“We combine creative minds from CERN and non-profit organisations in interdisciplinary teams to work on humanitarian technology related benefits to society.”
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.
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.
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!
THE Port Association organises in-person and online events together with CERN IdeaSquare and partners from non-governmental organisations. The event is conducted as a hackathon, where teams tackle humanitarian challenges. Interdisciplinary teams of hand-selected innovators work together on topics such as infrastructure, health, communication, and education.
If you successfully pass the application, you will be informed about your team members and your challenge 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 challenges of the other teams.
Your results you will present and demonstrate in a 7 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.
- Tracking system for rescue and de-mining dogs
- 10$ inflatable fridge for field operations
- Humanitarian site demarcation in conflict zones
- Morning registration and introduction
- Teams meet & greet
- Evening collective project pitch where other teams can ask questions
- Midterm report
- Morning joint work breakfast
- Late afternoon final presentations
- Intense conceptualizations of
- Quantitative analysis and proof-of-principle prototypes
- Documentation in the form of texts, photos and videos
- New networks between CERN and partner organizations
- Promising projects will survive and will be driven forward
- You get the opportunity to analyze global matters together with innovative minds in CERN’s inspiring environment
- The chance to use your expertise on new challenges in interesting fields
- A unique mind-twisting event over 72 hours broaching ‘never asked questions’
- Coaching and mentorship from our experts on location
- Support with video and photo documentation
- Great lunches, snacks and drinks
- Plenty of fun!
Registration will open three months before the event. The application is online via a registration form.
A board comprising of members from THE Port Association, CERN, and partnering organizations, will perform the selection of interdisciplinary teams. The board will assign each team a challenge.
Approximately one month before the event, participants will be informed about their team members and their topic. Teams will be provided with video conference capabilities and online collaborative workspaces to collect pictures and videos, data, code or documentation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a hackathon?
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.
What is the goal of these hackathons?
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.
How do you select participants?
To apply, candidates are requested to fill a online questionnaire and provide a CV. A selection team and THE Port Advisory Board propose candidates upon which the assembly of the interdisciplinary teams will be based.
How to I get to the event?
Due to Covid-19, the 2020 and 2021 events will be held online.
How does it work?
All you need is a laptop with internet connection. Participants are informed before the event about their challenge and team and are supported in the following weeks to prepare. The Hackathon will contain only few scheduled events: a short introduction phase, mid-term and final presentations.
Do I need to be a computer specialist?
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.
A big thanks to the people that helped write THE Port Association's story.
Associate Professor at METU working on the AMS-02 experiment.
Doctoral student working on silicon sensor technologies for the ATLAS experiment.
Bruno Silva De Sousa
IT engineer, service manager at CERN.
Mechanical Engineer working on Pixel detector and services upgrade for the ATLAS experiment.
James is an entrepreneur, business consultant, and former executive with experience in coffee, renewable energy, health care, and other industries. This is his third hackathon with THE Port. He enjoys travel, cooking, skiing, hiking, rowing, and making maple syrup.
Physicist working on silicon detector construction, calibration and operation, big fan of electronics.
Chief Troublemaker at CERN Media Lab.
Sustainability Consultant and Founding Member of GreenBuzz Geneva. Bridging sustainability, business and education in innovative and collaborative initiatives.
Project consultant, communication and outreach.
Doctoral student working on silicon sensor upgrade developments for the ATLAS experiment.
Passionate about how innovation can help solving humanitarian challenges, in 2016 Leonardo joined the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) to carry out cutting-edge research on displacement related to conflicts and natural disasters worldwide. Trained as a physicist, Leonardo worked as data analyst in two of the world leading research organizations: CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research and LBL, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He holds a PhD in nuclear physics, is a native Italian speaker, fluent in English and French and has a working knowledge of Spanish.
Lorena has lived and worked in several countries while pursuing her passion to bridge the gap between technology and healthcare. She is currently a final year PhD student at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), in Switzerland, where she develops signal processing methods to investigate how altered brain activity in preterm-born children can be reestablished through simple, non-invasive interventions. In 2015, she worked as a research assistant collecting brain data from patients in operating theatres at a hospital in London, to understand the eﬀects of anaesthetics on awareness levels during surgery. Earlier that year, she obtained her MSc in Neuroscience after working in Amsterdam and Berlin on ways to improve brain-computer interfaces. Lorena is keen on applying the interdisciplinary analytical skills that she’s learned during her studies to solve problems in the world outside of neuroscience.
Luisa has been working for several organizations in the human rights field. Currently, she is researching on the cutting-edge topic of internal displacement caused by disasters for the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre based in Geneva, Switzerland. On the side, Luisa has also been involved with the Swiss startup GovFaces as head of development and outreach. She is an essentialist and a promoter of successful change under the motto “less but better”, a value that she wishes to bring to THE Port hackathon too.
Expert in large-scale data analysis, pattern recognition, and ATLAS pixel detector quality assurance.
Naomi Kodama Fukumuro
A scientist working on plants and small animals for climate change issues.
Distracted engineer interested in making the world a better place.
I work as administrative manager. I love the idea of improving the life of those less favoured by using technology.
Authentic Proton-breeder, Electronic technician and Java developer.