EIC 2023: Viral wood!

Show circular economy. Be exciting. Win 10,000 €.

Is the timber sector losing touch with a digital society? Let’s connect those two worlds. 

Don’t you love wooden products? Many people have a positive attitude towards a massive wooden house, a cracking fireplace, or a self-crafted pallet-based couch table. However, only a few know about the wood value chain and how it contributes to the good of humanity. Who knows what happens between the harvesting of a tree and a final product? Hardly anyone.  
Who knows that wood products store carbon, that the trees sucked out of the atmosphere? Who knows about high-rise timber buildings? Who heard about nano cellulose, or green energy solutions, or…. 

It is time the timber sector catches up with an increasingly digital society. 

The 48-hour in-person hackathon  (October 9-11 in Vienna) 

The expected outcome: A creative solution to raise awareness among people beyond the industry about the positive aspects of sustainable wood use. Students from wood and forestry, marketing, digital communication, and other relevant fields will work together to identify key aspects that best express the benefits of sustainable wood use.  

The interdisciplinary and international team creates a short video (think of an Instagram Reel, etc.). We’re looking for the “wow-effect”. If your video leaves jaws open - that’s a good sign. 

Further, the video must be backed by trustworthy sources. These sources and further elaboration of the concept can be presented in various ways: written text landing page, blog post or poster presentation. 

Here are a few prompts the teams used to build their communication concept:   

  • What if there were no wooden products in today’s world? 

  • Wood + Technology = Climate Saver 

  • Why does wood play a significant role in Circular Bioeconomy? 

  • The most unbelievable use cases of wood 

  • Debunk a common but wrong perception about the timber supply chain. 

The top 3 video ideas:

1st Place. WoodLoop

2nd Place: Holzome

3rd Place: Jollywood





The Alternatives


What and where:

The hackathon took place in the new and vibrant “Startup House” in Central Vienna, starting Monday, October 9th, at noon. The deliverables (video, blog post, poster presentation) had to be ready 48h later. The final presentation happened on the evening of October 11th in the Vienna City Hall. 

General conditions: 

  • 10 teams, intense competition for the three top spots with cash prizes. 

  • The described value chain must touch the softwood sawmilling sector. 

  • Only 48 hours to work out your approach, produce the video, and an additional elaboration, e.g., a landing page.  

The teams: a combination of different backgrounds. The secret to win the challenge, has been to combine the knowledge of each team member/mate in the best way. 


  • Mentors from the wood value chain and communication experts helped and challenged the ideas during the hackathon. A perfect opportunity to extend your network. 

  • The hackathon took place in Vienna Startup House, door-to-door with innovative startups, in the atmosphere of challenging the status quo. 

  • The final presentation will be in front of a large, international audience. The presenters will get specific pitch training with professionally accompanied rehearsals. 

  • All teams got the opportunity to present their videos in Vienna city hall, where everyone had the chance to get in touch with industry and stakeholders from all over the world. 

The judging:

  • First, the video was presented to an expert jury. They assessed the work in various ways (quality of work, how well the solution was chosen, how relevant it is for society (e.g., climate crisis), and how well the team used its different backgrounds). 

  • Only the best three teams  qualified for the presentation in front of an audience at night in Vienna City Hall. There, the final winner was chosen by a public vote. 

The Prizes

The prizes for the three best teams:

1st Place: 10,000 € 

2nd Place: 5,000 €  

3rd Place: 2,500 €