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Virtual challenge launched to help tackle impacts of COVID-19

Published: 20/05/2020

Creative young people in the Highlands and Islands are being invited to take part in the 48-hour virtual ‘North Atlantic Corona Challenge’ next week.

Kateryna Mckinnon HIE's European Development Manager

Registration for the event opens today (Wednesday 20 May) and will take place online over the weekend of 29-31 May. They will join a team of competitors from the north Atlantic region to design, test and bring alive innovative ideas for life during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Young people aged 18-30 in the region with backgrounds such as coding, data design, healthcare or engineering are encouraged to sign-up.

The aim is to come up with ideas and solutions that address the most pressing challenges caused by the current crisis such as combating loneliness and making COVID-19 screening easier for remote communities. The challenge will focus on three specific areas: to help save lives, communities and businesses. Prizes will be awarded to the three best solutions across all themes.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has been working with Nordic Atlantic Co-operation (NORA) to extend the initiative to Scotland. NORA brings together Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands and Coastal Norway supporting transnational cooperation across these regions in the North Atlantic.

Cash prizes of up to around £3,000 will be awarded to successful teams. HIE is also offering an additional prize of one-to-one development support to the winning team with a Highlands and Islands’ participant.

Kateryna McKinnon, European Manager at HIE, said:

“Since the outbreak of the pandemic, many similar virtual challenges have taken place throughout Europe and have delivered very exciting innovations. This one is tailored at the rural north Atlantic area specifically, addressing our region’s preconditions. This is a great opportunity to generate good ideas and prototype solutions which could be developed into commercial products, but also crucially help ‘save lives’. We look forward to our bright young minds in the region to connect online and use their expertise to help turn ideas into something that can make a difference to the problems linked with the current pandemic.”

Øystein Andresen, Advisor from NORA, said: “The North Atlantic Corona Challenge is a good way for NORA to bring forth the best of our youth. The sparsely populated areas in the north Atlantic are not exempt from the crisis, even though the number of infected have been relatively low. We want to inspire the young generation to work together to combat the pandemic.”

Registration opens on Wednesday 20 May and will close on 28 May.
Those interested will register individually, after which teams (where possible, transnational) will be formed by the organisers.
To sign-up and for more information, visit

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