Circular Economy Resource Hack 2021



The Challenge

"How might we transform the way we communicate issues of climate change to diverse audiences in order to create positive action towards the regeneration of systems on individual, local and global scales?"


The Sixth Assessment Report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in August of 2021, has reiterated the pace and extent of climate change and it’s unequivocal connection to the actions of humans. To address this in time to reverse some of the damage that humans have caused, the need to inspire positive steps towards climate action intensifies. As the need for collective action has never been greater, clear communication regarding the actions that individuals, communities, institutions, and populations can make is necessary to create change.

Communicating climate science and paths for positive action faces unique challenges, including the ubiquity of fake news, and climate news fatigue.[1] Researchers from Monash University and the University of Melbourne responded to the report by highlighting how important it is not to despair, but to find new ways to ‘offer tangible action, use clear language that avoids despair, connect locally, and tell a story.’[2] 

The UNSW Circular Economy Hackathon: Positive Communication for Climate Change asks participants to reimagine the existing approaches and channels for communicating climate change and in doing so bring new life and hope to the delivery of the climate action narrative. Proposed solutions should be underpinned by circular economy principles and should also consider opportunities to reduce wasteactivate space, and promote positive social and economic change


What you can expect

Frequently Asked Questions



First up, it’s nothing scary or illegal! They aren’t all about computers. A hack is an event, usually occurring over a few days, that encourages people to collaborate in an intensive way to help solve a problem. 

What makes a hack so rewarding is the intensity of the experience- you’ll form fast friends and come up with solutions quickly. The magic happens when people from all different backgrounds come together to spark ideas in one another, work on those ideas together, and come up with something truly unique that can make serious impact in our world.  


Any and all UNSW staff, students and alumni are welcome to join! As well as teams led by UNSW staff, students and alumni. Regardless of what your faculty or major is, or whether you’re an undergraduate or postgraduate student. If you are from outside UNSW please check your university specific regulation regarding attendance.


We’d love to see students from all faculties participating! Whether you’re a student from the Business School, Arts and Social Sciences, Medicine, Law or Engineering (or anything else we’ve missed!) your skills and perspectives will be vital and put to good use. There is no prerequisite knowledge needed- we’ll teach you the techniques and methods to produce a business model. 

No programming experience is required! 


Teams will need to have 4-6 members representing a minimum of 3 different degrees. There are 3 ways to create a great team: 

  • Come to our workshops prior hackathon: Digital Lean Canvas Workshop and Treasure Hunt. There you will have the opportunity to get to know people with your same interests and work together in fun tasks! You can ask directly to some people if they want to be in the team with you. 
  • Join the slack group and fill up your bio: add your photo, skills, degree, interest and superpower. Join the “FinfYourTeam” channel and start socialising and finding your hack mates! Once you find some mates make your own channel and invite those potential team members for a chat. 
  • You can join the hackathon as a team, you talk to your friends and fill up the form as a team. We encourage you to do steps 1 and 2 so you can get to know the hack crew and gain some new skills and friend. 

By Friday night, you will probably have a wonderful team! Those who have no team will be pair randomly, so you’ll be able to participate and have fun!  


Your team will work on an amazing idea to create Positive Communication for Climate Change. You will have four (4) Checkpoints from Friday to Sunday for us to check your progress. During those 2.5 days we will have wonderful mentors to help you and on Sunday afternoon you will pitch your super innovative idea.  

We will also have the selfie section, so be prepared to show us whatever is motivating you during your time with us! 

Hack Schedule




5:30pm Opening

9:00am Welcome

9:00am Welcome

5:45pm Keynote Speakers

9:15am Ideation Workshop

9:15am Lean Canvas Workshop

6:15pm Keynote Speaker Q&A

12:00pm Mentor Session

10:00am Pitching Workshop

6:25pm Hack Info

2:00pm Prototyping Workshop

12:00pm Mentors

6:40pm Networking

3:30pm Mentor Session

4:00pm Final Pitches

7:00pm Team Formation 

8:15pm End of Day 2

5:30pm Winner Announced

8:15pm End of Day 1


6:00pm End of Hackathon


At the end of this hack, you will have learnt skills to approach problems with a creative mindset, know some fundamentals about creating a startup business and have collaborated with your peers on some shared interests; building your network. 

Success is a new and disruptive idea that can be monetised and scaled to create a better future for all, but also planting the seed for other businesses and ideas that could change the world. Over the weekend we’re looking for innovative and fun ideas that shine as a unique experience for your target audience. 

Absolutely. Participating students agree to abide by their respective university’s Code of Conduct. Regarding information related to ownership and IP, please refer to your relevant Hack Code of Conduct webpage below. 

UNSW Hack Rules             

UNSW Code of Conduct


We know that you have other obligations and full weekend is a big commitment, however at least half of your team needs to be present, every person needs to sign in once each day (to show you have attended for a portion of each day of the weekend) and your whole team needs to be in attendance at the final pitch! We will have an open zoom room for you and your team during the hack.  

All IP is own by the participants. Please be aware that just having an idea doesn’t count as an IP. Please refer to the MCIC Hack Code of Conduct.


INNOVATION (the idea) Need: Does the project identify a compelling need and present a clear solution to a local or global challenge?
  Originality: How bold or fresh is the idea driving this project?
IMPACT (the idea’s potential) Growth: Is the potential for the concept to grow or scale explained?
  Sustainability: Does the project demonstrate the ability to sustain itself in the long term?
  Growth & Sustainability: Is the potential for the concept to grow, scale and sustain explained?
  Metrics: Are the metrics for measuring impact and success explained?
  Business Model: Does your idea fit the circular economy model?
IMPLEMENTATION (how the idea will happen) Budget: Does the applicant/team provide a coherent, detailed budget?
  Timeline: How feasible is the timeline for implementation and is it well thought out?
  Risks: Does the applicant/ team address risks and challenges and how they will overcome them?
  Feasibility: How feasible is the implementation and is it well thought out?
PRESENTATION Presentation: Is the overall aesthetic and appearance of the executive summary and slides clear, consistent and effective?
STRUCTURE OF PITCH Structure: Is the team’s pitch organized, clear and concise? Does the team allocate time for questions?
DELIVERY OF PITCH Delivery: Does the team effectively use professionalism, confidence, posture, eye contact and tone to communicate their idea? You will have full 3 minutes pitching time!!! 

The winning team will go to the COP26 to represent UNSW! That’s an amazing opportunity! 🤩 

The participants will have access to coaching session. All teams will have the opportunity to meet with a one-on-one mentor to continue working on their startup idea or even create a new one now that you have gain new skills 😊  We offer a great range of options for you to keep on learning and develop your ideas at MCIC and the best of all IT IS FREE! Check all our programs here.