48 students from 24 countries demonstrated their innovative strength in the TU Austria Innovation Marathon. Since 2015, the three Austrian technical universities TU Wien, TU Graz and Montanuniversität Leoben have organised the Innovation Marathon in the TU Austria network: a 24-hour event in which student teams work on tasks from companies.
In 2022, the Innovation Marathon was once again held as part of the European Forum Alpbach (TEC Days 25 - 27 August), and six of the eight teams were live on site. Two of the teams were there purely virtually and were integrated into the activities on site via Zoom.
"The Innovation Marathon is a preview of future collaborations in which international teams work together, exchange ideas and implement projects together. The current crises show that society needs research and education to find solutions to these and upcoming challenges," said Minister of Science Martin Polaschek in his opening remarks.
Expertise + creativity = innovation
48 students were selected from over 130 applications. The eight teams faced the challenge of developing solutions for the challenges in just 24 hours. In addition to professional competence and creativity, stamina was required.
The problems of the companies were:
- AT&S, “In an increasingly complex world, how can you explain difficult technical or scientific content to different target audiences?”
- AVL List GmbH, “How does a test environment for automated passenger drones look like?”
- Energie Steiermark, “Point out how municipalities benefit from Real Time Electricity Data.”
- Fronius International GmbH, “Sustainability in Joining Technology // How can a CRADLE to CRADLE approach be implemented for a sustainable welded joint. // Creation - Operation - Recycling”
- MAGNA, “Autonomous driven Shuttle – What are expectations to make such a vehicle attractive to be used in future? Target group = you as students.”
- Österreich Werbung“Food loss and waste - Food waste has a huge environmental & economical impact and is one of the bigger unspoken issues in the hotel and tourism industry.”
- Philips Domestic Appliances Austria GmbH, “Create innovative solutions of versatile cooking appliances that combine functionalities in a meaningful way for the consumer.”
- SIEMENS Österreich, “Develop scenarios of how a consequent labelling obligation of products with the real (measured) Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) will change the business, and derive new business ideas.”
Many approaches to solutions, ideas and intermediate results ready for development emerged, which provide companies with impulses for innovative applications and further development. Harald Kainz, TU Graz Rector and TU Austria Vice-President, on the results: "I am particularly pleased that we were able to welcome participants from 24 countries, who made the Innovation Marathon 2022 a truly international event. 24 intense hours challenged all participants, but also delivered remarkable results. I congratulate all the innovators and I am sure that this experience will be remembered by all".
The Austrian Patent Office is a long-standing partner of the Innovation Marathon. The students were again actively supported by the Patent Office team and informed about everything from search options to the application process. Stefan Harasek, Vice-President of the Austrian Patent Office, was enthusiastic: "It is wonderful to see the enthusiasm with which the students tackle the tasks. I am pleased that we were able to offer additional input and provide the young scientists with a quick guide towards a patent. I am looking forward to seeing how the participants develop and hope to be able to welcome them back soon as innovation champions."
In a video message, Christoph Neumayer, President of the Austrian Federation of Industry, once again emphasised the importance of research and innovation, especially in challenging times marked by war, energy and climate crises. "Research, technology and innovation form the basis for our prosperity today, the quality of life tomorrow and solutions for challenges to come," Neumayer said.
Mario Fallast, project manager of the TU Austria Innovation Marathon is pleased about a successful Innovation Marathon: "Although the last two years have shown that the Innovation Marathon also works online, the live event offers a very unique atmosphere. The interaction, coaching and exchange among all participants happens much more directly, the networking character comes through more strongly. We were able to implement the integration of the online teams into the events on site well with the experience we gained and thus also make it possible for students to participate who otherwise could not easily come to Alpbach."
The TEC Days are organised by AIT Austrian Institute of Technology and ORF Radio Österreich 1 in cooperation with the European Forum Alpbach. Further information on the TU Austria Innovation Marathon can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/tu.austria or https://www.tuaustria.ac.at/veranstaltungen/innovations-marathon.
DI Mario Fallast
Projektleiter TU Austria Innovations-Marathon
TU Graz | Forschungs- & Technologie-Haus
M +43 664 333 23 55