Pistoia Alliance President's Series Hackathon - "Hack the Lab"

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Millennium Hotel London Mayfair

44 Grosvenor Square




United Kingdom

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Hack the Lab!

The Pistoia Alliance is bringing together the life-science, healthcare and technology industries to collaborate and advance the scientific laboratory.

We invite you to come and HACK THE SCIENTIFIC LABORATORY! Help us build the future, smarter, more efficient and safer lab!

An exciting 2 day event to develop ideas into prototypes, win prizes and more!

Let’s collaborate to bring new ideas and technology to advance how the Lab of the Future will run.

Come and join Pistoia Alliance's Hack the Lab!

Who should attend?

Hackathons aim to bring diffuse skillsets together. The event is focused on lifescience / R&D laboratories with the themes below.

We will bring:

  • AI challenges on laboratory datasets
  • Challenges to utilise new tech to build a smarter lab
  • Opprtunities to use new technologies to develop a safer lab using industry safety datasets, such as Pistoia Alliance's own Chemical Safety Library

We want people for pharma, agri, biotech, healthcare, academia, tech and related industries that work, have worked or are interested / wanting to work in the laboratory.

These challenges will suit:

  • Developers / technologists from the life-science R&D technology teams or working in or around the life sciences arena
  • Intrapreneurial, creative individuals working in R&D or R&D IT life sciences
  • Health & Safety team members keen to develop new solutions to build a safer lab environment
  • Data scientists / AI specialists
  • Lab Scientists
  • Developers with experience in IOT or using technology API's (e.g like Alexa skills)
  • Data Scientists / AI / ML with an understanding of life-sciences / working laboratories / process control
  • Lab scientists interested in the themes highlighted below
  • People who have registered with the Chemical Safety Library (and their colleagues)

Challenge Themes

The laboratory has looked the same over the last 20 years. Scientists have worked in similar ways in that time. Technologies are making huge disruptive differences across industries. The advent of Internet of Things, Virtual/Augmented Reality, AI, NLP, machine learning, big data and high powered, cloud computing and robotics all are impacting our daily lives.

We will tackle three main areas and leverage these advancing technologies into the laboratory:

Themes: AI, New tech, Health & Safety

AI Insight:

“Interpreting instrument logs”:

Using logfile dataset from laboratory instrumentation, can you pre-empt / predict failures or build a solution to better plan a suitable maintenance schedule.

Future Corner:

“Show how new technologies could impact the lab”:

How can the new commercial technologies such as smart speakers be applied to laboratories and their data? Tools we aim to have at the event include (to be confirmed over coming weeks):

  • Amazon Alexa / Google home / Microsoft Cortana
  • Programmable buttons (e.g. Amazon IoT or Flic button)
  • Smart glasses
  • Virtual Reality headset
  • Augmented Reality
  • Internet of (Laboratory) Things
  • Etc.

Health & Safety:

Given the rollout of Pistoia Alliance’s Chemical Safety Library, show us how you can use the dataset alongside other safety sets to support the scientist in the laboratory.


You will have 2 days to build new teams and partnerships, plan, prototype and test your transformative idea. The only limits are time and your inspiration.

We will bring data, technology (and lab!) to the event, your job is to use the tools and data to show how the scientist will innovate in the lab in the future.

Plenty of food and drinks will be available over the 2 days. Lunch is included on both days.

At the end of the 2 days, you will present your ideas and judges will score and then announce the winning team of the hackathon and present the prizes.

Day 1 - Monday 12th March

  • 10:00am - Doors open
  • 6:00pm - Drinks (or continue hacking if you prefer!)
  • 7:00pm - Go home for the night!

Day 2 - Tuesday 13th March

  • 8:00am - Venue open for business!
  • 3:00pm - Stop working, prepare your pitches
  • 3:15pm - Presentiations and judging
  • 5:00pm - Judges collate scores and decide winner
  • 5:30pm - Winners presentation
  • 6:00pm - Close

Why join in?


Collaboration in our industry is vital! Whilst competition drives innovation, there are areas where that compeition should be focused in your organisation, such as the actual science your organisation specialises in. In all organisations there are areas where you and your competitors are solving the same problem where the competive advantage over them is minimal.

Pre-competitive collaboration such as this hackathon can reduce costs and lower the barriers to innovation. This is an opportunity to develop new ideas and prototypes with peers from across industry and academia to support your own organisation and release funds back into your core business.

Personal Development

Innovation is a much used word in companies. Entering an event like this will help you express and develop your creativity and will help you show your peers and management the capabilites you have. You may even be able to take the hackathon ideas back to your own organisation!

If you are a current student or recent graduate, we will help you find out more about the major organisations in the industry that you could potentially work for. Your team mate at this event may be your future colleague!


By the end of the 2 days you will be part of a team that's designed and/or created a potential solution that could help accelerate new life saving solutions or could help reduce the time and cost of bringing new medicines safely to patients.


We hope you will make new connections from new areas and disciplines, perhaps even see new career directions you never thought possible.


Most importantly we hope you have fun and will make a difference!


Do I need to know science to attend?

Yes and No, hackathons do work best with diverse skillsets. Having experience of working in a laboratory or around scientists will make it easier to come up to speed with a relevant idea. However...

We want to bring together both expertise and creativity at the event. The aim is to forge new relationships between science and technology experts to look at established healthcare data in a different way. So if you have experience in:

  • Coding
  • Design
  • IoT
  • Laboratory processes and automation

We want you to be there! Other disciplines are welcome, if you have a creative mind and this topic interests you please consider joining.

Mentors will be available to support your creative process, provide scientific or technical input and support.

I don’t have a team, can I join by myself?
Teams will be formed on site so just bring yourself and meet the rest of the attendees on the Monday morning.

Do I need to bring my own laptop/PC?
Yes, please bring your own computer and devices.

Who owns the IP of our ideas?

Pistoia Alliance waives all rights to any ideas from the event.

More details on the prizes and challenge will appear closer to the event, so please keep an eye on this site, the Pistoia Alliance home page or follow @PistoiaAlliance on twitter, tag #Pistoia2018

Come and join us to help lower the barriers to R&D.

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Millennium Hotel London Mayfair

44 Grosvenor Square




United Kingdom

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