iSpeak Blog

2019 Young Professionals Hackathon Delivers Real-World Experience for Participants

Debra Kaufmann, BS
ISPE Young Professionals Hackathon participants - ISPE Pharmaceutical Engineering

On 30-31 March 2019, the 2019 ISPE Europe Annual Conference held its third Young Professional Hackathon title “Young Professional Gathering”. More than 30 ISPE Young Professionals (YPs) came from all over Europe to participate in this two-day event that emphasized collaboration, teamwork, networking, challenges, new learnings, innovation, and creativity. The team, comprised of:

Coaches

Ursula Busse
Global Head Quality Intelligence & External Affairs
Novartis AG

Organizing Team

  • John Clarke
  • Marta Malo de Molina
  • Emer Somers
  • Elaine Clarke

This team of pharma industry professional did a fantastic job bringing the participants together and leading a full 1-1/2 day program that entailed hard work and loads of fun.

At the beginning of the Young Professional Gathering Hackathon, the Young Professionals were randomly organized into teams and presented with a real-world industry challenge to solve. These challenges were based on a case study each participant received prior to the event and focused on the following topics:

  • Continuous Manufacturing
  • Single Use Technology
  • Process Analytical Technology
  • Pharma 4.0
  • Cell Gene Therapy

The teams were tasked with forming the business case for each challenge, which included:

  • Identifying the idea and payback associated with their solution
  • Develop a project charter that included
    • Situation/problem
    • Scope
    • Deliverables
    • Benefit
    • Time required
    • Resources
    • Responsibilities associated with each

They had to determine the right problem and solution, develop a hypothesis, and be adaptive, flexible, and innovative. They were given access to ISPE Communities of Practice, copies of Pharmaceutical Engineering® magazine, presentations from the February 2019 ISPE Facilities of the Future Conference, and could use their laptops to utilize the internet for research and ideas.

Young Professional Hackathon Teams Working on Tasks
Young Professional Hackathon Teams Working on Tasks

Deliverables during this exercise included:

  • Problem statement definition
  • Proposed solution definition
  • Presentation draft
  • Cost benefit statement.

The coaches remained in the room throughout the entire Hackathon, providing help based on their professional experience, suggestions, and support. During the first day, which ran from 1000 - 1800, the participants also shared in fun and challenging ice breakers, breaks, and quite a bit of “getting to know” all of those involved. The day ended with dinner, which included guests for the Young Professionals to engage with from the ISPE Board of Directors and Executive Staff.

Young Professional Hackathon Team Discussing Tasks
Young Professional Hackathon Team Discussing Tasks

Participants were back in the room early in the morning on day two to finish their assignments, which were presented at 1000. Judges were:

This team of judges had a difficult time selecting a winning team as they felt each of the teams did an outstanding job presenting creative, useful, and realistic solutions to difficult real-world challenges. In the end, the Pharma 4.0 team was selected as the winner of the 2019 ISPE Europe Annual Conference Young Professional Hackathon.

Pharma 4.0 Team Presenting Their Case Study
Pharma 4.0 Team Presenting Their Case Study

Team members included:

  • Sebastian Kuhz
  • Seema Doll
  • Seamus Scanlon
  • Iris De Coninck
  • Alexandra Yath
  • Robert Landertinger
Pharma 4.0 Winning Team with 2019 ISPE Europe Annual Conference Young Profession Hackathon Judges
Pharma 4.0 Winning Team with 2019 ISPE Europe Annual Conference Young Profession Hackathon Judges

Congratulations to all – the winning team and all of the participants of the 2019 ISPE Europe Annual Conference Young Professional Hackathon – on a job well done!

2019 ISPE Europe Annual Conference Young Profession Hackathon Participants
2019 ISPE Europe Annual Conference Young Profession Hackathon Participants, Coaches, and Organizing Team Members

Our thanks to all the Young Professional Hackathon organizers, coaches, and judges, as well as to Martina Laus, Sebastian Kuhz, Tom McDermott, Sam Andrews, Elmarie Herloff-Petersen, Thomas Zimmer and Debbie Kaufmann for their contributions and support for this outstanding program.