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National Science Week Hackathon

About the ANSTO Hackathon

Back to Hackathon

  • Step 1: Speak to your teacher

    Step 1

    Speak to your teacher

    Show your teacher the ANSTO National Science Week Hackathon website and ask them if they would be willing to support you with this project or if they would like to use this as a classroom activity.

    Your teacher is the one who will be required to register your team and submit your entry. 

  • Step 2: Team registration

    Step 2

    Team Registration

    Your teacher will submit the official team application form 

    *limit to one team per division, per school* 

  • International year of Glass, 2022

    Step 3

    Explore the theme

    The theme for National Science Week 2022 is Glass: More than Meets the Eye

    A circular economy roadmap for plastics, tyres, glass and paper in Australia

  • Step 4: Take the challenge

    Step 4

    Take the challenge

    The hackathon kicks off on Monday August 15th, with the challenge statement going live at 9am 

Frequently asked questions

What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is an immersive experience where people come together with diverse ideas and skills to rapidly design and build products that customers would actually use. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) will once again, for the third year, run one of these sprint-like events for Australian secondary students as part of National Science Week 2022. The theme of ANSTO's National Science Week Hackathon will align to the theme for National Science Week 2022 which is Glass: More Than Meets the Eye. 

How does a hackathon work? 
  • While there are many variations of hackathons, it typically involves forming teams, brainstorming ideas, getting feedback from mentors and customers, and rapidly designing/building something to test in front of customers. 
  • Hints and some resources may be given before the official start, however, the specific problem statements and resources are released to participants when the hackathon begins. 
  • Resources may include innovation and design tools, data sets, access to APIs, hardware and software to aid in ideation or even building a functional prototype or minimal viable product that customers would use.
  • Innovation tools such as business model canvas, interviewing and SMART goals are used to identify potential solutions and aspects of the hack that may need to be tested. 
  • Final solutions can be in the form of a model, prototype, diagram, app, or any design method that fits the solution created by the teams. 
  • This hackathon is unique as students have the opportunity to book time with ANSTO scientists, entrepreneurs with previous hackathon experience and potential customers who can give them advice and feedback. 
Why participate? 

The aim of ANSTO's National Science Week Hackathon is for secondary school students to gain experience in science, innovation and entrepreneurship. Students will also gain creative confidence, valuable team-working skills, interviewing skills, experience with online collaboration tools and have a chance to interact with scientists, professionals and entrepreneurs. Teams will submit a video showcasing their ideas to a panel of scientists. 

Teachers may choose to use the hackathon to inspire their students in STEM and/or to get involved in National Science Week.  Some options include: 

  1. A supporting activity for students in Years 7-11 who are engaged with National Science Week
  2. As as activity that meets curriculum connections for Y7-10 in Science and Technology 
  3. As a challenge for your school’s Science, STEM or Environmental Club
Who can enter?

ANSTO's National Science Week Hackathon is open to Australian Secondary School students in years 7-8 (Junior Division) and years 9-11 (Senior Division) interested in science and technology.

Schools may apply to enter one team in each division 

Recommended team size is between 3-7 students.

Students within teams can be from different year levels, but must compete in the division of their oldest student. 

If you would like to make this a whole class activity, please contact us.

Submissions must be made and approved by a teacher. 

When is the hackathon?

ANSTO's National Science Week Hackathon 2022 will begin on Monday, August 15th and submissions must be received by 11:59pm on Wednesday, August 17th. 

In 2022 we will be offering two Teacher Professional Development sessions (online and in-person, Term 3) for teachers on how to facilitate Deign Thinking in the classroom. You can register your interest now.

There will be a teacher briefing the week before the hackathon.    

See Key Dates and Timeline of Events below under additional information. (2022 Key Dates and Timeline coming soon) 

Where is the hackathon?

This is a virtual Hackathon. Students can participate remotely from anywhere in Australia.

Additional information

Hackathon resources
Forms and Promotional Material 

ANSTO is proud to welcome a panel of mentors with diverse experience and extensive backgrounds in scientific research, innovation and technology industries. Participating in the hackathon and having the opportunity to work with these amazing scientists, engineers and business people in an individualised setting is sure to inspire and engage the students in STEM-related topics.  

  • Mentors with hackathon experience may guide and provide feedback/advice to students on the Tuesday (Aug 16th) of the hackathon. This may include helping teams test their assumptions, ideate, introduce tools for innovation, and effectively present their solution. 
  • Each team will be assigned a Design Thinking Mentor on the Friday prior to the event. These mentors will act as a guide for the students through the duration of the event. 
  • Sessions with Industry mentors will be scheduled before the start of the Hackathon
  • Mentors provide assistance completely voluntarily and are not considered part of the team for the purposes of intellectual property, prizes or any other licensing purposes.
  • Mentoring sessions are not mandatory but highly recommended. 

Check out the 2021 Mentors

2021 Key Dates and Timeline of Events (2022 Key Dates and Timeline coming soon)

October 2020

Teachers can register their interest 

July 12th   

Official applications open

July 30th   Applications close

August 4th 

Challenge themes are published & successful schools are notified 


August 12th 

Online teacher briefing / TPD session on the Design Thinking

August 13th 

Design Thinking workshop for students 

Meet your Design Thinking Team Mentor

August 16th

Hackathon officially kicks off at 9am 

Specific case studies published

Sign-up for session with STEM & Innovation/Industry Mentors 

August 17th

Webinar sessions with Challenge Mentors

Re-work and revise prototype, model or diagram

August 18th 

Plan and film video submission and complete One Page Summary sheet

Teachers must submit entries by 11:59pm 

August 19th 


Finalists will be contacted by COB

August 20th 

Official judging panel

Live Event Showcase and announcement of winners for each division 

  • Junior and Senior Divisions: 
    • FIRST PRIZE - TBC & Science Medals
    • RUNNER-UP - TBC & Science Medals 
Assessment Criteria

All hackathon entries will be judged against the following criteria:

  • Originality and creativity 
  • Accuracy and clarity of the science content and the plausibility of the solution 
  • Alignment to hackathon purpose
  • Commercial viability (entrepreneurship) 
  • Future plans/pathways 
  • Presentation and design
  • “Wow” factor/new/surprising solution
Hackathon background and rationale

This hackathon is being organised by Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) as part of Science Week 14-22 August 2021. This is following a run of successful hackathons involving ANSTO and Nandin startups. In 2018, ANSTO ran H2Go Clean Water Hack bringing together university students from Australia and Sri Lanka to create novel approaches to address chronic dehydration in Sri Lanka. More recently, ANSTO and Nandin startups got together to find solutions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, better use open data from NASA and others, and to help build sovereign supply chains that can withstand supply shock.

Further links:

  1. H2Go -
Copyright and Ownership

It’s important for students to know how to properly use other people’s content in their work. While citing resources that are used in written works is appropriate, it is actually illegal to take someone else’s digital content (pictures, music or sounds) and use it in your video presentation. There are two options to ensure that you are doing the right thing when it comes to copyright:

  1. Get written permission from the copyright owners before submitting your work. Make sure to cite permission at the end of your video/in your written overview.  
  2. Use copyright-free images, music and sounds effects. Use this guide to properly attribute your sources, if needed.  

Here are some helpful links to get you started:

Submissions created by students are owned by the students. This hackathon aims to inspire students to create something new and they will own the IP to their unique idea.  

Privacy, Collection Statement and Consent

The personal information that ANSTO may collect includes the names of the student, Parent/Guardian and Teacher, the name of your school, the student’s age, state or territory location, photographs, voice recordings and video recordings. ANSTO may use information obtained in the course of the hackathon in printed and digital materials and websites including reports, brochures, fact sheets, websites, case studies, promotional videos and multimedia presentations. The materials may be used by media outlets. Personal details may also be used to contact the student, Parent/Guardian or Teacher regarding future ANSTO events or to seek your feedback on the hackathon. 

The information will only be used for the purposes outlined above, except where required by law. ANSTO respects your right to privacy of your information. Your contact details will remain strictly confidential and will be stored securely to comply with privacy regulations. Read ANSTO's Privacy Policy.