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Call for creative young people to enter virtual North Atlantic Corona Challenge


By Alan Hendry

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Kateryna McKinnon, European manager at HIE, says it is a great opportunity to generate ideas and prototype solutions.
Kateryna McKinnon, European manager at HIE, says it is a great opportunity to generate ideas and prototype solutions.

Creative young people in the Highlands and Islands are being invited to take part in a 48-hour virtual North Atlantic Corona Challenge next week.

They will join a team of competitors from the North Atlantic region to design, test and bring alive innovative ideas for life during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

Young people aged 18-30 in the region with backgrounds such as coding, data design, healthcare or engineering are encouraged to sign up for the event which will take place online over the weekend of May 29-31.

The aim is to come up with ideas and solutions that address the most pressing challenges caused by the crisis, such as combating loneliness and making coronavirus screening easier for remote communities.

The challenge will focus on three specific areas: to help save lives, communities and businesses.

Prizes will be awarded to the three best solutions across all themes.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has been working with Nordic Atlantic Co-operation (NORA) to extend the initiative to Scotland. NORA brings together Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and coastal Norway, supporting transnational co-operation across these regions in the North Atlantic.

Cash prizes of up to around £3000 will be awarded to successful teams. HIE is also offering an additional prize of one-to-one development support to the winning team with a Highlands and Islands participant.

Kateryna McKinnon, European manager at HIE, said: “Since the outbreak of the pandemic, many similar virtual challenges have taken place throughout Europe and have delivered very exciting innovations. This one is tailored at the rural North Atlantic area specifically, addressing our region’s preconditions.

"This is a great opportunity to generate good ideas and prototype solutions which could be developed into commercial products, but also crucially help save lives. We look forward to our bright young minds in the region to connect online and use their expertise to help turn ideas into something that can make a difference to the problems linked with the pandemic.”

The 48-hour virtual North Atlantic Corona Challenge will focus on how to help save lives, communities and businesses, with prizes awarded to the three best solutions across all themes.
The 48-hour virtual North Atlantic Corona Challenge will focus on how to help save lives, communities and businesses, with prizes awarded to the three best solutions across all themes.

NORA adviser Oystein Andresen said: “The North Atlantic Corona Challenge is a good way for NORA to bring forth the best of our youth. The sparsely populated areas in the North Atlantic are not exempt from the crisis, even though the number of [people] infected has been relatively low. We want to inspire the young generation to work together to combat the pandemic.”

Highland Council’s spokesman on Europe, Councillor Jimmy Gray, who chairs the Highlands and Islands European Partnership, welcomed the initiative.

“I know how creative and forward-thinking our young people are so I’m sure there will be lots of constructive and imaginative suggestions put forward," he said. "This is a great opportunity, not only because of the prize money on offer for the top ideas, but HIE will provide entrepreneurship support to the winning team with a Highlands and Islands participant.

"It’s a chance to get involved in finding solutions for the future, so I hope as many young people as possible living across the Highlands and Islands take up the challenge.”

Registration opened on Wednesday of this week and will close on May 28.

Those interested will register individually, after which teams (where possible, transnational) will be formed by the organisers.

To sign up and for more information, visit https://www.coronachallenge.fo


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