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M-SParc and Hacks

M-SParc supports hacks to develop innovation and create businesses in the region. Often the Hacks are in partnership with others including the Welsh Government, Bevan Commission, Bangor University, The Enterprise Hub, and more. Below you’ll find information on all our past Hack work.

Welsh Health Hack, January 2020 @ M-SParc

This was the first Hack for M-SParc to be involved in, with this being the 7th annual Welsh Health Hack.  Working closely with the Bevan Commission and BCUHB in particular, as well as other partners pan-Wales, M-SParc hosted the event and made excellent connections in the Life Science sector. This Hack secured 6 winning teams and saw collaboration happening live over two days! £100,000 was awarded to the winning teams.

Welsh Health Hack, 20th May 2020 (Covid Hack)

The UK’s first online Health Hack was held on the 20th of May, as a response to the COVID 19 pandemic.  From an idea to the first event in just 6 weeks, it was certainly the most challenging Hack to attend, but was also one of the most impactful.  In a time of uncertainty, we saw people come together like never before.

There were six winning teams, over 100 attendees, and £13,000 awarded to innovative solutions that can help fight COVID 19 related issues in the NHS.  M-SParc supported winning team Dr Simon Burnell and his ‘Maskcomms’ idea, which unfortunately is still ongoing due to supply of the parts.  Other winners included Help to Move, a service to provide physical and emotional care for the vulnerable through an online platform, surgical masks which would allow those with hearing impairments to lip read, a video solution for paediatric physiotherapy to continue safely and remotely, pulmonary rehabilitation remote solutions, and an e-learning platform to provide resilience and mental health solutions for NHS staff. The surgical masks were very successful and moved on to commercial usage in at least two organisations.

Welsh Health Hack, September 2020

Again held online, we had a record number of teams pitching for a £200,000 pot of Welsh Government funding with 22 teams having come together to propose an inspiring range of solutions to tackle a variety of challenges our health and social care professionals face every day.

  • Winners:
    Sam Rice – The provision of psychological support for healthcare professionals to maintain resilience during difficult times.
  • Keir Lewis – An app to track the long-term effects of Covid-19 on patients.
  • Carsten Eickmann – An automated process to track urine output, easing the pressure on medical staff to take regular samples.
  • Mouli Doddi – Using technology to help with a backlog of patients caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • John Wells – How to develop a digital workflow for the treatment of facial skin cancer.

Again, M-SParc saw the coming together of health boards and organisations across Wales to further innovation, support life sciences, and create companies.

Rural Crime Hack, 16th October 2020

The Rural Crime Hack was the first non-Health related Hack arranged by M-SParc, which took place online, and saw innovators and idea developers come together with North Wales Police in order to help tackle and prevent common rural crimes.

Rural crime costs the economy over £57 Million a year in the UK alone!
Three problems which occur regularly were identified.

  • Quad Bike Theft
  • Breaking into Outbuildings
  • Theft of outboard motors

The event took place on Friday the 16th of October, with 9 solutions pitched for a cash prize of up to £3,250 thanks to funding from M-SParc, North Wales Police, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, North Wales Police and Community Trust, FUW a NFU.   This Hack also showed the budget doesn’t need to be large to inspire people and bring them together for a hack.

The winners were:

  • Baglu Rhywun – Dan Bates and Lee Hughes

The security device uses a magnetizes case, and notifies owners in real time via vibration sensors if the device is being moved. 

  • Curiad – Wyn Griffiths and Rob Shepherd

The device makes use of the LoraWAN transmitter and the growing number of ‘gateways’ in the region, transmitting a ‘heartbeat’ which notifies theft in real time, provides an incident time stamp, and pinpoints speed and direction of travel. 

  • Gary Smith; RFID tag tracking, starting from a 10m sensing range, that effectively works like a shop door alarm – once a quad bike, outboard motor, or other device passes through the sensors, the farmer is notified.

M-SParc and the Enterprise Hub stepped in to support all three winners.

Agri Hack 1st March 2021

The Agri Hack saw 12 teams pitching for £100,000 of Welsh Government funding, with AI based solutions for real world problems.  The winners included:
Irish Company Micron Agri, who are now tenants of M-SParc, developing parasite detection in animal faeces.
Dewin Dwr, developing a commercial solution for monitoring and managing water in the natural ecosystem.
Dewin Moo, a system for analysing when cows are about to calve.
The three winning companies saw 3 jobs being created!

Welsh Health Hack, March 2022

The theme of the 2022 Hack was assisting NHS Wales’ Covid-19 Reset and Recovery. £200,000 was available and shared with winning pitchers.  Many of the winners were again part of the M-SParc eco system, and working in collaboration across Wales M-SParc was able to offer support and advise to take the winning ideas forward.

Welsh Social Care Hack, May 2022

The first Welsh Social Care Hack, taking place online.  The intention was to support the Care sector within Wales, with £100,000 available.  20 teams pitched for the funding with 5 receiving funding to take the idea forward, and support offered to all to help commercialise on their work

Hac y Gymraeg 1st July 2022

The aim of the Hack was to help more Welsh speakers use Welsh in their daily lives.  This event was in collaboration with the Welsh Government. The winners were Darllen.co – with an interactive online platform for supporting pupils and their parents with readings, and Mwydro – Developing Welsh place-name gifs with engaging and interactive workshops with young people.

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Tom Burke

Digital Innovation Manager


Tom used to work at the KFC in his hometown of Colwyn Bay before it mysteriously burned down. He then spent several years “on the lam” in East Germany, where he worked as an animator in Berlin. When the wall fell, Tom came home.

He enjoys climbing and hates ice-skating.