TDRA launches 7th Edition of UAE Hackathon

Middle East | February 29, 2024 12:25:25 AM IST
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Dubai [UAE], February 28 (ANI/WAM): The Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) announced the launch of the 7th edition of the UAE Hackathon, the largest annual event designed to foster innovation and promote entrepreneurship in the UAE, under the slogan "Today's Challenges... Tomorrow's Solutions."

The Hackathon Journey starts in February with the challenge formulation phase, where government entities collaborate in shaping the challenges, which will be presented to participants in each emirate across the seven cycles of the hackathon.

This edition is in line with the UAE Digital Government Strategy 2025, which includes harnessing innovative and advanced technology to address challenges within the broader development process and specifically within government and official entities.

The 7th edition is based on key themes, exploring practical, realistic, and sustainable solutions to address government challenges, fostering the transition towards smart cities and digital societies, and enhancing collaboration among stakeholders within the development ecosystem, spanning government, academia, and the business sector. Additionally, it promotes data and modern technology utilisation as indispensable tools in shaping the outlines of future solutions and ideas.

Commenting on this event, Eng. Saeed Belhoul, TDRA Acting Deputy Director-General for Information and Digital Government Sector, said, "In today's world, innovation has emerged as a pressing necessity to address the challenges presented by swift changes. Across its seven editions since 2018, the UAE Hackathon has effectively instituted traditions and practices that played a significant role in fostering a culture of innovation and creative thinking, leading to the generation of solutions and the development of ideas.

"The current edition places particular emphasis on the latest trends in digitisation, focusing on providing proactive and specialised experiences grounded in renewable technologies, in line with 'We the UAE 2031' vision, which stipulates in its fourth pillar the establishment of a Forward Ecosystem," he added.

In the current edition, the UAE Hackathon is structured into three tracks. The first track, "Idea Hackathon," welcomes students from all participating emirates to showcase their ideas. The second, "Solution Hackathon," invites government employees, innovators, and entrepreneurs to collaboratively explore practical solutions for diverse challenges. The third, "Gov Innovators," is exclusively designed for federal government employees, to inspire participants to contribute ideas for enhancing government services and applications. The hackathon acknowledges and awards prizes to the top three ideas in this category.

Hackathon activities spanned 26th and 27th February at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi. Subsequently, the events moved to Umm Al Qaiwain and Ras Al Khaimah Hackathons in Umm Al Qaiwain on 27th and 28th February at Umm Al Qaiwain University. The Fujairah Hackathon will follow on 28th and 29th February at the University of Science and Technology in Fujairah. The journey continues with the Sharjah and Ajman Hackathon at the Higher Colleges of Technology Sharjah on 4th and 5th March, concluding with the Dubai Hackathon on 6th and 7th March at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Dubai.

The announcement of the nominated teams is scheduled for 11th March, with virtual orientation workshops over the month-long period from 12th March to 12th April. The winners will be revealed during the UAE Hackathon conference, scheduled to coincide with World Innovation Day on 23rd April.

The hackathon offers financial prizes worth AED329,000 and caters to four main categories of participants, divided into four distinct tracks. The "Rising Stars" track is designed for school students in the pre-university education stage, while the "Pioneers" track targets university students aged between 18 and 25. The "Entrepreneurs" track is designed for owners of emerging companies or ideas. Lastly, the "Gov Innovators" track targets government employees.

TDRA has identified several primary evaluation criteria. These include the potential impact on eliminating bureaucracy, the feasibility of implementing solutions and ideas, data utilisation, innovative use of artificial intelligence and emerging technology, the government entities' capability to implement the ideas, and the creativity of the pitch.

The hackathon is anticipated to enable participants to explore data-driven solutions, aligning with the UAE Digital Government Strategy 2025 objectives. The goal is to strengthen the foundations of sustainable development, enhance the UAE's position as a global leader in the field of digital government, and assimilate international best practices. (ANI/WAM)