Tartu BioInnovation Day 2020 focused on hacking innovative cross-cutting solutions in the fields of health, food and biotechnology

On October 24 the Tartu Bioinnovation Day took place for the third time, bringing together eight teams of university students from different Estonian universities and institutes to hack solutions in the fields of health and wellbeing, biosustainability and nutrition. Multidisciplinary teams of 2-6 spent the day guided by facilitators and mentors, validating their ideas and networking.  The day ended with presentations by the teams, where the two winners – MycoCycle and Xylitol – were chosen to represent Estonia in the 2020 EIT Health Innovation Days European finals.

Between 25th September and 25th November 2020, partners from 5 EIT Health Co-Location Centres and 13 RIS Hubs host their own i-Days at 31 locations around Europe, online and in-person.


The day commenced with inspirational speeches by Katrin Krõlov from Selfdiagnostics, Liina Vaher from Civitta, as well 2019 winner Nikita Umov from the University of Tartu Faculty of Medicine. In the beginning of the hackathon, eight teams were formed to tackle cross-cutting real life challenges in the field of health, food and wider biotechnology. During the day, coach Kalev Kaarna introduced participants to practical tools in design thinking and Harald Lepisk prepared the participants for pitching their ideas. The presentations got feedback from a panel of experts, representing both the health sector as well as business development competences. All teams made good progress with their idea, despite what was their starting point. The day concluded with presentations on further opportunities in EIT Health by Merike Leego and in EIT Food by Justin Hein.

Although all participants won new friends and knowledge, there were also several special prizes. The teams that won the opportunity to represent Estonia in the 2020 EIT Health Innovation Days European finals were MycoCycle and Xylitol. 

The team MycoCycle proposed the solution to grow specific mushrooms on the used coffee grounds, with the possibility to extract compounds that can cure Alzheimer’s disease. MycoCycle won a chance to represent Estonia in the EIT Health Innovation Days European finals together with a 600 EUR cash prize from EIT Health provided by Tartu Biotechnology Park, an EIT Health Hub. Team also won BioCC-s Professional Food Product Development Coaching. 

The team Xylitol also won the place in the European finals, as well as a cash prize of 400 EUR from EIT Health provided by Tartu Biotechnology Park. Their solution tackled two problems at the same time – the xylitol users (people with diabetes or struggling with obesity) on the one side, and the valorization of wooden biomass on the other. The idea is based on the technologies that the students work on in the University of Tartu, an EIT Health partner. The smaller prizes included sTARTUp Day Tickets which were given out by Civitta and Tartu Biotechnology Park, scientific and business consultations.

Tartu BioInnovation Day 2020 that took place at the new Delta building in Tartu brought together students, researchers, start-ups, mentors, coaches and speakers from all over Estonia. Participants can use the new tools and skills to continue to work on the idea, or use the experience from the hackathon to start working on new challenges. In the words of the organizer Liina Joller-Vahter “the hackathon is just the beginning, once you learn the quick idea validation skills, you can use them most anywhere”.

Tartu Biotechnology Park and University of Tartu want to thank all the participants, contributors and facilitators and are already looking for the Tartu BioInnovation Days 2021!

The main supporters of the Tartu BioInnovation Days 2020 were EIT Health and EIT Food. Full list of contributing organisations and partners can be seen at www.bioinnovationdays.ee.

To stay up to date with EIT Health and other bio- and health technology news, follow the FB page of Tartu Biotechnology Park: https://www.facebook.com/tartubiotehnoloogiapark/

To keep up to date with UT Faculty of Economics events, publications and other activities, follow the UT Faculty of Economics FB page: https://www.facebook.com/UniTartuEconomics/ and UT Ecoinnovation Club page: https://www.facebook.com/ecotartu 

EIT Health Innostars FB page: https://www.facebook.com/EITHealthInnoStars/

EIT Health FB page: https://www.facebook.com/EITHealth/

EIT Health koduleht https://eithealth.eu/