Plant & Works Engineering
Rolls-Royce is using mobile gaming to narrow the STEM gender gap.
Published:  11 April, 2019

The first annual Catalyst Hack saw 95 young women and non-binary participants create 17 game apps designed to inspire more girls to choose STEM careers.

The hackathon was run by R2 Data Labs, the data innovation catalyst inside Rolls-Royce, with expert mentors on hand to support participants including Roberta Lucca, co-founder of BAFTA-award winning gaming company Bossa Studios. It was held at the Microsoft Reactor in Shoreditch, London.

The winning idea was Custodian – a 3D open world game in which players need to nurture the environment to create a sustainable future created by Eleanor Townsend, Jane Gong, Suad Merie, Marianne Skinner Cassidy, Faye Meadows and Millie McQuillin.  The winners will now have the opportunity to work with Rolls-Royce and Bossa Studios to develop their idea further.

Catalyst Hack is the latest project in Rolls-Royce’s commitment to inspire 25 million of tomorrow’s technology and engineering pioneers through STEM initiatives by 2030. Other activities include the Tomorrow’s Engineers robotics challenge, Scout and Girlguiding science and innovator activities, STEM with the Prince’s Trust and the Rolls-Royce young apprentice programme.

95 participants aged 18 – 24 worked in teams over two days to design a gaming app to inspire the next generation of girls in STEM.

Experienced mentors ran workshops throughout the day to give participants the tech, business and design skills to bring their ideas to life. This included a team from BAFTA-winning media company Bossa Studios, the event’s gaming partner.

An expert judging panel assessed all the proposals at the end of the hack for innovation, playability, artwork, narrative style, how well the game incorporates STEM and the marketing strategy.