SOLUTIONS AGAINST COVID-19: 500+ PARTICIPANTS JOIN FORCES TO PROPOSE 23 INNOVATIVE PROJECTS IN THE CANADIAN ONLINE HACKATHON TOGETHER VS VIRUS 

ABBOTSFORD/BC, April 24, 2020 – The organizing committee of the Canadian Online Hackathon #TogetherVsVirus is proud to announce the results of a successful first edition.

COVID-19 imposes its share of challenges across Canada on a daily basis. In the two weeks leading up to the #TogetherVsVirus Hackathon, Canadians were invited to submit online challenges specific to our communities. In total, over 500 participants, 100 mentors and 25 partner organizations across Canada responded to this call for collaboration for 48 hours, from April 17-19, to co-develop useful and creative technology solutions to these challenges.

Inspired by #WirVsVirus in Germany and #VersusVirus in Switzerland, this national effort was implemented in less than 3 weeks. The day after the award ceremony, the relevance and potential impact of the finalist projects confirmed that the effort was worthwhile. The co-organizers are already exploring how to accelerate the next phase: the implementation of promising projects.

6 Innovative Projects Awarded

The jury members had the difficult task during the evaluation process. The jury was composed of experts from a wide variety of sectors (information technology, blockchain, AI, research, innovation, entrepreneurship, data, public administration, etc.) to ensure a thorough analysis of the 23 finalist projects. Hackathon participants also came from different industries and worked on the projects in interdisciplinary teams.

The following 6 projects were rewarded ($1,000/project):

  • Allyship: A website to strengthen trauma-sensitive care for healthcare workers, based on empathy.
  • E-safe: a software to ensure a safe working environment for employees in manufacturing plants using artificial intelligence and thermal visualization.
  • Heropool – a safe carpooling platform for workers in nursing homes and long-term care facilities to reduce the risk of contagion.
  • My Health Risk – a survey platform to prevent burnout risks for healthcare workers
  • Spring Out – an application that allows victims of domestic violence to call for help in a safe manner.
  • Soci’s Hunt – a blockchain-based solidarity rewards platform to facilitate the voluntary contribution of citizens

In British Columbia, Conexkt – Innovation Studio, an international consulting firm based in China, Switzerland, and Canada, awarded the “Innovation Prize” to the project Heropool. The University of the Fraser Valley awarded their prize to the project E-Safe

Community Testimonials

Over the past few weeks, Canadians have demonstrated their interest in helping each other in solidarity during this crisis. I am here today to thank each and every one of you for your commitment to identifying creative solutions in times of pandemic. I applaud your mobilization efforts, because innovation is paramount today. This exceptional period requires creative ways to mitigate the impact of the crisis and you are contributing directly to this effort.”  – Élisabeth Brière, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages for the Government of Canada, at the opening ceremony.

I believe that there are many ways for the scientific and academic communities to contribute their skills beyond their area of expertise. The experience of this Hackathon reinforces that belief.Doris Chow, Cognitive Psychologist, UBC – Participant.

“During this massive online team effort against COVID-19, it was rather incredible to see “strangers” meet in a digital space and collaborate on tangible projects to answer challenges submitted by the community. In a time of physical distancing, this helps create trust between individuals.” Dr. Johann Roduit, Co-founder of Together Vs Virus

“This was a great event that generated some amazing solutions across a range of challenges! Good job to the organizers and all the participants and mentors!” Craig Toews, Member of the Jury, Vice-President External, The University of the Fraser Valley

Next Steps: Supporting innovation beyond the 48-hour mark

All 23 projects are now available for online consultation at www.togethervsvirus.ca/results. The entire population is invited to consult the results of this unique weekend of work. The organizing committee is identifying several possible opportunities for support across Canada. A call for proposals is open to all on the Next Steps page to support the initiatives through financial resources, incubation programs, research funds, mentoring, etc.