Hackathon Inspires Young Scholars to “Think Sideways”

Watch the video below for insights from Gregg Gordon, SSRN managing director and thought Hackaton8leader behind tomorrow’s research today.

Helsinki was the gathering place for the 2017 Elsevier Hackathon. Held in late August, the 48 -hour event opened prior to the annual Association for Medical Education Europe (AMEE) conference; but, competition started long before the 48-hour window. Now, empowered thinkers from 88 countries submitted 1,588 applications. An empowerment of dedicated thinkers enabled ideas to build creative solutions in an open, unanticipated environment.





The goal was to solve medical students’ ‘pain points’ and challenges to provide a channel for continuous learning in building solutions to real-world issues. Medical students were represented from all over the world; from Australia and the UK, India and Jordon, to the US and Venezuela. A collaboration of medical students, designer, and development teams were tasked to think out of the box and transition prioritized ideas to solutions. During the two-day hackathon, mentors coached the teams.


Their objective was to provide guidance and support to the teams evolving interesting concepts into cutting-edge prototypes.

From team formation, to ideation and technical testing, the schedule was paced for a 48-hour time crunch. At the end of the day, the AMEE and Elsevier panel of experts reviewed 5 competitive prototypes and determined the top 3 winners.

With just three-minutes per team to introduce and demonstrate their prototype and two-minutes provided for Q&A, the judges deliberated, voted, and unanimously announced the first, second, and third place winning teams.

And the awards go to the think tank teams of interactive tools designed to dynamically simulate patient case-studies, conductive reasoning, and study resources:



PATIENT X. A realistic and safe simulation of patient cases that allows students to practice clinical reasoning and receive feedback, enabling them to improve their diagnostic process at an early-stage.



YOU. An interactive game that uses competitive gamification to hone students’ clinical knowledge of decision-making skills by providing succinct real-life scenarios for students to complete.



POWER CARDS. A toolset that will enable medical students to fluidly translate any content, whether it be a lecture presentation, a textbook, a photo, sound, video, or even 3D models into a dynamic study resource.

Think big. Think small. Think different. Think sideways.

Glancing in many directions while looking sideways can lead to greater ideas with incredible outcomes. Medical students and techies can rise to the ambitious world of science challenges by using their skills together to achieve early ideas to embrace sharing, collaboration, and concepts to solve with a continuity of endurance and enablement to each other’s professional career paths.

What the medical students say

“The hackathon was an amazing experience for me. I got to meet so many talented people all with their unique stories and backgrounds and Helsinki was an awesome city to do everything in! I was challenged to venture out of my comfort zone and try to do things outside my scope of practice such as logo design, and a bit of programming.”

Alice Leung, Western Sydney University, Australia

“In Helsinki, you were not only encouraged but also expected to learn from the developers and designers, as well as explaining to them medical content to be able to work as a team. You also had to be prepared for working hard against the clock with people who you didn’t know anything about 5 hours before.”

Álvaro Prados Carmona, University of Córdoba, Spain

“Personally, Elsevier Hacks helped me to see much beyond the crisis I face in my country, taught me that we must be 100% compelled to achieve our dreams and believe in ourselves. The motivation and the affection that I saw in each of you made me grow as a person.”

Victor Sanna, University of Carabobo, Venezuela