NBS EduWORLD Hackathon Ignites Innovation and Collaboration Among Tomorrow’s Leaders

30 April 2024

NBS EduWORLD Hackathon Ignites Innovation and Collaboration Among Tomorrow’s Leaders

In a display of creativity and teamwork, the NBS EduWORLD Hackathon recently concluded, leaving behind a trail of excitement and inspiration. As a key part of the NBS EduWORLD project, this event brought together a diverse group of international students from 18 different countries at different stages in their studies (from Bachelor to PhD). Far from an average academic gathering, the Hackathon was a celebration of ideas, where students from different disciplines joined forces to tackle real-world challenges using Nature-based Solutions (NbS) – scientists, architects, economists and political scientists, all working together in a virtual environment.

Over the course of two intense days, participants were immersed in collaboration to develop nature-based approaches to solve the problems presented to them. The students came up with innovative and integrated solutions that would not have emerged in traditional education programmes. Amidst the hustle and bustle as teams raced against the clock to design, develop and present their ideas, the real magic happened in the exchange of ideas. As students from different backgrounds came together, they discovered the power of interdisciplinary collaboration – biology met architecture, economics mingled with environmental science, creating a spirit of innovation that echoed throughout the event. With creativity flowing and the stakes high, each team pulled out all the stops to impress the jury. From interactive presentations to creative problem solving, each group demonstrated the incredible potential of youth-led innovation. For example, in response to the challenge of the health of wetland and lake ecosystems in Moldova, a team proposed increasing natural habitat diversity, improving environmental governance and promoting sustainable land use practices. They also suggested innovative approaches such as organising local photography competitions to raise awareness and involve the community in ecosystem conservation efforts. A good example of an integrated problem-solving approach!

As the Hackathon drew to a close, it became clear that it was more than just a gathering – it sparked change. It promoted creativity, teamwork, and inspired new leaders to tackle future challenges. The success of the Hackathon shows how empowering young people is crucial for innovation and positive change. By giving students a platform to explore, create, and work together, we're not just training them to care for the environment, but also empowering them to shape a better world. Looking ahead with the participants, it's important to keep supporting initiatives that let young voices be heard, tap into their creativity, and help them make a difference. Youth are key to a sustainable and resilient future for everyone. Students were invited to stay involved, offering their insights and enthusiasm to help shape the future of sustainability. ICLEI Europe is considering how such virtual learning events, like the Hackathon, benefit young people, including in projects like UrbanByNature.

Among the institutions involved were ICLEI Europe and Natural Solutions as co-organisers, with NBS EduSystems partners including the Municipality of Almada, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle of Paris, Offaly County Council, the Municipality of Genoa, A. O. Verde de Moldova, and the Centre for Experiments in urban Studies - CEUS in Belgrade, also played integral roles as coaches, jury members, and co-organisers. Additionally, external jury members from the Pontifical University of Rio de Janeiro provided valuable insights and expertise to ensure the success of the event.

Image (NBS EduWORLD)

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NBS EduWORLD is funded by the European Union (Grant Agreement No. 101060525). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.