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Techlab Hackathon – great success for Students of the University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest
The Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture’s Techlab Hackathon competition was held recently at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design. The programme’s long-term goal is to modernize and digitalize agriculture.
Lasting at least for 24 hours, hackathons are designed to allow competing teams to develop and present their ideas. The participants need to come up with an idea/solution for a specific challenge in each hackathon. This year’s event focused on animal husbandry with every aspect that could greatly improve the conditions of animal farming (e.g., reduce the use of antibiotics, optimize energy and foodstuff consumption, etc.).
The University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest was represented by two student teams. Team CowOp included third-year veterinary students Hajnalka Liptai, Zsófia Pál and Virág Szentgyörgyi – they obtained the first place with their idea. Team ChromatAir (with third-year veterinary students Franciska Barnácz, Ágnes Pónya, Gergely Tamás and Bence Csirmaz) earned the jury’s special award.
Beside getting an insight into the business and gaining some experience in investment, the winning teams were also given valuable prizes. As the winner of the first prize, Team CowOp received travel coupons and electronics gift cards as well as agricultural conference tickets and annual magazine subscriptions. Special prize winner ChromatAir got an invitation to a factory tour.
The jury had such distinguished members as Dr. Anikó Juhász, the deputy state secretary for agrarian economy in the Ministry of Agriculture; Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture’ president Balázs Győrffy; AgroVIR’s managing director Miklós Maróti and SMAPP Lab co-founder Donát Posta.
The 1st prize was taken home by Team CowOp founded by University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest (UVMB) students, who developed the idea of a system to support the mutually beneficial trade of cows and pregnant heifers de-selected from dairy production between large industrial units and small family farms.
Special prize winner ChromatAir designed a diagnostic system with chromatographic technology. Integrated into the ventilation system of poultry farms, the solution can be instrumental in the early diagnosis of infectious diseases.
Team ChromatAir was also among the winners of this year’s Hungarian Startup University Program (HSUP) that was launched by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office as part of UVMB’s Innovation Ecosystem Project. Under the name of Innovation Management 1 and 2, our university offers an optional e-learning subject designed to develop innovative thinking. During the course’s second semester, the selected 3-5-member project teams receive significant grants for four months.
Launched with 76 students last year, the highly successful optional course involved 34 people in the second semester. The owners of the 5 winner projects started the development of their ideas. This year’s first semester began with 25 students, 19 of whom went on to the second semester. 3 project ideas were given funding altogether. As the subject is integrated into the national curriculum, it allows for the creation of inter-university teams, promoting the innovative cooperation and brainstorming of students from different professional areas.
Dr. Ákos Jerzsele
vice rector for research and innovation
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest