Catalyst Hack

An all female and non-binary hackathon to inspire the next generation of girls in STEM
6-7 April 2019 | Microsoft Reactor London

Thank you to all our inspiring participants who made this hack a success.

Proud to be working with

  R2 Data Labs   Datacamp   Goldman Sachs

What is Catalyst Hack?

Catalyst Hack is an all female and non-binary hackathon for anyone aged 18-24. It is a unique community initiative organised by Rolls-Royce engineers to encourage young minds to focus their creativity and ingenuity to use tech to help solve a social issue - the STEM gender gap.

The challenge is to design a concept for a gaming app that will inspire the next generation of girls in STEM. Over the weekend, participants will work in teams to showcase and develop their novel game ideas. But most importantly, you don't need to be experienced or a coder to participate. We will have mentors and workshops throughout the day to support you in making your ideas a reality. Further details about the challenge will be released closer to the event.

Our mission this year is to accelerate change in closing the STEM gender gap. This is the first ever Catalyst Hack but our aim is to make this an annual event with a new challenge every year.

Let's change the game for girls in STEM

Every team needs…

The artist

A graphics designer with an eye for aesthetics to make your game a pleasure to play

The Game Designer

Someone who has the intuition and knowledge to tap into player psychology and make innovative games that are fun and inspiring

The techie

An aspiring tech whiz who can code your ideas into realities

The strategist

Someone with business sense, planning skills and a knack for marketing to make your game go viral

female engineers in the UK (the lowest in Europe)
years (at least) to close the gap in computer science & physics
increase in UK's labour value by increasing women in STEM

The STEM gender gap

Girls and young women have long been missing in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The stark disparity has sparked many prominent debates about why this is the case – but one thing is for certain – only a fraction of girls pursue STEM studies and even fewer continue to pursue careers in these fields. Engineering & technology will experience the highest growth in the coming decades. – failing to include half the population will stifle innovation in helping us solve the challenges that society faces.

Tech prizes
and an opportunity for the best game idea to be developed with the support of Rolls-Royce & Bossa Studios
workshops & mentoring to develop your tech, business and design skills



8:30 AM   Doors Open

9:30 AM   Opening Ceremony

10:15 AM   Let the hacking begin! (Team Builder)

11:30 AM   Game Design - Bossa Studios Mentor Check-in

12:30 PM   Lunch

13:30 PM   Mentor check-in - have your idea/concept ready!

14:30 PM   Artwork Concepting Talk

15:00 PM   Unity Augmented Reality Demo

16:00 PM   P5.js Tutorial

17:30 PM   Women in STEM careers panel

18:45 PM   Dinner

21:30 PM   Paper aeroplane challenge

23:59 PM   Doors close - get some shut eye 🙂


8:00 AM   Doors re-open

8:30 AM   Breakfast

12:30 PM   Lunch

13:30 PM   Hacking ends - get ready for the Expo

14:00 PM   Juding expo beings

16:30 PM   Closing Ceremony

18:00 PM   Time to go home


How much will Catalyst Hack cost me?

There are no fees to register or participate in Catalyst Hack. All food, swag and prizes are completely free. For participants travelling from outside of London, you can get a reimbursement of up to £50 for travel and accommodation for England/Wales, £75 for Scotland/Northern Ireland.

Who can attend?

Anyone aged 18-24 years old and identifies as female/non-binary may attend. Rolls-Royce employees such as interns who are employed on contracts of one-year or less are welcome to apply; however, Rolls-Royce employees on full-time contracts including apprentices and graduates are not eligible to attend the event.

We expect every attendee, from participants, mentors, organisers to judges to be respectful. Harassment and abuse are never tolerated. If you are in a situation that makes you uncomfortable during the event, please let the organisers know.

Catalyst Hack is all about inclusivity. Everyone has the right to hack in a safe and welcoming environment.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behaviour are expected to comply immediately. Sponsors, judges, mentors, volunteers, organisers and anyone else at the event are also subject to this anti-harassment policy. Please see our Code of Conduct here.

What should I bring?

You should bring a valid ID, laptop, chargers, and other devices you may want to use.

Wear something comfortable to sit in on Saturday since you'll be hacking away (maybe not pyjamas though, there may be potential recruiters about).

Dress smart casual on Sunday for your pitches to the judges.

Do I need to have a team beforehand?

Nope! You can form teams during the hackathon. Each team can have 4 to 5 individuals.

If you are joining as a team, please make sure to include your team members' names in your applications. This will make it easier for us to organise everyone on the day.

Do I need to be good at coding?

Not at all! You don't even know how to code to participate.

We're looking for creative teams with innovative ideas, a solid plan and a drive to learn.

Throughout the hackathon, there will be workshops and mentors to help you, and you can also learn from other participants.

How can I get involved as a mentor, judge, panellist or sponsor?

Please email us at catalyst.hack@rolls-royce.com, we would love to have you!

Have you ever wanted to get a taste of entrepreneurship, app development, or game design?
Be the change you want to see. Sign-ups close 10 March 2019.

“Women need to shift from thinking “I’m not ready to do that” to thinking “I want to do that- and I’ll learn by doing it.”

Sheryl Sandberg ─ COO, Facebook

“If we do not share our stories and shine a light on inequities, things will not change.”

Ellen Pao ─ FOUNDER, Project Include

Women in STEM panel

Roberta Lucca

Roberta Lucca

Serial Entrepreneur | Founder

Roberta is a co-founder of BAFTA-winning Bossa Studios (multi-million $ revenue games Scaleup) and BOLDR (part game, part AI virtual coach in exploration mode). In the past 15 years, she has built and launched over 20 games and mobile products. She has been featured in the Forbes Top 50 Women in Tech, Inspiring Fifty UK, Top 30 Women in games and Top 35 Women under 25 by Management Today. Check her out @ https://betalucca.com/


Maria Vrabie

Software Engineer at Microsoft

Maria is an engineer working in the FastTrack for Azure team within the Engineering organization at Microsoft. She is currently helping various businesses implement Azure solutions focusing on Intelligent agents, Bots and Cognitive Services, as well as automation. Hackathons enthusiast and inclusion advocate, she has been organising different hackathons and STEM events since her time in university. Maria joined Microsoft in 2016 as a graduate after pursuing a STEM degree in the UK. .

Farah Lufti

Farah Lutfi

Independent Games Developer

A young, creative and energetic individual, Farah earned a BA in Games Cultures, a cutting-edge MA in Games Development and then founded her own micro-indie games company, Spacebar.games. She was lead artist on an e-learning game made for schools by UNICEF Barbados, crowned 'Queen of Code' by Creative England & Crowdfunder.co.uk. and has recently launched 'Nirvana,' a mobile app game based on the teachings of Buddhism, used to promote up & coming musical talent across the world. Check her out @ www.farahlutfi.net/

Jennifer Hawkin

Jennifer Hawkin

Aerospace Engineer at Rolls-Royce

Jenny is a down-to-earth mechanical engineer, currently working on the next generation of aircraft engines at Rolls-Royce. Her previous role at Rolls-Royce was Technical Assistant to the Chief Technology Officer where she gained insight into the mechanics of running a global industrial technology company. During her career, Jenny has also helped to develop an understanding of the opportunities from autonomous shipping and identified strategic opportunities for Internet of Things technologies. In 2016-17, she took a career break to work with Engineers Without Borders UK, where she helped develop and install small-scale renewable power generation for remote communities in Malaysian Borneo.

Our sponsors & partners

This event would not have been possible without the contributions and volunteers from the following organisations:

Our Headline partners
Bossa Studios   R2 Data Labs

Our sponsors
Datacamp   Rolls-Royce   Nanoleaf

Goldman Sachs

Our partners
Underland Reach Robotics

Community Partners
The Dictionary Hostel Prism CodeFirst: Girls Stemettes


Microsoft Reactor London
70 Wilson St
London, UK

Need a place to stay?

  • The Dictionary Hostel: the closest hostel to the venue
  • Point A Hotel – Shoreditch: a good value hotel, less than 5 minutes from the venue
  • Clink78 Hostel: Right outside of King’s Cross Station
  • Other? Once you’ve been confirmed, join this year’s Facebook group for Catalyst Hackers and you might find someone to pair with for accomodation 🙂  https://www.facebook.com/groups/2379249418970602/