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ANSTO'S National Science Week Hackathon from 14 to 18th of August 2020

ANSTO's National Science Week Hackathon

Register now (teachers) - DEADLINE EXTENDED TO AUGUST 6TH

Hackathon 2020 banner/logo
Hackathon Challenge Theme

How can we use our oceans to innovate for a changing climate?

Following a run of successful hackathons involving ANSTO and nandin startups, we're excited to be launching a hackathon for students in partnership with the Australian Museum as part of National Science Week. The hackathon is open to Australian secondary school students in years 7-11 interested in science and technology. 

Supported by

hackathon support logos


First 20 teams to submit a complete registration form will receive a $100 incentive that can be used for their hack.

  • 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.  

    Register now (For teachers)

    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 registration form. Registers are now open, closing August 3rd.

    Register now (For teachers)
  • Deep Blue Poster

    Step 3

    Explore the theme

    Prior to the specific challenge problems being released, students are encouraged to explore and research the concepts presented in the theme, “How can we use our oceans to innovate for a changing climate”

    A good place to start is the National Science Week website and the Blue Economy CRC

  • Step 4: Take the challenge

    Step 4

    Take the challenge

    9am Friday August 14th - Hackathon begins and Problem statements go live on webpage 

    • - Students will agree on a team charter (values, roles and responsibilities)
    • - Teams will identify which problem statement to address
    • - Teams will decide which ANSTO mentor(s)/potential customers align with their - ideas/chosen problem
    • - Teams sign-up for mentoring sessions.  
    • - Teams start hacking

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 Museum has teamed up with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) to run one of these sprint-like events for Australian secondary students as part of National Science Week 2020. The theme of ANSTO's National Science Week Hackathon is, "How can we use our oceans to innovate for a changing climate",  which perfectly lends itself to problem-solving and coming up with new and exciting ways to solve the issues that our oceans face today. 

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 inaugural 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 to Learning Experiences for Years 7-10, Activity 1: Smart Solutions (from Resource Book of Ideas for National Science Week 2020, pg. 50-54, Curriculum connections provided)
  2. As an activity that aligns with Science as a Human Endeavour content descriptions for all science disciplines in Year 11 (ACS-BL, PH, ES, CH 008-014) 
  3. As a challenge for your school’s Science or Environmental Club

Who can enter?

ANSTO's National Science Week Hackathon is open to Australian Secondary School students in years 7-11 interested in science and technology. Recommended team size is between 3-7 students. If you would like to make this a whole class activity, please contact us. Students within teams can be from different year levels. 

Submissions must be made and approved by a teacher. The first 20 teams to submit a complete registration will receive a $100 incentive that can be used for their hack. Cash incentives are limited to one per school. Schools can enter an unlimited number of teams.   

When is the hackathon?

ANSTO's National Science Week Hackathon will begin on Friday, August 14th and submissions must be received by 5pm on Tuesday, August 18th. 

See Key Dates and Timeline of Events below under additional information.

Where is the hackathon?

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

Additional information

Forms and resources




ANSTO, in collaboration with nandin and the Australian Museum, are 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 Monday of the hackathon. This may include helping teams test their assumptions, ideate, introduce tools for innovation, and effectively present their solution. 
  • Students will have the opportunity to book in a session with their mentor of choice on Monday August 17th via Zoom. This will be their opportunity to engage with the mentors and ask them exploratory questions about their problems/solutions. 
  • 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. 

List of Hackathon Mentors

Key Dates and Timeline of Events

July 3rd

Hackathon website goes live

Teachers can register their interest 

July 27th 

Official registrations open

First 20 teams to submit a complete registration form will receive a $100 incentive that can be used for their hack. Limit to one incentive per school

August 3rd (extended to August 6th)  Registration closes

August 13th

National Science Week kicks off 

August 14th, 9am

Hackathon begins

Problem statements go live on webpage 

Teachers brief students on hackathon and problem statements.

  • Students will agree on a team charter (values, roles and responsibilities)
  • Teams will identify which problem statement to address.
  • Teams will decide which ANSTO mentor(s)/potential customers align with their ideas/chosen problem.
  • Teams sign-up for mentoring sessions.  
  • Teams start hacking

Saturday and Sunday 15-16th (optional)

  • Over the weekend, teams are free to work on this hack as they see fit, on their own time. 

Monday 17th August

  • Teams will have the opportunity to Zoom with their chosen ANSTO mentors/potential customers to get feedback and advice on their hack 
  • Based on the feedback they receive from their mentors, students can revise their designs and continue to build 

Tuesday 18th August, 11:59pm

  • Team must begin planning and filming their video presentation and supporting documentation
  • Submissions due by end of day​​​​​​

19th August

  • Judging panel assesses submissions

20th August

  • Winners announced during on Online Showcase Event. Top five teams will be ask to participate.
  • $1000 in prize money to be won
  • Medals for first and second place 
  • Official photo for your school 
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 15-23 August 2020. 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 Australian 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.

Contact ANSTO's Education team