Hacking Chemical Safety of Consumer Products!

The unprecedented speed at which science and technology are advancing has resulted on the development of numerous household chemicals that have slowly become indispensable to people. On the long term, the unsafe use, storage, and disposal of these chemicals may pose a threat to human and animal health.

In fact, places like China have seen a rising number of hospitalizations of thousands of children and elderly due to the lack of appropriate education on how to handle these substances. Hence, the importance to raise awareness among the general public of how to safely use, store, and dispose of chemicals. The main challenge for China is finding an effective and efficient way to educate and maintain updated such a large and diverse population.

On 9-10 June, 2018, the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF) and eight of its multinational member corporations (Ashland, BASF, Covestro, Exxon Mobil, Huntsman, Invista, Lanxess, and Solvay) came together to support teams from eight of China’s leading universities to for the “Together for a Sustainable Community” (TFSC) hackathon in Shanghai.

The Challenge: Design a Chemical Safety APP

Every team focused on different target markets and combined their online and offline research to analyze how their idea could have a positive impact on every household. The challenge focused on the safe storage and disposal of household chemicals, and the emergency treatment for accidents at home involving chemicals.


The Team:


Keynote Speeches

To kick off the hackathon, Zeng Jian, Vice Chairman, CPCIF gave a keynote speech where he highlighted the importance of chemical products in our daily life.

Then, Richard Brubaker, Founder of Collective Responsibility, and Jon Newton, China GM, at Life Solutions gave some valuable insights to the student teams. Finally, June Zhang, Sustainability Consultant at Collective Responsibility shared with the audience the story of how a hackathon idea from last year is now a reality that is changing the life of hundreds of parents and their left-behind-children.

The Learning Journey

Chemical Safety 2
Students lost track of time and hacked chemical safety for almost 24-hrs straight.
Chemical Safety 3
Students had internal and external mentors to help with mentorship and guidance.
Chemical Safety 4
Sometimes a little nap can boost your inspiration.
Judges had a chance to take a little sneak-peek of the students’ work before the big moment.
Energy and passion dominated the stage.

Judges and Mentors

We were honored to have nine distinguished judges:

Student teams had two mentors each, whom offered mentorship and guidance throughout the hackathon in areas like project and team structuring, project ideation, market insights, solution clarity, and pitch coaching.


Internal Mentors


External Mentors


The Results

After listening to amazing ideas the judges had to carefully decide who the winners would be based on: user journey map, quality and feasibility of idea, and presentation quality. To close the Hackathon, the chairman of CPCIF, Mr.Li made an inspiring speech about how important innovation is for the chemical industry.

First Place:  源创北洋from Tianjin University
Second Place:  THU CHEM. ENG. Team from Tsinghua University
Third Place:  GE Team from Zhejiang University

Congratulations to the winning teams! And a big thank you to all students and mentors for participating in this hackathon!

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