

Application Process

THE Port 2015
The application process will be kicked off here on the 1st of May. Please apply with a one-pager CV and fill out all fields of the application form. The application will be closed on the 1st of June for most roles, however we encourage artists and applicants with a strong medical and / or health background to apply by latest 30th of June. Later applications cannot be taken into consideration. Due to the large number of participants, predefined number of teams and their members, we have to be strict about our deadline.

Applicants who successfully passed the first step, will be invited to attend a short video interview mid of June. An introduction to the video interview process you find here.

Latest 6 weeks prior to the hackathon – 10th of August at the latest – successful applicants will be informed about their topic and their team members. They will receive support to hold video conferences and use a collaborative workspace to start the preparation of their topic within their teams.

Hackathon event

Organised by THE Port Association, hosted by CERN IdeaSquare and by Campus Biotech, and with partners from other non-governmental organisations, a three-day problem solving workshop hackathon devoted to humanitarian, social and public interest topics. Interdisciplinary teams of hand selected participants working together in the fields of:

 CERN, Geneva, Switzerland
 2nd – 4th October 2015



If you successfully pass the application, you will be informed about your team members and your topic 6 weeks ahead of the final event. In this preparation phase your team will be supported to organize video conferences to get to know each other. A collaborative workspace will allow you to jointly collect and communicate ideas, develop specifications, share inspirational pictures and videos, compose lists of needed materials and tools, discuss your strategy and co-edit concept papers, source code and presentations.

Your team coach and a pool of Experts On-Call will be available to help finding organisational and technical solutions. The day before the hackathon you will have the chance to visit experiments at CERN and meet our team in their usual work environment.

During the hackathon you will only have a few scheduled events. After a short welcome and introduction part you will introduce yourself (now in-person) to your team in a 3 minute pitch. In the evening of the first day your team will pitch your project to the other teams in 5 minutes. A midterm review on the second day will allow you to collect external feedback on your findings. A joint work breakfast on the 3rd day will give you the chance to glance into the topics of the other teams.

Your results you will present and demonstrate in a 8 minute pitch to a broad audience at the cocktail reception in the evening. The after party will give you more space and time for discussion, review and networking. A one page summary of each teams results will be published together with all produced hardware, source code and documentation.

More information you find in our latest participant flyer.

Frequently asked questions

  • Originally composed from ‘Hack’ and ‘Marathon’ this problem-solving workshops started for intensive collaborative work between software developers – more general, as in our case, it is often seen as limited time innovation focused collaborative effort.
  • Intense conceptualisations of innovative humanitarian ideas with starting quantitative analysis and conceptual prototypes so that the best ideas survive and can be driven forward after the event.
  • Participants are informed mid September about their topic and team and are supported in the following 6 weeks to prepare the 72 hour final. At CERN the Hackathon will contain only few scheduled events: a short introduction phase, mid therm and final reports.
  • To apply candidates are requested to fill a online questionnaire and provide a one page CV before the 1st June 2015 and 30st June fro selected roles. A Selection Team and THE Port Advisory Board propose candidates for a short video interview between the 18th August and 25th August on which the assembly of the interdisciplinary teams is based on.
  • You will receive a Welcome brochure before the start of the event. There you will find a detailed description how to reach us including your arrival procedure and emergency telephone numbers of the local organisers. On Friday, 2nd October you will also be able to find signs guiding you to event space.
  • During the event we will provide you with some basic snacks and drinks. Anyhow we strongly recommend to leave the event space for a proper meal once per day with other team members and CERN staff to exchange ideas, brainstorm, …
  • You will need to pay for your travel and your accommodation (we are able to offer free accommodation only to a limited number of participants), participation in the event is however free of charge. You might want to join THE Port Association as member though, where a membership fee applies.​
  • No, other than the word hackathon implies, THE Port hackathons are not necessarily purely software related projects and could therefore be of all kinds of nature. Thus we create multidisciplinary teams to add as much variety on skills to the teams as possible.​
  • No, due to limited budgets we are not able to provide free accommodation for everybody. However, we can support with booking and free of charge accommodation for a limited number of participants.​


Our topics selected for the 2014 edition were inspired by friends and colleagues working at Red Cross, Unosat, Skyguide and United Nations. An introduction of the example topics in video clips you find here and here.

  • Pier42

    A private information retrieval data store

  • Pier19

    Terrain elevation determination for refugee camps

  • Pier27

    The conflict zone humanitarian demarcation certificate

  • Pier83

    Tracking and demarcation system for dogs in rescue and de-mining operations

  • Pier56

    The 10$ inflatable fridge for field operations

  • PierX1

    Portable cosmic ray detector with grid analysis

In numbers

interdisciplinary teams
members per teams
week preparation
hours finish

Any ideas for projects, topics or questions we should work on? Or interested in sponsoring?

Contact us now

Partners & friends

Our members, partners, sponsors and friends are from international and local non-governmental organisations and companies in and around Geneva, Switzerland.

If the world needs a change, why not you? Why not now?

Apply Now till 30st June

Meet our team

Without the enthusiastic voluntary work of our Experts On-Call, Organizing Team, Advisory Board and Executive Committee we could not work professionally – a big Thank You and it is fantastic to work with you. If You want to be part of this extraordinary team, please consider a membership, to contact or to follow us on social media.

Executive committee

  • Ines

    Ines Knäpper


    Project Manager with strong background in Intercultural Management, Sales and Customer Service.

  • Cecile

    Cecile Lapoire


    Physicist working on the ATLAS pixel detector, curious about art, human beings, life, universe, etc.

  • Michael

    Michael Kagan


    Expert in large-scale data analysis, pattern recognition, and ATLAS pixel detector quality assurance.

Organizing team

  • Andrey

    Andrey Loginov


    Physicist working on Transition Radiation Tracker and top(-pair) + Higgs data analyses.

  • Bilge

    Bilge Demirköz


    Associate Professor at METU working on the AMS-02 experiment.

  • Bruno

    Bruno Silva De Sousa


    IT engineer, service manager at CERN.

  • Clemens

    Clement Helsens


    Physicist still searching for new physics in the top-quark sector in the ATLAS experiment.

  • Cristina

    Cristina Olivotto


    Founder of Sterrenlab, working in the field of science communication and education in formal and informal environments.

  • Hansdieter

    Hansdieter Schweiger


    Mechanical Engineer working on Pixel detector and services upgrade for the ATLAS experiment.

  • Iulia

    Iulia Pascu


    Project Manager, event organiser at CERN.

  • Jens

    Jens Dopke

    Founding Member

    Physicist working on silicon detector construction, calibration and operation, big fan of electronics.

  • Juliet

    Juliet Primo


    Project consultant, communication and outreach.

  • Joona

    Joona Kurikka

    Founding Member
    Aalto University

    Doctoral student, Cooperation Associate at IdeaSquare@CERN.

  • Karola

    Karola Dette


    Doctoral student working on silicon sensor upgrade developments for the ATLAS experiment.

  • Karolos

    Karolos Potamianos

    Founding Member
    Berkeley Lab

    Physicist and engineer working on silicon detectors, currently on the data acquisition for the ATLAS Pixel Detector, and data analysis.

  • Laura

    Laura Jeanty

    Founding Member
    Berkeley Lab

    Physicist working on data acquisition for the ATLAS Pixel detector with expertise in detector monitoring and data analysis.

  • Leonardo

    Leonardo Milano


    Physicist working in the ALICE experiment.

  • Luisa

    Luisa Meneghetti


    Community manager and responsible for THE Port newsletter.

  • Michael

    Michael Leyton

    Founding Member

  • Patricia

    Patricia Montalvo


    I work as administrative manager. I love the idea of improving the life of those less favoured by using technology.

  • Pierre

    Pierre Freyermuth


    Authentic Proton-breeder, Electronic technician and Java developer.

  • Ruben

    Ruben Fernandez Morcillo

    Founding Member

    Mechanical technician with knowledge in rapid prototyping machinery. Currently working as safety officer.

  • Tomoko

    Tomoko Muranaka

    Technical Project Manager

    Physicist working on material characterisations for future accelerator developments.

  • Tuuli

    Tuuli Utriainen

    Founding Member
    Aalto University

    Piloting activities at IdeaSquare@CERN.

  • Vetle

    Vetle Nilsen


    Working in the CERN Knowledge Transfer Group on topics around innovation and entrepreneurship.

Branislav Ristic   •   Hugo Day   •   Joao Antunes Pequenao   •   Jörg Stelzer  •   Marylin Marx   •   Oliver Keller   •   Stephan Petit

Advisory board

Barbara Warmbein   •   DESY   •   Linear Collider communication and LHC communication for Germany

Ben Segal   •   Honorary CERN-IT staff member   •   Citizen Web Science projects, seminars and hackfests within and outside CERN

David Galbraith   •   Tech entrepreneur, former architect, now designer of digital things – including RSS, Yelp, ‘pinning’

Erik van der Bij   •   CERN   •   Departmental Knowledge Transfer Coordinator and Open Hardware advocate

Francois Grey   •   Université de Genève and Citizen Cyberscience Centre   •   Associate Professor at the University of Geneva

Neal Hartman   •   Berkeley Lab   •   Director and President at CinéGlobe Film Festival

Robin M. Coupland   •   former ICRC   •   Field Surgeon and Medical Adviser

Sascha Schmeling   •   CERN   •   Head of Teacher Programmes and Education Research

Sara Sekkenes   •   United Nations Development Programme   •   Adviser, Conflict Prevention and Recovery

Experts on-call


We are looking for volunteers who are willing to share their creativity, innovative thinking and expertise with the teams.

If you want to contribute as ‘Expert On-Call’ and agree to be contacted during the 1.5 month preparation phase, the 72 hour final or both, please sign up with your field of expertise. You have the choice how and when the teams are allowed to contact you. Obviously you are more than welcome to visit the teams during the final and contribute with ideas or constructive feedback.


You can become a member of THE Port association. There are three different membership categories available.

SUPPORTER stay informed


Per Year
  • receive THE Port sticker
Become Supporter Today!

FAVORER support financially


Per Year
  • receive THE Port special gadget
Become Favorer Today!

Your membership at THE Port association allows you to take part in the general assemblies, to vote on decisions and the election of the executive committee. All membership categories have the same voting right. The membership allows you to take an active part in our association and propose yourself for open posts. You have the chance to propose topics and candidates, as well as helping in the organisation of the events.

Furthermore with becoming a member of “THE Port” association, you will be informed well in advance about events that will take place in the future and you will receive exclusive THE Port gadgets.

A reduction of 2 CHF/year can be requested by members of the CERN Staff Association or similar or staff associations of other non-governmental organizations.

Contact us

Get in touch with us!

Get started

If you have an idea for a project, topic or question we should work on or you have a general question to the event or our association, please feel free to contact us.




THE Port Association
c/o Impact Hub Geneva
1 rue Fendt
1201 Genève

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