The nexHack Edtech lasted 48 hours, with 130 participants from 45 different countries. No fewer than 23 innovative projects were submitted. The aim? To create a digital solution designed to meet the challenges of higher education, internationalisation and digitisation.

Organised by swissnex India in collaboration with swissnex Boston and Movetia, #NexHack2020 Edtech was held from 6 to 8 November 2020. The participants from Switzerland and around the world had an entire weekend to think about, define and create an innovative digital prototype. Two challenges were set: the integration of foreign students in Switzerland and the digitisation of international education.  

Virtual marathon

Once the teams had been formed (with at least one Swiss participant in each) and the event had been launched with the inspiring presentation by Roman Brügger (Managing Director of Swiss EdTech Collider), the race to find innovative ideas could begin! Organised entirely online, the teams – located in the four corners of the globe – had to adapt to the different time zones of each member in order to work together. The weekend was interspersed with workshops, networking sessions and yoga classes to help the innovators surpass themselves. Mentors also accompanied the teams throughout the hackathon, offering them support in developing their projects. Héloïse Perrin, Project Coordinator at Movetia, was one such mentor. According to her, “It was an extremely rich and rewarding weekend which opened new avenues for reflection in the world of education and international exchanges. I was amazed by the enthusiasm and creative energy of the international teams with whom I was in contact.”

And the winner is…

At the end of this race against time, 23 projects were submitted to the jury in the form of 3-minute videos. The jury was tasked with evaluating the projects on the basis of 4 criteria: innovation, commercial value, scalability and inclusiveness/diversity. The deliberations were conducted by an expert group consisting of Amanda Crameri, Head of Division Higher Education and member of the management team at Movetia; Cristina Riesen, founder and Director of Educreators Foundation; Robert Buttery, Head of International Relations at FHNW; and Florian Rüedi, an IT specialist at Siemens. 

During the closing ceremony on Sunday evening, five teams received an award for the quality of their prototype. The GLocal EduHackers team won first prize with its “MySwissBot” project, making use of artificial intelligence to enable international students to obtain practical answers to any questions they might have concerning mobility in Switzerland. Want to know more? Check out the video of the event!

Amanda Crameri shares her experience as a member of the jury: “From the challenge to the prototype in 48 hours: an excellent example of how global challenges can be resolved through exchange and cooperation. Movetia is delighted to accompany some of the prototypes throughout their subsequent development in the coming months.”

Each member of the winning team receives a voucher worth CHF 1,000 to attend a summer / winter school in Switzerland. Movetia is also offering a seed fund of CHF 15,000 to the most promising projects. Watch this space!

The swissnex network

The swissnex branches can be found in more than twenty countries and fall under the auspices of the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). swissnex is a global Swiss network tasked with forging links in the fields of education, research and innovation (ERI). Its mission is to promote the international influence of Swiss stakeholders in the field of ERI and foster their active participation in the global exchange of knowledge, ideas and talents.