News Release

Heart of Gold: Bath student team wins world Heart Hackathon competition

Team Bath Heart’s artificial heart wins top prize at international engineering & design contest

Grant and Award Announcement

University of Bath

Team Bath Heart - Fleur Upton and Marcell Kuba with their Total Artificial Heart


Fleur Upton and Marcell Kuba with the Team Bath Heart Total Artificial Heart

view more 

Credit: University of Bath

Student engineers from the University of Bath are on top of the world after winning an international competition to design an artificial heart.

Team Bath Heart took top prize at the grand final of the first-ever Heart Hackathon, which was held in Texas at the end of October.

Six members of the team presented their device to global experts in artificial heart technologies, competing against teams from Australia, the United States, Sweden, New Zealand, Romania and Egypt.

The ‘total artificial heart’ they have developed could in theory be used to replace a heart patient’s organ. Artificial hearts are used in medicine to treat patients with certain cardiovascular diseases, usually while they wait for a donor heart to be found, or to help their heart recover.

Their winning design, currently a scaled-up prototype, incorporates cutting-edge materials and features a bag pumping mechanism to achieve sophisticated blood handling characteristics as well as automatic flow rate adjustment to respond just as a real heart does.

During the competition, which aims to encourage the medical and cardiovascular innovators of the future, team lead Fleur Upton and technical manager Alex Myers had to deliver a 15-minute presentation, before all six students were quizzed on their design choices by a panel of expert judges.

Each team was scored on the quality of their research, technical innovation and commercialisation efforts. The uniqueness of the Team Bath Heart design, which put patient needs at the centre of decision making, helped them stand out from their competitors.

Now comprising 45 students studying courses in engineering, computer science, biology and management, Team Bath Heart was established in early 2022 when six members of the team took on the challenge of creating an artificial heart as part of a group project.

Team lead Fleur Upton, who is studying Mechanical Engineering, said: “We are immensely proud to have won first prize at the Heart Hackathon. It was great to meet the other teams and learn about the different ways in which everyone approached the challenge, and how they innovated in different ways. Getting to work on the project has been incredibly rewarding, so to win the competition is really the icing on the cake.

“The whole team is grateful to the support of the University, and especially to our academic advisors Katharine Fraser, Mélusine Pigeon, to Chris Bowles from Harefield Hospital for their specialist advice, and to the judges."

Dr Katharine Fraser, one of Team Bath Heart’s academic advisors and a senior lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, said: “It was a tough competition with several excellent designs from the competitor teams. Team Bath Heart won because they analysed the needs of patients and clinicians, used everything they've learnt in their degrees so far, and put in a huge amount of time and effort, to create their completely new, innovative total artificial heart. We’re all very proud of the team and what they’ve achieved.

“Medical engineering and technologies like these have massive industrial potential, so as well as gaining great problem-solving and management experience in entering the competition, the team are also building really relevant skills for their future careers.”

Following the Heart Hackathon contest, members of the team attended the International Society for Mechanical Circulatory Support (ISMCS) conference, a meeting of the world’s top experts in artificial heart and blood technologies, to learn more about the field and to connect with industry professionals.

The team is now starting development of the next iteration of their design, with the aim of competing again at the 2024 Heart Hackathon final. Interested parties and prospective sponsors can contact the team at



Contact: Will McManus, Media & PR Manager / +44 (0)1225 385 798

Images available at:

Video available at:

The University of Bath

The University of Bath is one of the UK's leading universities for high-impact research with a reputation for excellence in education, student experience and graduate prospects.

We are named ‘University of the Year’ in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023, and ranked among the world’s top 10% of universities, placing 148th in the QS World University Rankings 2024. We are ranked 5th in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2024, 6th in the Guardian University Guide 2024 and 8th in the The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024.

Bath is rated in the world’s top 10 universities for sport in the QS World University Ranking by Subject 2023. We produce some of the world’s most job-ready graduates and were named University of the Year for Graduate Jobs by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024, as well as ranking as one of the world’s top 90 universities for employer reputation according to the QS World University Rankings 2024. 

Research from Bath is helping to change the world for the better. Across the University’s three Faculties and School of Management, our research is making an impact in society, leading to low-carbon living, positive digital futures, and improved health and wellbeing. Find out all about our Research with Impact:



Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.