NEST SMR Hackathon

The SMR Hackathon was a “design spirit event” where teams of cross-disciplinary people engaged in intense discussion and brainstorming to flush out all aspects of a design or problem and propose a solution. The end goal was for the students to create a digital-ready report of their ideas on the deployment of advanced nuclear energy. 

This hackathon was the first in a series on online interactive lectures from prominent lecturers from Canada and the United States involving self-paced reading of background material, and daily online focus group (Project Team) meetings on deployment scenarios.  


The 2020 Small Modular Reactor Hackathon was a first of a kind event organised to broaden the discussion of nuclear energy solutions through a series of formal and informal case studies. It was organised by the NEA Education, Skills and Technology Framework (NEST) SMR project sponsored by the Nuclear Energy Agency, and the Small Modular Advanced Reactor Training (SMART) programme funded by NSERC-Canada. The hackathon will be fully hosted online and involve students from multiple continents.

The event involved a series of online lectures with top engineering, science and social scientists interlaced with small team project breakout sessions where students examined innovative aspects of SMR technology. Each student team selected one of four case studies as their primary focus for the week. What was unique, within this event, was that the Hackathon brought together the traditional science and engineering technologies with social and political science aspects.

The event featured introduction by government and industry, panel discussion from global leaders, innovative story board training, and discussions on project planning and execution. Based on these aspects each student team prepared a free-format outcome describing their solution to the Case study considered.

  • McMaster University
  • University of California at Berkley
  • EPFL
  • CNRS Grenoble
  • Texas A&M
  • University of Regina
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Wisconsin Madison

The agenda of the NEST SMR Hackaton can be found here.


The full list of presenters can be found here

Info for students

The end goal of this workshop was for the students to create a digital-ready report of their ideas on the deployment of advanced nuclear energy.  These video reports addressed the technical, societal, regulatory, and policy elements of deploying the advanced nuclear technologies which the students were introduced to in this workshop.  Students had great flexibility in the approach they took (examples include but were not limited to: podcast/interactive webinar, video clips, musical, dance, or spoken performance, animation).

  • Each group of 3-4 students met each day in a virtual café to discuss the topics from the morning meetings and develop their presentation on their Deployment Scenario
  • Each Deployment Scenario Team provided a report on the SMR needs, considerations, issues, economics, social implications, for the community/application defined in the scenario.
  • Groups of 3-4 students were selected based on geographic and skillset – building diverse teams
  •  Students had great flexibility in the approach they took

Further coverage of the event can be found here.