SGAC Space 4 Earth Hackathon

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SGAC SMLS are co-hosting a Sunday workshop (hackathon) on the Sunday before IAC 2019 (Washington)

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20 Oct 2019 08:00 - 18:00
Washington DC, USA
Registration Link
SGC2019 Sunday Workshop

In the 20 years since the founding of SGAC, we have become established in the space sector as a voice of university students and young professionals to the United Nations, space agencies, industry, and academia. This is through various international SGAC events and project group activities sponsored and mentored by leaders of the space sector. As a part of those efforts, two of our new project groups – Space Technologies for Earth Applications (STEA) and Space Medicine and Life Sciences (SMLS) have come together to host one of SGAC’s unique workshops, the “Space for Earth Hackathon”, which provides a platform for SGAC members to innovate and solve UN-SDGs based challenges in interprofessional and multidisciplinary groups. This is to create a realised and measurable impact by students and young professionals in the space sector and on the SDGs which can be presented to the UN and other entities where required. These challenges will be proposed by selective industry, academia and government partners whose subject matter experts will provide guidance throughout the day and judge your pitch at the end of it.


The objectives of the SGAC Space for Earth Hackathon are to:

  • Provide a space and concentrated amount of time for participants to make a start on a problem they are interested in;
  • Strengthen an innovative space community and welcome newcomers from outside the community to the field;
  • Expose our next generation with the tools and resources to solve terrestrial problems using space-based and space-derived technology;
  • Create a space for Students and YPs to interact and brainstorm solutions with experts from industry, government, academia and the UN;
  • Create a network of Students and YPs with similar passion for solution-based approaches for the SDGs for future collaborations with the industry
Our Hackathon does not aim to completely solve these real world problems within a day. Rather, our event provides a unique opportunity offering an uninterrupted concentrated period of time and access to a critical mass of experts both on the ground and in the space sector to come up with an innovative approach to a real world problems, which would later be implemented as a project under your leadership, if the solutions inspire the sponsors/experts.


The theme of the Hackathon is on Space for the Sustainable Development Goals. SGAC, in partnership with a number of organizations, presents 4 to 6 challenges based on real-world problems faced by these organizations in their mission to achieve the SDGs. The organizations will also provide at least one Subject Matter Expert who has knowledge of the issue on the ground to facilitate the teams. Some of our tentative Hackathon Challenges include:

  • How to utilize Earth Observation data to improve population census data and optimize healthcare delivery? (SDG Goal 3.B.1, 3.C.1)
  • How to ensure telemedicine connectivity during critical medical support during bad weather? (SDG Goal 3.8, 3.C)
  • How to track ocean plastics in the southern hemisphere closer to emerging space countries and how it impacts the environment (SDG Goal 14)
  • A policy based challenged – TBD (SDG Goal 16)
In addition, we will also invite experts from the space industry who can act as Industry Consultants to support teams in the development of their solutions on the day of the Hackathon.

The Hackathon will be run in the following format:

  1. Participants sign up through our website to the Hackathon Event. This is open to any SGAC members and not exclusive to SGC delegates. Members of the STEA and SMLS project group will get priority.
  2. Challenges will be announced 2 weeks prior to the event.
  3. Participants will be invited to a dedicated Slack channel to propose their ideas for the challenges in the 2 weeks prior to the event. These ideas can range from a basic concept to a well thought out proposal. All participants can join in the discussion to decide which topic suits them.
  4. On the day of the Hackathon, you can pitch your idea to all the participants in a general discussion. Each participant can then choose to join a group that suits them and will work on one of the ideas pitched on the day.
  5. Throughout the day, each participant will work in a team alongside Subject Matter Experts and Industry Consultants to create a Team Solution to be presented at the end of the day in front of a panel of judges. Winning ideas may receive support to develop their ideas further with relevant partners.

Got any questions on this Hackathon? You can contact:
Swetha Kotichintala, STEA PG Co-lead – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Anthony Yuen, SMLS PG Co-lead – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


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