Hack Day – programme your future!

Young woman takes part in a hackday on equality
© Getty Images/Javier Ferrando

Researchers, developers and designers come together at a science hack day to join forces to solve a problem. They discuss, plan, programme, build and develop ideas. The open-minded approach and shared joy in experimentation allow for unconventional solutions. The goal is to produce useful, creative, social or entertaining products (soft or hardware) or to develop new ideas for addressing future challenges in an interdisciplinary manner.

What does a hack day look like?

A hack day can have a particular motto or develop freely based on the participants’ ideas. Technology-related topics are rather common. Science hack days often start with one or multiple keynote speeches from the area of research. The participants will then present project ideas and form teams. These should ideally be interdisciplinary to allow people with different skills to work together. The teams will then develop their projects, which can take several hours. All results are presented at the end of the event. In some cases, a jury will award prizes for the best ideas.

What is special about a hack day?

A hack day brings together people from various fields. They collaborate to develop collective ideas and their practical implementation. Mottos can include environmental (‘What can be done for a cleaner city?’), social (‘How can young people have a greater say in democracy?’) or technology-related (‘What will mobility look like in the future?’) issues. The results include useful programmes, products and solution ideas. In addition, a hack day is also a good format for an interdisciplinary networking event.

Which requirements need to be met?

It is important that participants must come from various disciplines, such as the areas of research, engineering and the creative industries, to allow for knowledge and experience to complement each other effectively. You will need a room with seating for groups, possibly a 3D printer or tools and a beamer for presenting software-based results.

Which target groups are suitable for the format?

The format is suitable for grown-ups, students and pupils. It is suitable for small as well as large groups of at least 15 participants.

Special tip

On you will find a list of all locations where science hack days are held around the world. Science hack days in Germany have taken place in Berlin and Halle. The page also includes a how-to guide for organising a science hack day in your own city.

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