Alongside my role as an Enterprise IT Architect, I also lead UK student recruitment and the European Accelerated Development Programme. These initiatives are focused on identifying, securing and developing top IT talent.

With an ever increasing focus on software (Software is Eating the World), our team decided to run our first UK University hackathon, with the prize being a one-year student placement as a software developer.

The Hackathon was branded “digital healthcare”, targeting key issues related to human and animal health. Participants could enter individually or as a team and had one week to develop an application. We provided two briefs (summary shown below), but participants could also create their own.

The Health Challenge: Lilly is committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs. We are passionate about our continued pursuit to make life better for individuals, communities, and the world around us.

The Hunger Challenge: Alongside human health, Lilly is focused on animal health, with a vision to enrich lives through food and companionship. As such, Lilly has committed to help end hunger and improve food security for 100,000 families and 100 communities by 2017.

The Hackathon was ran in partnership with, who provided access to and/or Heroku for development, as well as their excellent Trailhead learning resource.

I’m pleased to report the hackathon was a great success! The quality of the entries was excellent, with some amazing ideas and impressive software development skills demonstrated.

In July the winners started their year long student placement as software developers. In their opening two months they have already successfully developed and deployed four applications using technologies such as, Heroku, Node.js, ReactJS, Postgres and many more. These applications are already in use by over 500 people globally, enhancing productivity and improving quality. have been equally impressed with their journey from hackathon to software developers and plan to run a series of blog posts, staring with “Eli Lilly Discovers Next Generation Technology Trailblazers”.

Due to the success of the first hackathon, we’ve decided to make it a core part of our yearly recruitment process.

Student Hackathon

As a result, the 2016 hackathon is ready to launch in November. More details can be found at