Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Crowns Winners of Industrial Hackathon

A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Crowns Winners of Industrial Hackathon

A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
A general view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (SPA)

Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) Bandar bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef and Prince Sultan bin Khalid bin Faisal, CEO of the SIDF, crowned the winning teams of the second edition of the “Industrial Hackathon”.

Launched by the SIDF to encourage youth contribution in developing industrial sectors, the Industrial Hackathon introduces innovative solutions to the challenges facing national manufacturers through three aspects: design, production, and sustainability.

In the design track, the PSU Industry 4.0 team secured the first-place position, with the THROUGH team taking second place. In the production track, the BRDAN team claimed first place, while the Mankhal team earned the second-place spot.

In the sustainability track, the HEXA team emerged as the first-place winner, followed by the E-VIVE team in second place. The RedNest team was recognized for presenting the most outstanding solution to the challenge posed by the Red Sea International Company (RSI) during the hackathon.

The first-place winning teams received a prize worth SAR 50,000, and the second-place winning teams won a prize of SAR 35,000, while the winning team in the Red Sea International Company (RSI) Challenge received a prize of SAR 25,000

Al-Khorayef congratulated the participants, extending his gratitude to all the entities supporting the Hackathon from the public and private sectors.

He reiterated that the Hackathon reflects the Industrial Fund’s continued commitment to supporting national manufacturers, embracing and supporting innovators, being one of the most important platforms that gather talents and creative ideas in a number of diverse industrial fields and challenges.

He pointed out that the Hackathon aims to support national companies and factories by devising creative solutions to the challenges that the manufacturers face and contributing to the growth of national products and promoting them at the local and global levels.

The Hackathon aims to bolster national companies and factories by devising innovative solutions to the challenges they encounter, helping with the advancement of domestic products and enhancing their visibility both locally and globally, he added.

The Industrial Hackathon is an opportunity to learn about the creative potential in Saudi society that can help in achieving the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Strategy for Industry.

The total prize pool for the second edition of the Hackathon amounted to more than SAR 1,000,000.

This edition was held in partnership with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) as an innovation partner, Riyad Bank as a financial partner, and Sipchem Company as a Platinum sponsor.



North Macedonia's Beekeepers Face Climate Change Challenge

Petroski has for 13 years spent his free time caring for 120 beehives. Robert ATANASOVSKI / AFP
Petroski has for 13 years spent his free time caring for 120 beehives. Robert ATANASOVSKI / AFP
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North Macedonia's Beekeepers Face Climate Change Challenge

Petroski has for 13 years spent his free time caring for 120 beehives. Robert ATANASOVSKI / AFP
Petroski has for 13 years spent his free time caring for 120 beehives. Robert ATANASOVSKI / AFP

Every day, Magda Miloseska dons a white, protective suit and enters the domain of the honeybees in the backyard of her small weekend house in North Macedonia.
She has been producing honey in this picturesque corner of the country for more than 20 years. But climate change and disease have made what used to be a simple pleasure much harder work, she says.
Stence is a hillside village in the west of the country, surrounded by mountains and at a level of 650 meters (2,130 feet). Temperatures in June already exceed 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), three-degrees higher than usual, according to the state meteorological office.
"In the past, beekeeping was much easier," said 63-year-old Miloseska. "Beekeeping was a treat.
"Now, we simply have to fight both the climate conditions and the diseases that have entered the beekeeping."
Just a hobby for some, but a source of income for others, beekeeping has surged in recent years in all regions of the country, said AFP.
There were 6,900 beekeepers with 306,000 beehives registered across the country in 2023, according to the Food and Veterinary Agency.
But according to a European Commission study issued in July 2023, 10 percent of bees and butterflies are threatened with extinction in Europe -- largely due to human activities.
Honey production down
Miloseska may not have the data at her fingertips, but her everyday experience has made it clear to her something is wrong.
"Older beekeepers say that in the past they could get 30-50 kilograms (44-66 pounds) of honey from one beehive," she said.
"In this period, with these climate conditions, that is substantially decreased."
Today, in ideal conditions, the most you could hope for would be around 30 kilograms over one season, she added -- with average production between 10 and 20 kilos.
That relative scarcity has pushed prices up to between 15 and 20 euros ($16-22) compared to 10 euros just two or three years ago.
Vladimir Petroski, who for the past 13 years has spent his free time caring for 120 beehives, has noted the same problem.
Whereas in the past they could expect 30-40 kilograms, he said, these days they had to be satisfied with 15 kilos per season.
And he agreed that climate change had fueled the rise of the parasites and viruses that threaten wild and honey bees.
"Beekeepers need to educate themselves and adapt according to the conditions and the micro-climate where they work."
Educate and adapt
In fact, the beekeepers are already trying to find solutions themselves.
Their hive mind is made up of the regional beekeepers' associations, which promote good practice and organize honey festivals.
They agree the main challenges are the warm winters, swift changes of the temperature in spring -- and the long, dry periods that come with summer now stretching into September and October.
Environmental groups have called for government ministries and agencies to coordinate to tackle the problems that climate change pose for bees.
So far however, they say their warnings have gone largely unheeded.
The agriculture ministry is just as concerned about intensive agriculture, pesticides, loss of diversity and pollution.
While acknowledging the threat climate change poses, it has simply recommended closer monitoring of the bees' behavior.
More data is certainly needed, says Frosina Pandurska Dramikjanin of the Macedonian Ecological Society, part of a project trying to understand the effect of climate change on bees.
But it also needs to be share between the relevant state institutions, she argued.
Without that, she told AFP, "it is harder to issue measures and recommendations".
A recent report from the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) underlined the stakes, highlighting the key role bees play in food production and biodiversity.
Out of the 100 crop species that provide 90 percent of all food consumed worldwide, 71 are pollinated by bees, it reported.