On 18-19 May, 2017 Merck hosted its second Hackathon in Tel Aviv. The event was a grand success that attracted 54 students from 12 different universities across Israel. The participants hailed from diverse backgrounds who came together to solve the 6 business challenges presented by Merck employees. It was a collaboration of students ranging from business, computer science, medicine, biology etc. that resulted in ingenious solutions.

Challenges ranging from improving customer interaction with pigment products to increasing sales to finding applications of speech recognition like Amazon Alexa in the healthcare sector to improving the colonization in biomonitoring applications provided the students with a large canvas to paint their ideas and bring out the most creative and feasible solutions. Regine Shevach, Managing Director, Biopharma R&D and Discovery Technologies, Israel introduced the students to Merck emphasizing on the fact of working at a company which is celebrating 350 years next year. Eli Itin, senior innovation consultant at Northern Star Innovation graced the event with an enticing speech on how to drive innovation, providing tips to the students which they could use during the Hackathon. A key factor to success of the event was the immense support from the internal Merck employees, who worked all through the night mentoring the students.

3 prizes were awarded at the event. The first prize winning team designed using basic concepts of camera and rotating plates to design a 3D model of the microbiology plate. The second prize was awarded to the team which developed an app which helped customer’s interaction with the pigments so as to improve the sales of the pigments. The third prize winning team designed a prototype on how Alexa and machine learning could be used to eliminate wrong treatment of patients in the hospitals. We congratulate all the winners and hope to follow up further on the projects resulted from the Hackathon.