Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies (CHRHS)

Hack for Humanity | October 1-2, 2022

A man walks in front of a sandstorm in Dollow, southwest Somalia. Somalia is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change and weather is expected to become more extreme. (Photo by Sally Hayden / SOPA Images/Sipa USA) (Sipa via AP Images)

Organized by the Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies, Hack for Humanity is an annual humanitarian focused hackathon at Brown University that brings together students to learn about the most pressing needs in the human rights and humanitarian sphere and develop creative ideas for innovative programs or technologies that could help improve the lives of disaster and conflict affected communities around the world.

Hack for Humanity 2022 | Global Climate Change: Exploring Scalable Solutions to Climate Induced Disasters

This year's hackathon will focus on how to better prepare for and respond to the impacts of climate change on societies across the globe. Students will work together over the course of two days to develop creative ideas for innovative programs, systems, or technologies that could improve how we anticipate, prepare for, and/or respond to climate induced disasters. While your team has the flexibility to address any area that is applicable to the overarching topic of global climate change and the associated societal impacts, we have provided a list of potential subtopics that you could draw from to narrow your focus. It will also be important that your team recognize the below listed cross cutting issues as you work towards developing your project pitch.

Potential Sub-Topics to Consider

These listed sub-topics have been provided to help your team get started in identifying a focus area to address. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives an indication of the wide-ranging impact that climate change has on society. Your team is welcomed to focus your efforts on one of these themes or identify another area altogether that is applicable to the overarching topic of global climate change.

Disaster Preparedness

Early warning systems; Anticipatory funding mechanisms; Adaptation and resilience strategies

Human Security and Health

Food and water security; Infectious diseases; Mental health

Climate Displacement

Economic impacts on displaced and host communities; Access to housing and education

Greening Humanitarianism

Carbon footprint of the humanitarian system; Utilization of green energy technologies

Cross-Cutting Issues

As climate change alters global ecosystems, the transformative effects are felt worldwide across all sectors. While climate change affects our planet as a whole, its most negative impacts disproportionately affect vulnerable groups, including but not limited to racial and ethnic minorities, indigenous communities, women, children, and marginalized groups. As such, climate change is not only an environmental, political, and humanitarian issue - but also critical to human rights. 

We ask that your team take these following issues into consideration as you work on your project pitch to ensure your solutions are inclusive and reach those that are disproportionately affected by climate change.

Cross-Cutting Issues

Inclusivity of racial and ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, elderly, women and children, marginalized groups.



  • Advance registration is required to participate in this event
  • We are only accepting complete team registrations
  • Teams can be made up of between 3-6 students
  • Teams must be present for the duration of the hackathon
  • Please only complete one registration form per team
  • Registration closes on Thursday, September 29th

Registration Form


Should you have any questions about this hackathon please send a message to chrhs@brown.edu

Resource Guide

We have created a useful resource guide on humanitarian innovation to assist your teams through the entire hackathon process - from problem identification to thinking about project implementation. While these provided resource guide will be a good start and foundation to build from, we also encourage your team to conduct your own searches for resources that may be relevant to your specific projects.

Hack for Humanity 2022 Resource Guide

Program Schedule

Keynote Speaker - Kim Cobb

Kim Cobb is an award-winning climate scientist whose research focuses on building capacity for climate solutions. As the director of Brown University's Institute at Brown for Environment and Society (IBES), Cobb works to advance the institute’s commitment to studying the interactions between natural, human and social systems, and preparing future leaders to envision and build a just and sustainable world. In her research, Cobb seeks to advance understanding of future climate change impacts, with a focus on climate extremes and coastal flood hazards. For nearly two decades, her research has focused on unraveling the mystery of El Niño and La Niña events and how they have changed over time. By applying oxygen isotopes and radiometric dating techniques to the skeletons of living and ancient corals, Cobb and her colleagues have created a record of El Niño and La Niña events going back 7,000 years.

Cobb has received numerous awards for her research, most notably a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2007 and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2008. In 2019, she was named the Hans Oeschger Medalist by the European Geoscience Union. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was a lead author for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report published in 2021. Cobb earned her Ph.D. in oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2002 and a bachelor of arts degree from Yale University in 1996. 


A key component of this event is mentorship. To help ensure that participating teams are developing relevant, culturally appropriate, and grounded ideas that could be feasibly implemented, we will have a group of experienced mentors present during the event to help guide teams and answer questions. Over the course of the hackathon, your team will have the ability to meet with mentors in order to help gain a better understanding of the core issues associated with your topic. We will be selecting mentors so as to have a wide range of expertise on hand to answer questions, provide in-depth context, and help guide your ideas to “real-world” relevance. We encourage you to make use of this valuable resource! 

Mentor List and Bios

Updated Mentor Sign-up Sheet

Pitch Presentations and Awards

On the second day of the hackathon, all participating teams will have the opportunity to present their pitches to a panel of judges, who will evaluate each team's pitch on the basis of originality, respect to individuals and communities, context, feasibility, impact, sustainability, and partnerships. Following all presentations, the panel will announce the top teams who will then have the opportunity to submit a formal project proposal to be considered for up to $3,000 in seed funding.

Presentations will be evaluated using this Evaluation Framework

Hack for Humanity Summary Reports

Learn about our previously held Hack for Humanity hackathons by reading our summary reports from past years. 

Summary Reports >