AQUAHACKING SUMMIT PROMOTES NEW SOLUTIONS FOR THREATS TO GREAT LAKES
WATERLOO, ON (Wednesday, September 13, 2017) – Leaders from government, First Nations, philanthropically minded businesses, and engaged youth activists were hosted by the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation and the Water Institute at the University of Waterloo at the 2017 AquaHacking Summit to address the many issues facing the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Basin – specifically Lake Erie.
AquaHacking is a collaborative movement that brings together representatives from federal and provincial government ministries, NGOs, communities, water experts, local incubators and technology firms including Founding Partner IBM Canada, and dozens of “AquaHackers” to foster the quality and responsible use of precious fresh water resources.
“Almost five years ago, our family began what has been an incredible journey to protect Canada’s waterways. At that time, we never could have imagined what AquaHacking would grow into,” said Philippe III de Gaspé Beaubien, President and CEO of the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation. “Now in its third iteration, the 2017 AquaHacking Summit will help connect water-engaged citizens from across Canada and beyond, and hopefully play a small part in fostering the protection of our precious fresh water resources. As a family, we are incredibly proud of, and grateful for, the passion and enthusiasm for this cause displayed by the AquaHacking Challenge Finalists, AquaHacking Youth Delegation, government ministries at both the federal and provincial levels, the Six Nations of the Grand River, and philanthropic businesses both local and national. We believe that the innovative tech solutions presented at this and past AquaHacking Challenges, as well as the exchanges this Summit has helped create, will play a vital role in future efforts to protect fresh water resources. We thank everyone who committed their time and effort to this cause.”
Hosted by The Water Brothers, Alex and Tyler Mifflin, the 3rd annual AquaHacking Summit, “United for Lake Erie,” included both keynote and panel discussions and the AquaHacking Challenge Finals – the culmination of a five-month “hackathon” challenge that saw five finalist teams pitch their innovative technology solutions to the issues facing Lake Erie, including Algae Blooms, Invasive Species, Microplastic Pollution, and Climate Change.
The winning hacking team, SIM Labs, selected by a panel of five experts in water conservation and technology fields, were awarded $25,000 in prize money, a spot at a well-known, local incubator, and 25 hours of consultation and mentorship from leaders in technology and entrepreneurship. SIM Labs’ solution involved the development of a fast and robust method of automatically identifying and counting different species of cyanobacteria and predicting HAB (Harmful Algae Blooms) behavioural trends. Collecting this data will help to better comprehend cyanobacteria behaviour in concerned environments, which will ultimately lead to HAB predictions before they occur.
The 2017 AquaHacking Summit was made possible through the generous support of philanthropic partners, including Founding Partner IBM Canada, GHD, Keurig Canada, Ovivo, Ontario Power Generation, and the Region of Waterloo.
For more information on the 2017 AquaHacking Summit and for quotes from guests and panelists, please visit our DropBox.
ABOUT THE de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation
Founded in 1990, the de Gaspé Beaubien Foundation is a family-run philanthropic organisation dedicated to water conservation and to supporting family businesses. The Foundation employs an approach known as entrepreneurial philanthropy in its aim to support individuals, families in business, and organisations in becoming responsible agents of positive and sustainable change within their communities.
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