CW22 - Hack Day

Table covered with laptops for hackathon
Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

The CW22 Hack Day will take place on: 

  • Wednesday, 6 April 2022 from 13:30 - 15:30 BST (12:30 - 14:30 UTC)
  • Thursday, 7 April 2022 from 10:00 - 17:00 BST (9:00 - 16:00 UTC)


Where do I submit an idea, and where can I see the submissions?

The Hack Day is not limited to the ideas that came from the Collaborative Ideas session: anyone can suggest a hack project by filling out the Ideas form at any point during the workshop. Ideas forms will be made available to participants at the workshop, who will also be able to view the ideas that have already been submitted.


Pitching an idea and team formation

If you are the Hack Day Idea Proposer, or part of a team who wishes to work on an idea during the Hack Day, you will need to put together a pitch. The pitching session and team formation takes place on Wednesday, 6 April 2022 starting at 13:30 BST (12:30 UTC). 

The pitch should:

  • Last three minutes in total
  • Be clear about the problem you aim to solve and the way in which the solution will be realised
  • Be clear about the skills you think the group needs
  • Should be of the right scale that 3-6 people can make some headway within 5 hours
  • Be clear about the benefit and impact of the idea to attract people to join your group!

Each idea/pitch needs to be presented and registered by the evening of Wednesday, 6 April 2022 to be officially part of the CW22 Hack Day. When registering your idea/pitch you will be asked about the team leader, details of what you plan and the category of your idea/pitch (e.g. Software and Credit, Data/Code Sharing, Reproducible Research, Bring-Your-Own-Data (BYOD), Collaborative working, etc.) Note the ideas need not be about writing software: they could be standards related, paper hackathons or some other research software related activity.

Each idea will have a Team leader; the leader could be the idea owner, the pitch author/leader or someone who has decided to form a team around someone else’s idea/open data.

Each team can have a maximum of six people who are not Institute Staff in it. We recommend a minimum of two people in a team; we have a limit on the number of teams - if there are more than 10, preference will be given to the bigger teams (not who came first). If a team becomes too big we may ask you to become two teams but working on the same pitch/idea.

Once your team is formed, we strongly suggest you have a free and frank discussion with your team about the licensing around the outputs so that everyone is on the same page.



The judges for the Hack Day will be:

  • Mario Antonioletti 

  • Alison Clarke

  • James Graham

  • Patricia Herterich

  • Carlos Martinez-Ortiz

  • David Perez-Suarez

  • Shoaib Sufi (chair)

  • Yo Yehudi

Judges will visit each team during the Hack Day, see how they are doing, offer advice and ask questions. They may also prod you to start writing up your presentation and thinking about your demo of the work you have been doing to try and offset the ‘just one more commit’ urge that can set into a team as presentation/demo time approaches. Judges may make notes on the teams they are visiting to help assess teamwork, they may also visit you more than once during the day.

All decisions of the judges with regards to marking and prize giving are final and neither they nor the Institute will entertain any appeals.


Judging criteria

What follows are the criteria for how your Hack Day entry will be judged.

During the 5 minute presentation of your Hack Day work, each team must show how they address the criteria. Failure to do this might prevent a good entry from getting a good score during its assessment.

Each category will be scored from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest); weighting may be applied to the categories but the judges will decide on this during their meeting on the Hack Day.

1. Novelty, creativity, coolness and/or usefulness

  • Can you clearly define the problem that is being solved and how are you trying to solve it?
  • Are you doing something new, better, slick or really useful to yourself or others?
  • Is your solution purely self-serving, or is it enabling in some other way. You need to provide reasons as to how your Hack Day project benefits a wider community of potential users/developers to get the best marks during assessment.
  • The advice here is indicative; other justifications in this space are welcome (within the constraints of presenting).

2. Implementation and infrastructure  

  • Are you following research software best practice for the use of infrastructure? Is a source code repository being used? Is there documentation? Are appropriate services and infrastructure being used (e.g. cloud computing, databases)?
  • If you are building on existing work, it’s essential that you are clear about what was done during the Hack Day in terms of adding features and functionality etc. (If this is not clear you will lose marks).
  • Does your solution work for the stated purpose - can this be shown during the demo?
  • If your team is developing a standard, are you using collaborative techniques and tools to allow contribution from the whole team?
  • For paper hackathons involving presentation of data or analysis, are you using reproducible frameworks for the paper authoring?
  • For other research software related hacks, is it clear you are using best practice in the construction of the work?

3. Demo and presentation

  • Did the presentation and demo show how your hack has fulfilled the judging criteria?
  • Did your team communicate the essence of why they did what they did and why it was important?
  • If your team were demonstrating results (e.g. from an analysis), were they appropriate for the data chosen?

4. Project transparency

  • Was your source code available on an open repository at presentation time? Teams may choose to work open or work closed. If you happen to decide that you want a publication from this work then you may choose to be open about your methods but not your data, for example. However, building and being able to build on each other's work during the Hack Day will be viewed favourably.
  • Ideally your repository should contain a README covering configuration, make and run instructions included with the code. In addition there should be a brief description of the project and what the software/scripts do, along with a license. 
  • These criteria may not be directly relevant for certain categories of entry; in this case other aspects of transparency and openness will be used as decided upon by the judging panel.

5. Future potential

  • Was it clear how your work could be taken forward in the future, could it modify existing work, or be part of a new paper, initiative or bid?
  • Were ideas of future steps provided?
  • Was it mere fun or did the idea show usefulness in the long term?

6. Team work

  • Was your team led well, were they able to involve all interested team members?
  • Were non-technical members directed towards meaningful contributions; e.g. documentation, testing, usability and logo design in the case of more software-related hacks?
  • Did your team’s software practices support synchronised working and decrease duplication? Did your team achieve more together than would have been possible separately?
  • Was your team atmosphere healthy: disagreements are fine, but were they conducted agreeably?
  • Did it appear enjoyable and/or fun to be part of your team?



The Hack Day teams to come in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place will win prizes! Due to stricter institutional finance policies this year, the prizes will be digital gift cards to Love2Shop or Amazon. (We will coordinate with the winners after the event around their available options and preferences.)

The prizes for the winning Hack Day team members are as follows:

  • First place: £100 digital gift card
  • Second place: £75 digital gift card
  • Third place: £50 digital gift card

Back to the CW22 agenda

Share this page