• {Life Science} meets IT

    Hackathon, Heidelberg, 20th-22nd May 2016

On 20th – 22nd May 2016, the German EIT Health GmbH, Hackerstolz e.V., Heidelberg Startup Partners e.V. and Heidelberg University organized the “{Life Science} meets IT” Hackathon in Heidelberg. This unique event brought together enthusiastic young professionals and students to develop innovative solutions for current and future healthcare challenges with the help of IT. Young entrepreneurs, engineers, IT specialists, designers and many more were invited to join this inspiring event.

The winners have been awarded with prizes for categories like the best hack, the best business and the most patient centric solution. The winning team has been funneled into the international EIT Health Business Plan Contest. Renowned keynote speakers and coaches motivated participants to create new pathways and solutions for a sustainable future in the area of life science and IT.


Course of Action

Participate in our Life Science Meets IT Hackathon and enjoy an exciting weekend with inspiring and like-minded people.
The following course of action is a overview of the events.

Friday 20.05.2016

17.30 Registration

18.00 Welcome

18.20 Presentation of Challenges and Teambuilding


20.00 Start working

Saturday 21.05.2016


11.00 Coaches and Support

12.00 LUNCH Lecture

13.00 Coaches and Support


Sunday 22.05.2016



13.00 Pitch Training

16.00 Final Pitches

18.30 DINNER and Networking


inspiring participants


real world challenges
(or bring your own)


high value prizes


hours of action


We have asked industry, academia and practicioners for real world challenges. We are currently adding to this section, so make sure to check back regularly! You can always bring and pitch your own challenge.

Telehealth-Enabled Pathways

The Merck KGaA Telehealth-Enabling Pathway Challenge involves the use of digital communication technologies to enhance patient health tracking. The recent expansion in this space promises to radically transform healthcare delivery, changing the way that patients and doctors interact. By allowing for increased access and convenience, this industry offers unique opportunities to improve the way we manage our health, ultimately resulting in improved patient outcomes.

  • Take this opportunity to redesign care pathways and create interventions that combine clinical best practice with the capabilities of modern telehealth systems.
  • This track calls out to individuals who are passionate about the service design of remote care for chronic conditions.

sponsor_merckThis challenge has been provided by our Event Sponsor Merck.

Enriching the Patient Journey through Open Data

“Data is the new oil” – This and other similar statements can be found throughout current publications and in the media. Everybody is talking about (big) data and at the same time everybody – as well as an increasing number of things – is generating data all the time. So why not use this data to enrich patient experiences and improve current patient care models?

Your prototype should address at least one of the following key question:

  • How can open data be combined with existing open source technologies to gain additional insights on patients’ lifestyle, on treatment progress or any other information in context with the patient journey?
  • Could artificial intelligence, cognitive computing and machine learning help us to provide next generation patient support systems?
  • How could we use e.g. natural language processing and deep crawling to gain knowledge from publicly available data and ultimately better understand our patients?
  • What new devices and sensors could be utilised to help us gather additional important information about the patient journey while at the same time providing benefits to our patients?

sponsor_merckThis challenge has been provided by our Event Sponsor Merck

Augmented Reality in Patient Care/ Life Sciences

Augmented Reality is one of the new technology trends which are increasingly used in industry applications. Initially introduced for fighter pilots, which use helmets with augmented reality technology, it has increasingly conquered a variety of businesses. Major software companies have developed prototypes and provide platforms for the development of applications. Augmented Reality can be provided by head-mounted displays, but also by tablets and smartphones, which integrate helpful information in photos or videos.

Think about scenarios, where augmented reality can be used in health care & life sciences for the following purposes.

  • Improved workflow in research on pharmaceutical substances
  • Improved patient care/ treatment
  • Training of patients/ health care personnel/ scientists/ lab technicians

Think about additional scenarios, where augmented reality can be used and might be helpful.

Your concept should address at least some of the following questions:

  • What is the benefit of the proposed solution?
  • What is a typical user group/ use case?
  • Which data sources are you going to use?
  • Which platform are you planning to use (head mounted displays, tablets, smartphones)?
  • How would your prototype look like?
  • How do your next steps look like (project realization)?
  • What are the risks, which you would like to address in your project?

sponsor_merckThis challenge has been provided by our Event Sponsor Merck

Enabling Disease Interception with innovative technologies and predictive analytics

Disease Interception -Thinking differently about Healthcare

At Janssen, we envision a future where the term “patient” becomes a thing of the past, where the new normal is intervening early and stopping disease from progressing in healthy individuals.

Today’s advancements in science, technology and digital health have opened up a new era. What lies ahead for the healthcare ecosystem is truly transformational.

The focus of our “challenge” will be to lead the shift from the usual diagnosis + treatment of disease to a new paradigm of prediction and pre-emption by leveraging new information technologies.

Description of the “challenge”

Disease interception uses early markers of information including genetic susceptibility, environmental exposure and phenotypic alterations in order to identify pre-disease syndromes.

Today to intercept, for example Diabetes Type 1, we don’t know the data interception point : what, when and how shall data be captured for any individual ?

Your recommendation (any disease or concept is in scope, but if helps to model your proposal with a concrete disease example, please use Type 1 Diabetes)

  1. Predictive analytics – Please develop the components of a predictive algorithm which applies advanced cognitive systems to intercept the disease before any clinical symptoms manifests.
  2. Sampling and data capture: In Europe, how to collect blood cells samples & other information required for your algorithm, directly and remotely from parents for any children before the age of 10. How to analyze the data anonymously, and send back the predictive analysis directly to parents. The proposed solution shall be extremely cost effective, scalable and ensure data privacy.

Note: There are already numerous literatures that describe the integration of data from multiple existing healthcare registries/ EMR/scientific/clinical trials/ research infrastructures & institutions ; these literatures  describe the integration and analysis of the related longitudinal medical & clinical data to enable predictive analytics models. We encourage you to think beyond these existing ideas and truly innovate in your recommendation. Your purpose is not to define a business model for disease interception. Your purpose shall be centered around the technological solutions outlined in our two questions.

Optional pre-reading

  • Integrating Predictive Analytics Into High-Value Care. JAMA February 16, 2016 Volume 315, Number 7. http://jama.jamanetwork.com
  • Staging Presymptomatic Type 1 Diabetes: A Scientific Statement of JDRF, the Endocrine Society, and the American Diabetes Association Diabetes Care. 2015;38:1964–1974 | DOI: 10.2337/dc15-1419. http: //care.diabetesjournals.org/content/38/10/1964.full.pdf+html
  • ClinGen — The Clinical Genome Resource. N Engl J Med 2015; 372:2235-2242 June 4, 2015. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsr1406261. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsr1406261
  • The path from big data to precision medicine Expert Review of Precision Medicine and Drug Development. http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tepm20

This challenge has been provided by Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson Company.

Digital Boardroom in the Hospital

Imagine a hospital in the future: the board is governed by a Digital Boardroom. The Digital Boardroom offers condensed figures and related background in real time and at a glance. Please solve the challenges considering the essential Key Performance Indicators.

  • What keeps the CEO of the hospital awake at night thinking on the next board meeting?
  • What keeps the Chief Medical Officer of the hospital awake at night thinking on the next board meeting?
  • What keeps the CNO Chief nursing Officer of the hospital awake at night thinking on the next board meeting?

sponsor_sapThis challenge has been provided by our event sponsor SAP.

How might we provide a holistic medical history to patients available in paperless form, accessible anytime?"

The idea behind is that people have no transparency in their healthdata in one place and often loose extremely much time to search for their med history (alergies, medication, therapies etc) with result to give up and leave the task for a later point which in many cases means never or too late.
My personal interest is more specific to older people they facing a lot of problems, but junger people especially those who travel or expat in suffer as because of the organization of doctor appointment or just to a short advise.
The group we designing for is better to be a decision of the whole team.


The challenges derive from the main project “The development of sensor- and expert model training device for laparoscopic surgery”. Laparoscopy as advanced surgical procedure offers potential benefits for patients through the reduction of trauma and less pain. On the other site it is limited due to prolonged learning curves which are a result of indirect 2D vision, restricted degrees of freedom and leverage effects. To overcome those limitations expert surgeons are recorded during training with the help of optical tracking devices such as Microsoft Kinect, NDI Polaris and electromyography. In order to provide trainees with an effective and intuitive feedback this data needs to be processed. As first scenario we chose laparoscopic suturing and knot tying as rather complex surgical task.
To make this vision come true the following obstacles must be overcome

1. Phase recognition: During training feedback should be context sensitive which means feedback must be generated at the point where difficulties occur. Therefore, the current step of the whole procedure must be monitored in real-time.

2. Real-time comparison: To assist trainees during the learning progress expert and trainee motions must be compared continuously and deviations visualized.

3. Visualization: An avatar should be used to demonstrate expert motion in first person perspective. The visualization is thought to be in augmented reality with the use of either a Microsoft HoloLens or picture-in-picture Assistance.

This project aims for a multidisciplinary team of hackers, designers and health care professionals.

Prevent dementia using an armband

  • To prevent Alzheimer’s diseases, implement an arm band which monitors the user’s cognitive levels to detect mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The main target is people with age over 60.
  • The cognitive levels will be regularly evaluated by monitoring walking speed (1m/sec) and stride variation (<1.7cm). Further detailed analysis will also be carried out, but less frequently.
  • To keep the cognitive levels, users will be encouraged to do additional exercises based on the monitoring results. If symptoms of MCI are detected, users are advised to visit a doctor.
  • To finance the system, part of the monitoring data will commercially be used by healthcare enterprises. Not only the arm band itself, but also these data can be used to establish effective methods to prevent MCI and Alzheimer’s diseases.

3in1 digital health technologies

Indoor navigation and wayfinding in hospitals (ACT IN SPACE & LifeScience meets IT)


Peter Sandberg will be giving a keynote speech on Friday evening.

Peter Sandberg has worked as an entrepreneur and business developer for more than 20 years with digital online services and products. Peter currently works with innovation strategy at the Technical Research Institute of Sweden and also produces Swedens leading podcast about innovation called Spinnovation.


Krim Talia will be giving akeynote speech on Friday evening.

PhD from the Stockholm School of Economics. After finishing his PhD he held the position of Postdoctoral Fellow at the department of economics Harvard University. Dr. Talia is Head of the Life Science business area at RISE AB. The largest Industrial Research Institute in Sweden.

Dr Talia is a serial entrepreneur and is the founding partner of Nanologica AB (publ. listed), Exeger AB, Depalma Work Wear, Zibetto Ventures and Zibetto Espresso Bar Inc. in New York. He is the sole owner of 3T Invest AB who provide coaching and capital to innovative companies. Recent investments are Noa Potions AB, Wearlabs AB, Youbed AB, and Sigrid Therapeutics AB.


The following mentors and experts will be available to support progess of your challenge. We are currently adding mentors, so make sure to check back regularly.

Daniela Amann

Daniela Amann

Head of Division Market & Cooperations at the Schwenninger Health Insurance

After having worked for many years at the German Employee Health Insurance (Deutsche Angestellten Krankenkasse - DAK) and the Technician Health Insurance (Techniker Krankenkasse – TK) and a degree in health economics (ebs) and as a systemic coach (CuBe), she has been working for the Schwenninger Health Insurance since 1998. As Head of Division at the Schwenninger Health Insurance she is currently responsible for contract design with care providers, provision management, cooperations and developments of offers. She has experience in various strategy projects for customer retention, offer innovations, organizational development and provision management, as well as in participation in congresses and lecturing about these topics in Germany and abroad.

Frank Rust

Frank Rust

Co-founder, SOMMERRUST GmbH

As an Innovation Consultant, Frank always aims for the sweet spot at which viability, technological possibilities and customer needs meet. He is the co-founder of SOMMERRUST, a new consultancy that focuses on business model innovation and transformation for established companies.

Together with his co-founder, Frank has developed a user-centric methodology that uses both classic strategic management and Start-Up tools as well as Design Thinking in order to create innovations that deliver real value to the customer. Previously, Frank worked several years as a Design Thinking Coach and Solution Architect for SAP.

Eva-Maria Gottmann

Eva-Maria Gottmann

Head of Marketing at BioMed X GmbH

Eva-Maria Gottmann is a marketing and communication specialist, connecting these skills with biotechnology. She is passionate about how media messages should be designed to have the desired effect. Eva studied Media and Communication Sciences at the universities of Erfurt, Augsburg, and Barcelona. She has been working as a freelance journalist while finishing her master’s thesis. In 2013 she joined the BioRN Cluster Management as online editor and content manager. Eva is now responsible for the communication and marketing of the BioMed X Innovation Center – combining online and social media activities with classical PR. As she is always full of ideas, Eva knows not only the editorial side of journalism and PR but also the technical part, such as content management and graphic design.

Ciaran Behan

Ciaran Behan

Co-founder and Managing Director of Course Resource UG

Ciaran has a broad technology development and innovation background and continuously seeks ways to apply his energy, experience and agile approach to new and exciting challenges. Whether, mentoring individual life science professionals or developing novel training approaches for life science organisations, Ciaran leverages the many aspects of his broad technology and management background and experiences.

Ciaran has a degree in Controls and Robotics from the University of Hull, along with almost twenty five years of technology devleopment experience. His early career developed rapidly inside some of the largest multinational software corporations (Lotus (IBM), Microsoft and Oracle - where he became Director of Internationalisation for the CRM division). Later he reignited his passion for robotics, through life science technology development at his successful biotech startup, Biobotica LLC and later at EMBL Heidelberg. Most recently Ciaran has moved into a mentoring, coaching and consulting role at his Course Resource startup as well as being heavily involved in the Heidelberg Makerspace movement.

David Milford

David Milford

Laboratory Leader and Scientific Researcher

Completing his Honours degree from Dublin City University in Applied Physics, David Milford focused his sights on medical hardware and image processing. Initially starting off in multiphoton microscopy he moved onto image optimisation and processing for surgical implantations which included deep brain and cortical electrodes stimulation. He expanded is expertise in computational modelling and processing in the field of brain computer interfaced and worked with world renowned leaders in the field such as Prof. Dr. Niels Birbaumer. Since 2011 he has been the laboratory leader for the Department of Neuroradiology at the University Hospital of Heidelberg. During which time he has lead, supervised and mentored multiple studies and students in the field of Medical Physics, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Image Post-processing and most recently, Augmented Reality for medicine and research.

Matthias Zahn

Matthias Zahn

Peter Bittner und Partner, European Patent Attorneys

Matthias Zahn studied Information Technology at TU Dresden. Over many years in industry, he gained special expertise in handling computer-implemented inventions and in managing patent portfolios.

Armin Pscherer

Armin Pscherer

CEO at German EIT Health GmbH

Following education and PhD as a molecular biologist, Dr. Armin Pscherer worked as scientist and group leader at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. In 2009 he moved to the first German leading edge cluster for life sciences, BioRN Cluster Management GmbH (Biotech Cluster Rhine-Neckar) as the head for the division Project and Science Management. Under the leadership of Dr. Pscherer, the BioRN Innovation Center developed structures for the acceleration of innovations and a closer cooperation between science and industry. In April 2015 Dr. Pscherer has been appointed as the CEO of the German EIT Health GmbH, a pan-European project on the topic of healthy living and active ageing funded by the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT).

Oliver Heinze

Oliver Heinze

Researcher and Entrepreneur

Dr. Oliver Heinze is a medical computer scientist. He holds a doctoral degree in medical informatics from Heidelberg University. He is responsible for the scientific section medical information systems of the center for information technology and medical engineering of the university hospital Heidelberg (UHH). His interests include eHealth, mHealth, knowledge management as well as the translation of innovation from research to practical application. Currently he is founding a spin-off from UHH.

Eligiusz Skwara

Eligiusz Skwara

CEO at Concepts2Capital GmbH

Eligiusz is the founder and CEO of Concepts2Capital GmbH, a business-consulting company located in Mannheim, Germany. His expertise lies in the areas of Company Building, Business Development and Investor-Readiness. His motto: The ability to think in Value Chains and Business Models is crucial, when building innovative and successful companies.

Before he founded Concept2Capital, Eligiusz was investment manager of a venture capital fund. He started his career at Ernst&Young in the transaction advisory department, serving national and international clients.

Bodo Brückner

Bodo Brückner

Entrepreneurship Manager at German EIT Health GmbH

After his studies of Biology at the University of Heidelberg, Bodo Brückner was awarded his doctorate at the Center of Molecular Biology (ZMBH) in Heidelberg. He then started postdoc positions at the Instituto de Parasitología y Biomedicina "López-Neyra" in Granada (Spain) and at the DKFZ in Heidelberg. At the DKFZ he worked on cancer epigenetics and was involved in several translational research projects with Cancer Research United Kingdom, Clavis Pharma ASA, Bayer HealthCare and Beiersdorf AG. He also worked as a consultant scientist (2011-2016) and as as an innovation manager at BioRN Clustermanagement (2011-2015). To foster life science entrepreneurship and the creation of start-ups, Dr. Brückner teaches Master and PhD students at the Biotech Entrepreneurship Training Program at Heidelberg University. He is also an expert for Science4Life.

Since April 2015, Bodo Brückner has been working as Entrepreneurship Manager at German EIT Health GmbH. He is also member of the EIT Health Education Committee and leads the Digital Hub in EIT Health Campus.

Karin Arregui

Karin Arregui

Professor at the University of Applied Sciences Mannheim

Karin Arregui is Professor at the University of Applied Sciences Mannheim where she teaches Biotechnology Entrepreneurship among other subjects. She coaches healthcare start-ups and mentors laureates of the Cartier Entrepreneurship Awards. An alumni of Singapore’s jfdi start-up accelerator program she has coached Hackathons on Digital Health and other topics. Prior to her academic career she worked in medical device development. She studied chemistry at the RWTH Aachen and at the University of California Los Angeles and holds an Executive MBA from INSEAD.

Helia B. Schönthaler

Helia B. Schönthaler

Technology Transfer Manager at technology transfer heidelberg GmbH

Dr. Helia B. Schönthaler is a Molecular Scientist by training and has worked for many years at international institutions in different research areas. Her research was published in 26 publications. She obtained additional training in Science Management and Entrepreneurship at the IE Business School in Madrid and could gain first spin-off experiences there. Helia now works as a Technology Transfer Manager with a focus on spin-offs for the technology transfer heidelberg GmbH. Her task is to identify and evaluate inventions, as well as taking care of business ideas and startup projects.


The following experts will evaluate hackathon results on Sunday afternoon.

Philipp Rittershaus

Philipp Rittershaus

High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH

Dr. Philipp Rittershaus studied technical biology at the university of Stuttgart. Following a research stay at the Medical University of South Carolina he earned a doctorate degree at the university of Hohenheim. In addition to his scientific education Dr. Rittershaus obtained a Master of Business Administration in Engineering Management at the Graduate School Rhine-Neckar/University of Applied Science Mannheim.

Prior to his current role as Investment Manager for the High-Tech Gründerfonds he worked for the BRAIN AG, Zwingenberg, as well as self-employed Business Development Consultant.

Andrew McCormick-Smith

Andrew McCormick-Smith


Andrew McCormick-Smith was born in England in 1971 and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. After completing an Honors degrees in Computer Science there he moved to Belfast in Northern Ireland where he worked for 6 years as a software engineer. In 2000 he took a career break and went to Australia for year. Amongst other adventures he worked for 4 months as a bicycle courier in Sydney. He returned to England in 2001 and worked for 2 years as a knowledge management specialist for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. Still infected with the travel bug he took another break and spent 9 months travelling the world with his snowboard and climbing gear, visiting Canada, Nepal and New Zealand along the way. When he got back he was offered a place at Imperial College London to study for a PhD. His thesis was in the area of heterogeneous data integration. After completing his PhD he worked as a Research Associate at Imperial for 2 years. In 2010 he moved to Germany and started working for SAP. Fortunately the person who hired him was not too concerned about the numerous gaps in his CV! His first job at SAP was working for the Strategic Projects team, later to become the Innovation Center. During this time he worked closely with colleagues from the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam and was one of a small team that set up the SAP Innovation Center in Postdam. In 2014 the opportunity to lead one of the teams in the newly formed Sports and Entertainment unit arose, and being a huge sports fan he jumped at the chance. He is currently working on software to be used by the German national football team at the upcoming European Championships in France.

Rainer Hess

Rainer Hess


Rainer Hess has a long professional career as a lawyer in the German healthcare system. He started 1969 as legal adviser of the medical director’s association; from 1971 – 1987 he was the legal adviser of the federal chamber of physicians and the Federal association of panel doctors; 1988 he became the general manager of this panel doctor’s association; from 2004 – 2012 he was the independent Chairman of the federal joint committee in the social security system. In 2013 he became the chairman of the German foundation for organ transplantation. Now he is working as a free lanced lawyer in Cologne.

Alfred Stefan

Alfred Stefan

AbbVie Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG

Alfred Stefan studied mathematics and informatics at the University of Kaiserslautern. He received a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Kaiserslautern. He began his professional career as clinical data manager at Knoll AG, then he worked as SAS applications programmer until he finally became the group lead for the Discovery IT team. In the course of time Knoll AG was acquired by Abbott Laboratories, which then became AbbVie Inc.

His primary focus was providing IT support for Drug Discovery, which included the conception, development and maintenance of systems and applications in this area. But he also was very often involved in various other IT projects ranging from a highly specialized small applications to do a sophistical mathematical data analysis to a big enterprise systems, handling the procurement of goods and services, for Abbvie Deutschland, interfacing heavily with SAP.

Thus Alfred oversees a wide range of technologies / applications and system architectures.

Currently Alfred is involved in various AbbVie IT initiatives such as (a) Spearheading, from the IT perspective, the setup of Hadoop based platform for advanced analysis and Knowledge Discovery (b) Working in the area of Text mining to understand these capabilities for data analysis.

Joachim Szecsenyi

Joachim Szecsenyi

Professor and CEO

Joachim Szecsenyi has a degree in medicine and social sciences. He has a track record of more than 25 years in Primary Care and Health Services Research. Currently he is medical director and leader of a department at Heidelberg University Hospital. He is also founder and CEO of the AQUA Institute for Applied Quality Improvement and Research in Health Care.

Dennis Ahaus

Dennis Ahaus


“You can be the most exceptional developer with an unbeatable idea, but if you can’t sell it, you’re worthless”. This awareness is what pushed Dennis to return to school and study Information Technology and Business Information Technology after having founded an IT company in 2001 and simultaneously co-founded a transcontinental import/export sporting goods company. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Dennis learned how to “sell” himself and his ideas; landing him a job for Mannheimer Versicherung, engaging with JavaEE, Cobol, Z/OS, IBM Mainframes. From there he moved to SAP in 2015 starting with enterprise node.js development with the odata protocol. Today Dennis is a passionate developer and solution architect who is always looking for the next project to amalgamate with and promote.


Accommodation (as in hotel or hostel rooms) is not included in the ticket price. Most likely we will have to close the hackathon venues for a couple of hours per night (security and cleaning), so please make sure you have a place to sleep. We have reserved some hotel and hostel rooms.

Holiday Inn Express

Hotel Website
approx. 2km from event venue
Special rate: € 119,- per night.

Steffis Hostel

Hostel Website
approx. 2km from event venue
Special rate: € 23,- per night.

  • Standard Ticket
    79 €
    • 54 hours of intense action and networking
    • Catering from Friday evening till Sunday evening
    • Interesting challenges
    • Competent coaches
  • Early Bird Ticket (ended)
    39 €
    • 54 hours of intense action and networking
    • Catering from Friday evening till Sunday evening
    • Interesting challenges
    • Competent coaches
  • Pitch / Ceremonial Award Ticket
    19 €
    • Entrance to the final pitch presentations and award ceremony (Sunday afternoon and evening only)
    • Drinks and snacks
    • Networking
Hackthon: Life Science Meets IT