On Wednesday, March 6th, the NOBALIS project resumed its Entrepreneurship and Innovation Capacity Development Programme for the spring season with a virtual Idea Hackathon focused on the themes of food, biotechnology, and bioresources. Students and researchers from Nobalis partner universities got together to share their first ideas for projects about bioresources and food. The hackathon involved 20 teams from all partner universities, with participants spanning all academic levels from bachelor’s to doctoral degrees.

The hackathon day began with two motivating presentations. Muris Letic from NMBU discussed the process of transforming research into a start-up business, offering seven questions for the students to consider throughout the process. Espen Hinch, a final-year student at NMBU, shared his journey of creating a Ski Tuning Stand in a company founded with a friend during their studies. This was a good example that having a great idea doesn’t immediately lead to success; one must be prepared for setbacks and miscalculations in implementing the idea, but despite this it’s important to enjoy the journey.

At this spring hackathon, the problems addressed by the teams this time were quite diverse, relating to reprocessing of food and paper waste and plastics; IT use for nutrition and short supply chains, pest monitoring, food technology, and improvement of air quality and water use. The solutions ranged from very specific products, such as snacks or baby foods, to the expansion of business models, including the provision of consulting and advisory services. The teams now have the chance to refine their Idea Templates and submit them for evaluation. Selected teams will advance through three development sessions in March, April, and May, receiving mentorship support. The program will culminate in the Demo Day competition on May 2nd.