What is a biohackathon?

cochlear_logoBiohackathon sponsored by Cochlear.
We believe science has been left to the experts for too long and we want to see what can be accomplished if you make it more accessible and let innovation, creativity and fun enter the domain.
Australia’s first Biohackathon is a 2 day event that aims at producing novel approaches and solutions to a selected life science problem of great importance to the community.
By applying the “IT hackathon” concept to life sciences, the event presents a brand new format of problem solving, where participants of different backgrounds must try to generate a simple solution to a complex problem within a very short period of time.
Focusing on the convergence of technologies, we are looking for creative and passionate teams from different backgrounds and disciplines. During the hackathon, teams will have the opportunity to test their ideas with the guidance of leading academic and industry experts.
Event Supporters.

Opportunity to use Ninja Blocks!

Great news, Ninja Blocks are providing their technology platform as a resource to applicants. So we’ve extended the application deadline to provide an opportunity for teams wanting to utilise Ninja Blocks as part of their method of detection. Ninja Blocks are tiny cloud enabled computers that can sense their environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors, these can be used as a powerful data acquisition tool and/or to affect the surrounding environment for the detection of biofilms in the hospital setting.
For more information to use this great tool email here.

Novel and improved methods for detection of biofilm in the hospital setting

Biofilms are microbial communities that develop on solid surfaces. The CDC estimate that over 65% of hospital acquired infections are caused by biofilms. The ability of bacteria to grow within biofilms protects them from adverse environmental factors and contributes to the difficulty of detecting and preventing biofilm development. For more information on biofilm and current detection methods please click here.
Detection can focus on biofilm growing in patients or in key places in the hospital environment – some that are very difficult to access with current methods such as water taps.
Solutions to the stated problem should aim to create a simple and fast detection method that can be used in the every-day hospital setting. Solutions can be incremental improvements on current methods or completely new concepts.


The prize.

The winning team will be awarded a cash prize of $3,000 sponsored by Cochlear.

The assessment criteria.

Teams will be evaluated on:

  1. The ability to detect the biofilm (either on the day or through previously generated data);
  2. The simplicity; and
  3. The novelty of the detection system.

Please note that given the short time available, the assessment will not be about quantitatively determining that one solution is better than the other.

The process.

Day 1 – Kick-off event.
A kick-off and networking event will be held on 19th April, with academics, industry experts, students and citizen scientists.
Please RSVP for the kick-off event here.
Day 2 – Biohackathon.
On 20th April the teams test their method of detection in the lab (optional) over one day and prepare their pitches under the guidance of academic and industry mentors. The event concludes with a pitch competition, where teams present their innovative ideas to a panel of judges.

What will be provided?

Participants will receive access to a lab in which each individual team will be allocated a work station. Biofilm (type strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PA01) will also be provided for each work station for each team to trial their detection method (optional).
Given there are so many angles to attack this problem, it is impossible to provide all the different types of equipment needed. Participants can specify individual needs in their application and they are also welcome to bring any necessary equipment along on the day as long as it has been discussed and agreed with the organizers.

The mentors.

The teams will be supported by a group of industry experts and commercialisation professionals. They will guide, encourage and push the teams towards creative, innovative and hopefully groundbreaking solutions.


Do you want to join us?

The event will be held on 19-20 April 2013.
The competitive application process will close on 1 April 2013. Those incorporating Ninja Blocks have an extended application date until 10 April 2013.

Selected teams will be announced on 5 April 2013.
Download the application form here. Once you have completed it, submit it by email here.
Who can apply?
Teams of 1-5 people are invited to apply.The application will be open to everyone. Individuals from different disciplines are invited to contribute and participate including but not limited to:

  • Life Science: Biochemists, microbiologists, bio engineers etc.
  • Engineers
  • Designers
  • Business

Diverse teams are encouraged.
Intellectual Property
Teams and individuals must own or have permission to use all relevant IP brought into the competition.
Want more information?
Click here to email the team.