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The First Ever Biohackathon in the UK

Hackathons abound in today’s computer science and data oriented society. Biology-focused hackathons (biohackathon), involving learning and creating with synthetic biology, are starting to crop up.

The first ever bio-focused hackathon or biohackathon in the UK is happening next month. Put on by Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club (CUTEC), with help from the SynBio Fund, the event will take place June 21-26 at the University of Cambridge.

This is not your average conference. Interdisciplinary teams of inventors, investors, researchers and entrepreneurs will compete to tackle the biggest challenges facing biology.  Participants will have the opportunity to not only explore synthetic biology, but also meet friends and learn new skills.

In addition, there will be a conference “13th Annual Technology Ventures Conference: Circular Economy. Its goal is to work towards building a cleaner, healthier, more efficient, future. “By reimagining waste as a resource, we will advance science, develop new technologies, and create novel market opportunities”.

The program will take place in a university synthetic biology lab, where participants will be able to access everything from hardware and software to biology prototyping tools.

Teams will receive the challenge on the first day of the conference, and will pitch their ideas on the final day at the annual Technology Ventures Conference. The audience will include over 300 investors, VCs, startups, academics and students.

The project deemed as the most commercial solution will be given as much help as possible to get to the next stage, in addition to a £1500 cash prize.

In addition to the pitches, the final day will also include the UK’s first SynBio Hackathon and an exhibition of sustainable technology startups.

The conference is also an opportunity to come in contact with influential names in synthetic biology.

Bethan Wolfenden and Philipp Boeing, of Bento Bio, a London-based startup that builds portable bio-labs, will teach teams about the use of portable technologies in biological innovative.

Edoardo Gianni, of the London Biohackspace, a provider of DIY bio resources, will teach participants about doing biology on a budget.

CUTEC, who is hosting the conference, is an entirely student run technology and entrepreneurship society at Cambridge University. The group aims to foster innovation, commercialization and entrepreneurship amongst Cambridge University academic and students

The event begins on Tuesday June 21st at 6:00 p.m and runs until Saturday June 25th. The competition fee of £400 includes accommodation for all 5 nights and entry into the Technology ventures conference. Scholarships are available for those attending from outside Cambridge/London for travel and accommodation.

Anyone who is interested in working with a diverse team toward sustainable solutions is encouraged to apply. This can include undergraduates and post-graduates from UK universities, school, companies etc., in fields including science (any discipline), art, design, economics, marketing, and others. The deadline for applying is May 30th.

For more information about the conference, please visit:


Julia Turan

Julia Turan triturated, pipetted, imaged, and analyzed, during her undergrad years studying neurobiology. Since then, she has shifted into the world of science communications, hoping to promote a language of science legible to all. Julia is currently completing an MSc in Science Communication and Public Engagement at the University of Edinburgh.

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