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Call for tech sector to join 24-hour 'hackathon'

Call for tech sector to join 24-hour 'hackathon'

Leading businesses and students will join forces for a 24-hour hackathon, where they will work together to solve technology challenges or develop new tools for clients.

Professional services firm PwC and Yorkshire Building Society will both send delegates and senior staff to the University-organised event, where more than 80 second and third year students are expected to take part. HSBC and digital agency Cyber-Duck are also participating.  

The businesses will share their expertise in developing and promoting new tools and systems with the students, who will bring creative skills and understanding of the latest approaches from their research-based learning.

The University has a strong record of working with the private sector to provide research-led solutions to help businesses expand by drawing on academic expertise or technical equipment.

It also provides numerous opportunities for students to engage with industry through placements, campus talks, scholarships and other methods.

The School of Computing, which is running the hackathon, is building on these relationships by calling on the region’s growing tech sector to submit their own teams to compete.

According to a 2018 TechNation report, more than 12,000 people in Leeds work in digital technology roles, with 6,200 in Sheffield, 4,000-plus in York, 2,200 in Harrogate, and 1,600 in Huddersfield.

This is an exciting event to harness business’ and students’ expertise to creatively explore tools and processes that could be directly useful and applied in business.

Gautam Prakash, PwC

The challenges, focused on financial technology, digital identity, security and personal digital assistants, will be unveiled to the teams at the start of the hackathon on Saturday 27 October. Working day and night, they will attempt to create innovative ways to meet the requirements.

Hackathon organiser Dr David McKee said: “As well as our four partners and student teams, we’re opening the doors to organisations across Yorkshire which want to join in.

"It’s a great team bonding experience and the opportunity to develop a new tool or process which could benefit your organisation, and to meet motivated students who could after their degree become an addition to your firm.”

hackathon 2017

Student teams taking part in the 2017 hackathon.

Among the PwC participants will be several of the 30-plus students on the company’s degree apprenticeship scheme which launched in partnership with the University this year.

Gautam Prakash, Technology Risk Director for PwC in Leeds, said: “We’re delighted to be continuing in our partnership with the University of Leeds to share our tech knowledge and capabilities. This is an exciting event to harness business’ and students’ expertise to creatively explore tools and processes that could be directly useful and applied in business.”

Stephen White, Yorkshire Building Society’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Hackathons are an excellent way of working collaboratively in a comprehensive but fast-paced and engaging way. 

As well as bringing real-life insight to challenge students’ ideas, we’ll benefit as a business by building connections with the next generation of talent.

Stephen White, YBS

“We’re delighted to be supporting this year’s event at the University. As well as bringing real-life insight to challenge students’ ideas, we’ll benefit as a business by building connections with the next generation of talent.”

Organisations or business that would like to take part should visit the hackathon website by 20 October. Teams of four people will be needed, entry is free and the challenge takes place on the University’s campus. Teams will have to pitch their product to a panel of judges and prizes will be awarded to the winners.

The 2018 Hackathon is the second held by the University – last year’s inaugural event marked the 60th anniversary of the School of Computing.

Staff and students in the School are due to move to purpose-built office, teaching and lab space in the University’s new Sir William Henry Bragg Building, when it opens in 2020.

Nexus, an initiative of the University of Leeds, seamlessly connects business to the University’s world-class research, talent and facilities.

Further information

Media contact: Peter Le Riche, University of Leeds press office, +44(0)113 343 204 or p.leriche@leeds.ac.uk

Business partners: sponsors

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