A collage of images of a young woman wearing a virtual reality headset and a bionic hand on a blue background

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) strand of our Stronger Together programme aims to develop specialised skills that will enable young leaders to design AI-based solutions responding to social and climate challenges.

Hence, the British Council is joining forces with Microsoft to develop a hackathon during which young people will explore and showcase the power of artificial intelligence for the common good.

AI is seen as a technology that has the power to solve some of the biggest global challenges facing us today. Young people have the power to influence the future of AI and whether it will be used as a tool for shaping solutions to real problems. It is a field in which they will be called to act critically, influence others and support wider society. It is crucial to channel our youth leadership work towards a field that will enable young people to be at the forefront of progress as actors of positive impact through social action.

We are running several activities as a part of our programme in 2022–23:

  • online focus groups in October 2022
  • face-to-face hackathons in Cyprus, Greece, Ireland and Hungary at end of November/early December 2022
  • online policy dialogue event in January 2023.

Focus Groups

The online focus groups aim to provide opportunities for dialogue on the use of AI for the common good, allowing for young people’s views to be shaped into recommendations. These recommendations will be presented in a final policy dialogue bringing youth together with high level representatives from academia, business and policy. Our first online focus group took place on Friday 7 October 2022, 12.00–14.00 CET.

Hackathon

In collaboration with CYENS – Centre of Excellence, and with the support of Microsoft, we are organising a hackathon for young people with a background in either artificial intelligence or social innovation.

Who we are looking for

Applicants must be aged 18–35, have a good understanding of English and a background in one of the following fields:

  • Computer science/engineering/mathematics/life sciences etc. – people who have a background in sciences. Can be basic knowledge of what AI is and how machine learning works but there is no need to be an AI expert. We will guide you through the process.
  • Climate activism/environmental or social sciences – people who support social justice, are proponents of environmental/human rights and know what the Sustainable Development Goals are.
  • Social innovation or entrepreneurship – people who design solutions that aim to improve the welfare and well-being of individuals and communities. We are looking for people who can be creative and think outside of the box.

How it works

Participants will form teams and receive training from a UK expert on how they can use artificial intelligence to design solutions to contemporary critical challenges. There is no need to be an expert on AI or climate change/social justice topics to participate as the hackathon will involve training in AI fundamental principles. Mentors will support each team through the process.

The teams will then try to generate creative ideas and design a solution through AI tools to respond to the challenges of the global climate crisis, create an original idea and present it in front of a jury that will select a winning team. The winning team will be awarded with a study visit to a relevant institution in the UK in March 2023.

What you will get

  • A creative 2.5 days, where you will have the chance to meet new people, learn the basics of AI and apply them to find solutions to a social issue.
  • The opportunity to pitch your idea and win a study visit to the UK with other teams from similar hackathons in Europe.
  • Food and coffee to energise you.

What is required

Participants should:

  • have a good understanding of English as the hackathon will be in English
  • bring their personal laptops to work with during the hackathon, tablets and mobile phones are not supported
  • have Windows 10 (or above) or the latest version of MacOS and the Microsoft Teams application installed.

When and where

The hackathon will take place on Friday 16, Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 December 2022.

On Friday 16 December it will take place at The Classic Hotel in Nicosia, on 17–18 December it will take place at the Nicosia Municipal Polydynamo Centre.

Participants are expected to be present for the whole duration of the event.

How to apply

To take part in the hackathon, complete the online application form by Tuesday 6 December 2022 (23.00 EET):

Apply now

We will notify successful applicants by Wednesday 7 December. Places are limited.

Participation is free and participants will receive a certificate of attendance.

Our partners

The programme is powered by Microsoft Cyprus and delivered in collaboration with CYENS – Centre of Excellence. It is also supported by the Cyprus University of Technology, the University of Cyprus, the University of Nicosia, the University of Central Lancashire Cyprus, the European University Cyprus and Frederick University, under the auspices of the Deputy Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy.

Further information

For further information, please contact Marilena Kyriakou at Marilena.Kyriakou@cy.britishcouncil.org.

Online Policy Dialogue

Details to be announced soon.