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Students can win thousands at Climate Hackathon: Wildfire

The Wilkes Center for Climate Science & Policy to host the second annual 24-hour Climate Solutions Hackathon on wildfire! Register here!

Dozens of students work together in groups at tables in an big open room with brown and beige checkered floor.

PHOTO CREDIT: Ross Chambless

The in-person students work together for 24 hours to conceive of a way to mitigate urban heat islands at the College of Science during the first annual Climate Hackathon.

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Noon on Friday, Jan. 26 to noon on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024

The in-person portion of the program will be on Friday from noon until 10 p.m.


University of Utah undergraduate and graduate students—Do you have ideas that can help prevent, forecast, or mitigate the impacts of climate change-driven wildfires? Present your idea at the Climate Solutions Hackathon, a 24-hour team competition hosted by the Wilkes Center for Climate Science & Policy for a chance to win thousands of dollars. This program is about ideas, so no coding experience is required!


A panel of experts will award the top three teams the following prizes: 1st place wins $3,000; 2nd place wins $2,000; 3rd place wins $1,000.


The hackathon is open to University of Utah graduate and undergraduate students in any field of study and is designed to encourage innovation in a fast-paced, collaborative environment. Students can form a 3–5-person team; multidisciplinary teams are encouraged. You can select your team in advance or be placed on a team on the day of the competition. Student participants will have access to faculty and postdoctoral experts in fields relevant to wildfire practices and solutions to help guide their proposed solutions.


The first half of the event will be in-person at the Crocker Science Center until 10:00 PM Friday, after which the student teams may continue collaborating off-campus or remotely with continued access to live resources from the Center until 12:00 Noon Saturday.  Teams will designate their preference (in-person or virtual) at the time of registration.

How will it work?

Student teams will create a slide deck over twenty-four hours to submit to the judging panel. At the start of the competition, the judges will reveal specific challenge prompts around the topic of wildfire that teams must address. Then, over the next day, students will develop a new idea in one of five competition categories related to the theme. You could approach the challenge from any perspective—as a scientist, artist, engineer, city planner, venture capitalist, politician, start-up entrepreneur, community activist, or anything else in your imagination.

In-person teams at the Crocker Science Center will check in with their teams between noon and 7 p.m. on Friday. Students will be required to confirm that they are currently enrolled at the University of Utah and fill out liability forms. All participants will be subject to the Student Code of Conduct at Crocker Science Center. Staff and faculty will be present in the building to help students with their ideas. Students are encouraged to bring whatever gear they need for the event.  Food and caffeine will be provided, as well as special guests to provide inspiration and support.

Evaluation of Submissions

Once all the teams submit their ideas by noon on Saturday, Jan. 27, the submissions will be reviewed by a panel of U faculty with backgrounds in climate and environmental science. Cash prizes will be awarded to the teams with the top ideas.    

Learn more and sign up now at the Wilkes Center Hackathon webpage.

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About The Wilkes Center for Climate Science & Policy

 The Wilkes Center for Climate Science & Policy at the University of Utah strives to provide transformative, integrative, and cutting-edge science, education, entrepreneurship, and practical solutions to tackle climate change in Utah, the United States, and the globe. The Center is led by William Anderegg, renowned climate scientist and associate professor at the University of Utah and was created through a $20 million gift from Clay and Marie Wilkes. More information on the Wilkes Center can be found at