2023 Feb/07

Research for Society News

30 researchers competed at the hackathon Smart4Coast

The EU-CONEXUS-RFS Smart4Coast hackathon took place at the University of Zadar from January 31 to February 3, bringing together 30 researchers from the European University Alliance EU-CONEXUS.

The Smart4Coast hackathon was held at the University of Zadar in Croatia in the framework of the EU-CONEXUSResearch for Society project. This event got together Ph.D. students, postdocs, and researchers from six partner universities of the EU-CONEXUS Alliance.

Following the participants’ arrival on Tuesday evening and an ice-breaking activity to get acquainted with each other, each team representing its university worked for two days on a problem related to Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability – sea protection, tourism, climate and water challenges, mobility, smart city, etc. – to develop an innovative solution to the problem, combining their research expertise and using the help of a coach.

In order to get help in bringing their project to maturity, the participants took part in three workshops on entrepreneurial tools: User Needs & Business Model Canvas, Prototyping, and Oral Pitch. At the end of these two days of intensive work, the six teams presented their projects in front of a jury composed of representatives from the Zadar Seaport Authority, the Zadar County Development Agency, and the University of Zadar.

The event aimed to better expose the entrepreneurial culture of researchers and to develop networking activities between researchers in the alliance. The team from Klaipeda University won the contest, bringing a solution to establish an interconnected macroalgae and shrimp aquaculture farm, thus creating high value in the circular economy. The 2nd and 3rd prize went to the teams from the Agricultural University of Athens and the Catholic University of Valencia. Researchers from Athens brought the idea of Molecularly imprinted polymer-based sensor for microplastics detection in waters, and researchers from Valencia worked on an app to solve the overcrowding in touristic coastal areas.

Zvjezdan Penezic, Vice-Rector for Scientific Affairs at the University of Zadar, congratulated the winner teams and emphasised that “all teams are winners in this type of events, which allow for new ideas to come up for the future, new scientific collaborations to emerge, and new links to be established within the EU-CONEXUS family”. The event closed with a tour of Zadar on Friday morning.

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