HudsonAlpha, Urban Engine to host virtual hackathon April 16-25

Registration is now open for the 2021 HudsonAlpha Tech Challenge

February 8, 2021 (Huntsville, Ala.) – The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and Urban Engine are gearing up to host the fourth annual HudsonAlpha Tech Challenge (HATCH) April 16-25, 2021.

HATCH is a unique life sciences hackathon that brings together college and high school students, and professionals across the state. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the hackathon will take place virtually this year.

The HudsonAlpha Tech Challenge brings together some of the most innovative minds in the state, so it was important for us to continue offering the event this year, even in a virtual format,” said Carter Wells, vice president for economic development at HudsonAlpha. “More than 850,000 STEM-related jobs will be needed in Alabama by 2026 and HATCH is a great way to give students and others currently in the workforce a deeper dive into the exciting and challenging areas of genetics, genomics, computer science, informatics and much more.”

HudsonAlpha is collaborating with Urban Engine, a Huntsville-based nonprofit that specializes in innovation programs including hackathons and business accelerators. This is the fourth year the two nonprofits have teamed up for the hackathon.

“The HudsonAlpha Tech Challenge has become a fundamental part of Huntsville’s tech ecosystem and has grown to facilitate a direct connection for students and professional talent to pursue promising career opportunities in Alabama’s growing biotech industry,” said Urban Engine board member Toni Eberhart. “We are proud to partner with HudsonAlpha to offer the program in its new virtual format and look forward to seeing what teams achieve this year.”

The 2020 hackathon brought nearly 70 students and professionals from across the state to the Paul Propst Center on the HudsonAlpha campus. A total of 14 teams competed from a range of schools and companies including the University Of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), Avilution LLC, JCIB ForensX, Alabama A&M University, Jefferson County International, Colsa Corporation, Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School and Covenant Christian Academy.

Click here to watch highlights from HATCH 2020, which took place prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the 2021 hackathon, participants will compete to solve real-world issues faced by researchers in genomics, genetics and biotechnology, and compete for the chance to win more than $5,000 in cash and prizes. Winners will be divided into two categories, High School and College/Professionals.

Challenge participants must be 16 years of age or older. It is recommended that they have taken an advanced biology, genetics, or a biotech related course, or have professional experience in those fields to better grasp the challenge concepts. You do not have to be a part of a team to register.

To register and learn more about sponsorships, rules and challenges, visit

About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to developing and applying scientific advances to health, agriculture, learning, and commercialization. Opened in 2008, HudsonAlpha’s vision is to leverage the synergy between discovery, education, medicine, and economic development in genomic sciences to improve the human condition around the globe. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. The state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education and fosters more than 40 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit

About Urban Engine: Urban Engine propels the growth of Alabama’s economy by connecting aspiring entrepreneurs and established business leadership to educational resources, talent, and community. Urban Engine contributes heavily to Alabama’s innovation ecosystem by cultivating a dynamic workforce, professional development through creative autonomy, and the entrepreneurial gumption to launch and build thriving businesses. Founded in 2015 through its various programs and events, Urban Engine activates its mission by offering over 150 free innovation education events annually including CoWorking Night, 32/10 and OpenHuntsville that focus on high-growth technology startups, professional workforce development, and innovation competitions. Urban Engine is a registered, IRS Designated 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.