• Important questions & answers on #VersusVirus

    This list of questions will be continuously updated. If your question is not answered here, you are welcome to send it to us via the contact form.

    What is a Hackathon?

    A hackathon (a word created from "hack" and "marathon") is a collaborative solution development event. The goal of a hackathon is to find useful, creative or entertaining solutions to given problems together within the duration of this event. Participants in hackathons usually come from different areas and often work on their projects in cross-functional teams.

    When does the #VersusVirus Hackathon take place?

    The Hackathon will take place on the weekend of 3rd to 5th April. Together with your team, you have 48 hours to build a solution to tackle this crisis. We start on Friday at 14.00 with a kick-off seminar and end the hackathon on Sunday at 19.00 with a closing event.

    How does a virtual Hackathon work?

    Our Hackathon takes place exclusively online. We provide the appropriate tools so that you can develop solutions together online. We use Slack as the communication platform for the teams and video conferencing for live webinars, Q&A sessions and the daily check-ins. Detailed technical instructions and access to the individual tools will be sent to you in time.

    How many can participate?

    The number of participants in the Hackathon is unlimited. The number of participants per team will be limited to 15, because of technical limitations. We recommend you to divide your team into 2-3 subgroups so you can effectively work out a solution within 48 hours.

    Are there participation requirements?


    We are looking for programmers, designers, creative people, problem solvers and socially committed citizens. There are generally no requirements to participate in the #VersusVirus Online Hackathon. Use your interdisciplinarity and be creative together to develop solutions that help us in the crisis. Since this hackathon is virtual, you need internet access and an email address.

  • Registration & Participation

    Can I register alone? How do I then find a suitable team?

    Yes, you can subscribe for the Hackathon as a single person and you will be assigned to a team, based on your language preferences, type of person and interests. You are then invited to join a team bonding session on Friday morning to get to know your peers. In case you are not happy with the team assignment, we will support you in changing your team.

    Are there any costs for me?

    The participation in the Online Hackathon is free of charge.

    Do I need to be able to program to participate?

    No, anyone with zestfulness, time and internet access can participate!

    Do I have to speak English to participate?

    The moderation and input sessions will be held in English. So you need to understand English, or have someone at your side who can help you with the English. If there is another common language in your team, the teams can also work in another national language. However, we cannot guarantee that the experts and mentors will be able to support you in the chosen language.
    However, you can enter the solution in any of the national languages - it does not have to be English.

    Can I register as a team?

    Yeah, that works. Make sure you know the email addresses of all your team members before you sign up. In the second last step of the registration form you have the possibility to enter the email addresses of your team members. This will then be taken into account when putting together the team.
    Please note that each team member must register individually.

    Why do you need my location?

    We are aiming at having people from all linguistic and geographic Swiss regions participating, therefore we would like to have some statistical data on the participants’ location. Only anonymised data will be further used.

    Why do you need my telephone number?

    We would like to be able to send you an SMS in case there are some technical issues. Other than in the worst case, the phone number will not be used. This data is safe; we will not provide the information to externals.

    I did not receive a welcome e-mail!

    We are sending welcome e-mails once per day. In case you didn’t get one 24 hrs after subscription, please fill out the contact form.

    What happens during funatversusvirus? Do I have to be there?

    funatversusvirus is all about having fun together - participation is voluntary. With this part of the program we want to bring a little bit of coolness into the program, and at the same time give Swiss artists the opportunity to play an online concert or DJ set that reaches many people in their living rooms. funatversusvirus is open to everyone, even to people not directly participating in the Hackathon.

    Is it a competition? If so, what is there to win?

    We welcome all initiatives and projects. All ideas are of equal value. We will choose 3 highlights per category, which will be determined by our mentors/ jury.
    We reserve the right to support these 3 projects also with a small financial contribution. Equally valuable will be the support after the hack: Mentors, investors, contacts etc.

    What happens with the results afterwards?

    The aim is that the results will be practically used after the Hackathon to support Switzerland’s population and institutions. To make sure that your prototypes become viable solutions after the hackathon, we are currently setting up a post-event program.

    What happens with the data of my solution once submitted?

    As we are all trying to solve global and local problems through collective intelligence, we expect you to provide open-source information, so, in case you don’t want to continue with your idea, someone else can.

  • Support / Mentoring

    Will participants get support during the hackathon?

    Throughout the Hackathon you and your team will have our mentors at your side. They are experts in a specific topic and will support you with their feedback and knowledge during the 48 hours in several check-ins.

    What do I have to do as a Challenge/Team Mentor?

    Yes, during the hackathon the teams can ask questions directly to mentors in the Slack Channel. Teams will also be assigned one or more mentors. If necessary, additional mentors/support can be requested via the online form.

    What is a How-To Session?

    A How-to session is a short input from experts/volunteers on various topics. For example how to create a short video or how to fill out a canvas.

    What is a Fish Bowl Session?

    Fish Bowl is an expert panel that chooses one or more of the 14 challenges and discusses them in the round to provide input to the participants. In addition, Q&A topics can be taken up that appear during the hack on the mentoring channel.

    How much time is required as a mentor?

    During the hack (48h) approx. 2h per day. This is an assumption and depends strongly on the number of mentors and projects. There is also the possibility for some mentors to accompany the projects in the implementation phase after the hackathon. The effort will be about 2 hours per week, but will be agreed upon afterwards.

    Will my time investment be compensated?

    We want to support all projects in the best possible way. Financially, we focus our resources primarily on investing in implementation. Unfortunately this does not include a budget for mentors at the moment (at least during the hackathon). Mentors after the hack may be compensated financially if there are enough funds available, e.g. from partners or investors. In general, the project and the positive contribution should motivate, not the financial compensation.

  • Challenges

    Can I submit a challenge and participate in the Hackathon?

    Of course, you can do both: hand in a challenge and sign up as a participant. Please notice that there are two separate forms. If you participate in the Hackathon, you can work on the submitted challenge, but you do not have to.

    Will all challenges be presented at the Hackathon?

    No, we have a public list of all submitted challenges, but not all of them will be proposed to the teams for the Hackathon. A curation process will review the quality of submissions (completeness, non-repetition, relevance to main theme) and select the most pressing, urgent and relevant of each category.

    When do I get informed, if my challenge will be part of the Hackathon?

    If you have submitted a challenge you will get informed whether your challenge will be part of the Hackathon or not as soon as possible, earliest by Thursday evening. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to inform you if a team has started working on your challenge.

    Will the Hackathon team be able to reach out to the person who submitted the challenge they are working on?

    Yes, the Hackathon team will receive the email address of the person who submitted the challenge. But they can decide if they want to reach out or not.

  • Resources

    How do the Hackathon teams know about existing results (in Switzerland and from other Hackathons) - in order not to reinvent the wheel and build upon existing results?

    Please consult our list of links to other Hackathons and existing projects: