Azuri Technologies' team wins Innovation & Development Hackathon


Amid stiff competition, the Azuri Technologies team took the overall prize for the most innovative, feasible and impactful new idea at the Innovation & Development Hackathon Finale, held last Saturday (23 March), at the Pitt Building, University of Cambridge. This was the second Innovation & Development Hackathon to take place as part of the Cambridge Science Festival, run by the Humanitarian Centre and Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club (CUTEC).

The Azuri Technologies team was one of six teams that competed in this year’s Hackathon. The Hackathon brings ‘innovation’ and ‘development’ together—looking for new ways to appropriately, sustainably address problems of poverty and inequality. Teams are comprised of students and professionals from diverse backgrounds, who take on real challenges posed by mentors from charities, companies, start-ups, and social enterprises working to alleviate poverty.

The six organisations that posed challenges in this year’s Hackathon were Azuri Technologies, Afrinspire, iDE UK, Mott MacDonald, and two student start-ups: HubCiti and Nunuza.

The winning presentation, “From the Zeer Pot to the aZuri-Pot”, creatively married Azuri’s unique solar technology with technology local to sub-Saharan Africa.

The zeer pot is a popular ‘pot-in-pot refrigerator’ that uses evaporation to keep food cool. The zeer pot works best in dry, breezy climates and has limited use indoors, or in humid, still regions. For this reason, there are many places where zeer pots are not a good option for refrigeration.

By adding a base stand and a small fan to improve air circulation, the Azuri Technologies team expanded the range of places where the zeer pot can be used as a viable refrigerator —for example, indoor spaces and humid climates. What’s more, because the 5V fan is powered by Azuri’s solar technology, it is an affordable solution for areas without regular access to electricity.

The team thinks that the aZuri pot could improve food security in regions like South Sudan. They also see potential for positive knock-on effects, like increased income for farmers whose products stay fresher longer, and better health outcomes from decreased food spoilage and increased access to fruits and veggies.

Jack Barrie, Azuri Technologies team member and founder of, had this to say about participating in the Hackthon:

“Taking part in the Hackathon was an engaging and inspiring challenge! Our multi-disciplinary team—an engineer, geologist, manufacturing designer, political scientist and technology innovator—allowed us to pull together knowledge from a wide range of fields and apply it to a specific problem: how we could improve food security in sub-Saharan Africa using 5 volts and 1 Amp?

We were very happy to win the Hackathon with our design of an off-grid fridge, and we are looking forward to developing a prototype. I urge anyone with an interest in solving real world development challenges to take part next year!”

Other members of the Azuri Technologies team included Eleanor Murtagh, Tiia Hurri, Beth Keith & Samantha Riddler. They were mentored by Simon Bransfield-Garth (CEO),Nigel Preston (VP Product Management) and Wanda Halbert (Marketing Manger).

This was the second Innovation & Development Hackathon to take place as part of the Cambridge Science Festival, run by the Humanitarian Centre and Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club (CUTEC). Last year’s Hackathon focused on global health challenges, as part of the Humanitarian Centre’s “Global Health Year”.

The winning team from last year’s Hackathon went on to take the overall prize at the Idea Transform Start-Up Boot Camp with their innovation, SIM Prints. SIM Prints is a “mobile phone-based biometrics project which allows healthcare workers to collect and check patient information in the developing world”. The idea came out of a challenge posed by Medic Mobile.

SIM Prints team member, Mariya Chhatriwala, spoke at this year’s finale event, describing the successes SIM Prints has had since Idea Transform, and talking about SIM Prints’ current plans to build a prototype for field tests.

Leading up to the launch of the Humanitarian Centre’s “Food Security Year” on Tuesday May 28th, all of this year’s Hackathon challenges focused on enabling people in developing countries to have sustainable access to nutritious foods.

Over 30 students and professionals came together over the course of the week-long event to work collaboratively on their challenges, and the results were outstanding.  

Although there could only be one winning team, more than one organisation has plans to move forward with the ideas their teams generated.

Steve Jones, Chair of Trustees of the Humanitarian Centre, congratulated all the teams on their exceptional work. He was on the expert judging panel that gave feedback to the presenters, alongside:

  • Shima Barakat, Research and Teaching Fellow, Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, Judge Business School; Entrepreneur
  • Nicola Buckley, Head of Public Engagement, University of Cambridge
  • Ben Jones, Senior Lecturer in Development Studies, University of East Anglia
  • Ian Tod, Independent International Development Consultant
  • Charlotte Sankey, Director of Creative Warehouse; Trustee, the Humanitarian Centre

This year, the judges’ votes were combined with over 70 audience votes to pick the final winners.

ARM sponsored the Innovation & Development Hackathon, as part of their on-going support for the Humanitarian Centre’s themed years: looking at how invention and innovation—particularly in technology—can tackle complex global challenges, like poverty and food security.

More information about the Innovation & Development Hackathon Finale and Prize Reception at:

All of this year’s Innovation & Development Hackathon challenges are online at:



For more information about the Innovation & Development Hackathon, contact:

Anne Radl, Projects Manager, The Humanitarian Centre

T: +44 (0) 1223 760 885; E:


To read more information, click here.

The Centre for Global Equality's aim is to identify and solve problems that tackle the root causes of poverty and inequality and to alleviate their enduring symptoms.

The Centre for Global Equality