Hacking Cognition 2024


The 2024 application period is now open!

This year Hackathon will take place in Toulouse!

From July 1  to July 5


Hacking Cognition is a national teaching initiative aimed at helping masters students develop a set of critical academic and applied skills for current practices in the Cognitive Sciences. During a one-week program that capitalizes on the transdisciplinary nature of Cognitive Science, students leverage complementary skill sets while learning to elaborate and manage an innovative project alongside a diverse group of peers, teachers and mentors. There is a specific focus on fostering open science, collaboration, communication, innovative thinking, and programming.

Pedagogical objectives:

Hacking Cognition has four main objectives:

(1) Generate new ideas for research and/or real-world application in the field of Cognitive Science.
(2) Offer students a unique opportunity to experience the multidisciplinary nature of Cognitive Science.
(3) Build collaborative skills through teamwork.
(4) Reinforce the national network of academic and non-academic French actors in Cognitive Science.

Using the form of a Hackathon, we will ask the students to develop an innovative project in cognitive science. Every year, we will propose three general themes to choose a project from (see Annex 1 for a list of possible themes) around hot topics in the cognitive science community. Students will not only have the opportunity to learn more about the field but also to develop technical skills, through open science and collaborative practices. This program will build upon existing institutional and associative structures to strengthen connections across French Master programs, and develop the transfer of cognitive science to real-world applications.

Acquired skills:

Hacking Cognition is a Hackathon Initiative aiming at developing a set of critical skills for current practices in Cognitive Sciences, both in academic and applied settings.

Students will learn:
(1) how to elaborate and manage a project: academic and non-academic professionals will provide concrete tools and application examples to teach student Project Management. Group projects will allow for direct training;
(2) open science and collaborative skills: student will learn to divide tasks among group members, communicate inside the group given the different profiles, use dedicated tools supporting collaboration and open science practices (e.g., GitHub, Hypothes.is, OSF);
(3) innovative thinking: thanks to lectures on past successful projects, e.g., from startups based on cognitive sciences (CogInnov, Hinfact, etc.), and previous Hackathons, as well as regular meetings to assist students in the development of their project;
(4) programming: by practicing on a specific project, students will improve their programming skills needed for collaborative coding projects, as well as specific skills in data analysis and/or creation of graphical interfaces (e.g., website).


  • Day 1 (morning) – introduction
    – Explain and discuss the objectives of the course, and its specificities.
    – Discuss the concept of hackathon and how we apply it to cognitive sciences, given its multidisciplinarity. Present examples of successful multidisciplinary projects, and in particular successful hackathon projects.
    – Present the program of the week, the organization and the evaluation.
    – Introductions by organizers
    – Introductions by students
  • Day 1 (afternoon) – team building and brainstorming
    – Group brainstorming session: project ideas generation, driving student group creation. Students will organize themselves in groups based on generated ideas that they are enthusiastic about.


  • Day 2 (morning) – workshop: Project management professional(s) (academic, association and industry). This thematic workshop will begin with a brief introductory lecture on project management in academic and non-academic sectors followed by a hands-on session to set-up the project management tool for group projects.


  • Day 2 (afternoon) – group work. Plan deliverables.

    • Day 3 (morning) – workshop: Open science. In this thematic workshop, we will review the scope of open science, and discuss publication of papers, code and data. We will discuss the need for open science and the emergence of hackathons following this need. Hot topics will be discussed, such as the “replication crisis.”


    •  Day 3 (afternoon) – group work. Advance on your project using the project management and collaborative tools.

      • Day 4 (morning) – workshop: Communicating around the project (public speaking, the need of visualization, etc.). This class will provide a set of concrete tools for communication.

      • Day 4 (afternoon) – group work. Advance on project using the project management and collaborative tools. Prepare presentation.

        • Day 5 (morning) – workshop: What next? Cognitive sciences in academic and non-academic sectors.


        • Day 5 (afternoon) – group work. Advance on project using the project management and collaborative tools. Prepare presentation.

        Hackathon night – Day 5 – project presentations