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DkIT lecturer Dr. Bernadette Brereton in EUvsVirus Hackathon project

19 May 2020

DkIT lecturer, Dr. Bernadette Brereton, was recently invited to participate as a team mentor in the EUvsVirus Hackathon project which worked to combat the negative fall-out from the Covid-19 restrictions across Europe. The European Commission, in close collaboration with EU member states, hosted a pan-European hackathon to connect civil society, innovators, partners and buyers across Europe to develop innovative solutions to overcome coronavirus-related challenges.

With only three days to complete the project, there was intensive interaction online to devise solutions, many for immediate development, to combat some of the health, business, education and societal problems arising from the Covid-19 restrictions. 

As a Research Leader in the European Sociological Association (ESA) which was a member association of the project, Dr. Brereton was invited to mentor teams in the Remote Working and Education domain. Mentors and teams collaborated online, to ‘hack’ project plans intensively using supporting technologies such as Slack for communication, DevPost for project development and Airtable for spreadsheeting.

Describing her involvement in the project, Dr. Brereton said:

‘The project addressed key areas impacted by C-19 in six specific challenges: health and life, business continuity, remote working and education, social and political cohesion, digital finance and various coronavirus-related challenges.  Mentoring teams in the Remote Working and Education challenge was such a rewarding experience.  To see the range and depth of the ideas and project development that was facilitated over a long weekend was a fantastic example of people power.  It really brought home the value of education in society to build key knowledge and skills.  Of particular note was the ease with which technology facilitated collaboration, team-work and mentoring among 20,000 individuals from 141 countries.’

 Looking to the future, Dr. Brereton stated that: 

‘Winners from the ‘hackathon’ were invited to take part in a follow-up ‘Matchathon’ event from 22nd-25th May, 2020 to take the winning and placed projects forward, linking them with investors, developers and companies.  Front-line workers are risking everything during this pandemic and I was really happy to contribute to this huge collaborative effort to pool vast amounts of people power and technology to counter the Covid-19 virus.’

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