Case Studies

Scots hackathon

by Mark Rowe

Young software developers from Glasgow took a £20,000 prize as part of a Future City | Glasgow contest. The computer science students won the prize after a 48-hour hackathon where teams competed to devise new technology for public sSafety.

Eleven teams attended the event which ran from 6pm on Friday, February 21, to 9pm the following Sunday. The judges were impressed by all the entries but particularly by the MSGlasgow team which created a messaging system for non urgent contact with the emergency services. It uses social media to send short text messages, photos and the caller’s exact location to the police, fire or health providers. The services will also be able to respond to messages and use the platform to send targeted public announcements to a certain demographic or people living/working in certain areas. Ten of the 11 member winning team were students at the University of Glasgow.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Future City | Glasgow, said: “Glasgow is proud to be a city of innovation with a great pool of creative talent. The Future City | Glasgow hackathons are encouraging and supporting young people with the knowledge and skills to develop exciting new technologies and hopefully go on to start new businesses. I was impressed by the drive and commitment shown by all the competitors – especially as they worked non-stop for 48 hrs to hone their concepts and prepare their pitches for the judges. The MSGlasgow team in particular demonstrated great potential and I congratulate them on their win.”

Josh McGhee, 20, MSGlasgow team leader, is in his penultimate year of a computer science course at the university. He said: “I think everyone was shocked when our team was named as winners. We couldn’t believe we’d won. The hackathon was very intensive. We worked incredibly hard all weekend but we now have a prototype. This win is a massive thing for us. It will really open doors. We’re already in discussions with the emergency services about taking the concept forward.”

The Public Safety hackathon was the first of four – future themes will include energy, health and transport. Register at

Judges at the first hackathon were:-

Fiona Godsman of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise;

Graeme Arnott of the Open Knowledge Foundation;

John Sherry of Glasgow City Council;

Martin Leven of Police Scotland;

Inga Paterson of Glasgow School of Art.

The members of the winning team were:- Josh McGhee; Maksim Solovjov; Stefan Boca; Daniel Tsvetkov, Maxine Emuobosa; Edvin Malinovskis; George Popa, Keir Smith; Robert Szkokan, Marin Georgiev and Reinis Elksnis.

View a film of the hackathon on YouTube at

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