On 1-2 November, over 70 participants from different Estonian universities and institutions came together for Bioinnovation Days 2019, a hackathon focusing on wellness, biotechnology, active aging and nutrition. During the two-day event participants were inspired by keynote speeches on the health and food sector, and tested their own new business ideas, shared experiences and established new contacts. The event takes place at 31 different locations across Europe.
During the hackathon on the first day, with the help from mentors, ten teams were formed around the ideas in the fields of bioeconomy and biomedicine. Among others, teams tried to solve challenges related to finding people lost at sea more quickly, helping stroke patients recover at home and making blood testing more personalized and attainable. On the second day, teams made use of the design thinking methodology, where they also had to engage their end users in order to validate their ideas.
The event ended with all the teams pitching their ideas to the jury. It was a tough competition and the jury deliberated for a long time over choosing the winners of the awards. In the awards ceremony, team HealthCard, who was aiming to tackle sick days’ costs, which decrease companies’ overall efficiency was awarded with a trip to iDays Winners Event in Paris provided by University of Tartu, an EIT Health partner. In addition, team Epifox, who was working on technology to make it easier for people to follow their health status was also awarded with a trip to the Winners Event, provided by Tartu Biotechnology Park, an EIT Health RIS Hub. As they could not participate, however, the third team in line – DigiRehab will be the second one to represent Estonia in Paris.
For bonus prizes, Team Lignogen, whose idea was to extract compounds with medical properties from leaves was awarded with a product development starter kit from BioCC and team Emotionally Intelligent Chatbot, who worked on an idea of a smart chatbot to help people with mental health care problems was awarded with Elisa special award – 1000 euros for using their mobile services, as well as tickets to sTARTUp Day, which were given out by the University of Tartu sTARTUp Lab.
The event that took place at Spark BizTown in Tartu brought together students, researchers, start-ups, mentors and speakers from all over Estonia. Participants were excited to continue with the idea and were already looking forward to the 2020 event.
The main supporters of the Bioinnovation Days 2019 in Tartu were EIT Health and EIT Food. Full list of contributing organisations and partners can be seen at www.bioinnovationdays.ee .