The entrepreneurial and innovative character enjoys an enviable health among the students of the Universitat Politčcnica de Valčncia (UPV), especially compared to other universities. This is the main conclusion from the latest edition of The VDS Challenge. This competition brings together students and professionals with the aim of providing innovative technological solutions to specific situations posed by the jury within twelve hours.
The results of the latest edition of this hackathon, which awards 5,000 euros in prizes, corroborate this. The Innova Metrics team, fifty per cent of UPV students, won. In addition, seven other UPV students were part of the two finalist teams (Ecovolt Sensor and Connecting). In other words, of the 18 students who reached the podium, 10 are enrolled in a degree course or have studied at the UPV.
It should be noted that the composition of the teams (of 6 members each) is mixed, i.e., they do not represent a specific university, but the participants register on a personal basis and mix to create balanced teams in terms of the presence of women and men, and regardless of the educational centre they come from.
The Innova Metrics team, which won first place and a prize of 3,000 euros, was made up of Lluís Sempere and Nerea Cotillas, Bachelor students in Industrial Design and Product Development Engineering, and Alejandro Camas, a Master student in Artificial Intelligence, Pattern Recognition and Digital Imaging. Three more people from other universities completed the training.
The idea they developed was a computer application for mobile devices (app) focused on improving the quality of marketing campaigns based on data mining. The jury evaluated aspects such as the simplicity, efficiency, innovation and feasibility of their proposal.
Nerea Cotillas highlights the great opportunity that participating in this hackathon has given her. "I have understood that ideas that initially seem too complicated can be implemented with perseverance, effort and proper analysis from different approaches. It has also been incredible to meet and get to know the jury members, my colleagues and the other participants", she celebrates.
Participation in the final phase of The Challenge VDS is achieved after passing an initial screening based on a letter of motivation. In the latest competition, held in October, 72 people reached this stage (out of 272 applications submitted), 52 of whom have studied or are currently studying at the UPV. This figure represents more than 70 per cent of UPV participation, even though the competition is open to other communities beyond Valencia.
The challenge aims to maximise the skills and aptitudes of each participant through 12-hour hackathon challenges. The competition is open to professionals or undergraduate, postgraduate or PhD students from any public or private university in the Valencian and other Communities, with no age limit or previous experience required.
Participants are divided into teams to prototype and present a technology-based product or service that solves one of the challenges set by the jury.
The collaborating companies and institutions are HP, Banc Sabadell, Banco Santander, Damm, Mapfre, Ajuntament de Valčncia and Universitat Politčcnica de Valčncia.