A pan-european hackathon -the #EUvsVirus– was organized online from April 24 to 26, in order to connect civil society, designers, innovators and partners across Europe with the aim to promote innovative digital solutions to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. #EUvsVirus got together over 20,900 participants from across the EU and beyond while over 2,150 solutions were submitted in areas including health and life, business continuity, remote working and education, social and political cohesion, digital finance etc. Participants demonstrated unity and shared their skills and ideas for the common good across borders during this collective challenge.
Greece, ranking 8th in terms of participation, dynamically joined the hackathon with over 600 participants submitting their proposals through 150 groups. Greek submissions cover a wide range of projects from microfluidic devices for rapid and accurate COVID-19 detection and mobile applications monitoring pre and post-hospitalization to smart screening tools for risk assessment models and online platforms for discovering and matching needed resources.
#GreeceVsVirus, was the national participation co-ordinated by the Ministry of Digital Governance, through two initiatives already launched in Greece in early April with the support of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Development & Investment.
The first initiative #COVIDhackGR is aimed at highlighting innovative ideas and proposals it is addressed to businesses, start-ups and research teams, health and informatics researchers, technology executives, and all persons wishing to contribute to the implementation of the proposals. The initiative is supported by the country’s most important research and academic institutions and collective health and technology bodies.
The second initiative aims to promote the rapid implementation of mature digital solutions with the potential for immediate completion through the use of existing production facilities directly supporting the National Health System. It is worth reminding that Greece since the outbreak of the pandemic acted very quickly in developing digital tools so as to eliminate red tape in an effort to tackle COVID-19.
Greek participation to the EU hackathon also included the Antivirus crowdhackathon an initiative aimed at tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, held by the Region of Attica with the technological and operational support of Crowdpolicy. The Antivirus crowdhackathon is a remote innovation marathon, repeated in cycles, on the development of digital applications and methodologies for the economy and society struggling to address the consequences of the pandemic. The Antivirus crowdhackathon that had also the role of national curator in the #EUvsVirus, is evolving into an ongoing network of technological innovation that will operate continuously throughout the pandemic with the help of collaborative tools.
The EU organised this hackathon in close cooperation with EU member States allowing the participation of third countries, too. The aim was to mobilise innovative communities from all over the globe developing digital solutions against COVID-19 and promoting at the same time youth entrepreneurship. The event, which involved over 380 volunteers, 2,400 mentors and over 800 partners, brought together people of 141 different nationalities, as well as different areas of expertise and backgrounds.
The hackathon offered a common organizational and technical framework in which the participants got involved online and developed working prototypes and innovative solutions e.g. high tech, low tech, hardware, software, using biotech, digital tech, societal science and other innovation domains. Participants had also the opportunity to follow seminars on business models, marketing models and good practices via teleconferencing.
“Winning” solutions will receive cash prizes of over €100,000 in total and winners will be invited to join a Matchathon that will take place from 22 to 25 May on the new European Innovation Council COVID Platform. This online event will facilitate match-making with end-users, such as hospitals, and provide access to investors, corporates, foundations and other funding opportunities from across the EU. Greek teams were partners in 6 award winning projects developed in partnership with other countries, while a Greek project was also selected.
The National Documentation Centre (EKT) in its role as National Contact Point for Horizon 2020, as co-ordinator of the Enterprise Europe Network – Hellas consortium and as the Greek hub of EIT Health -the initiative of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology- supported the EU hackathon. EKT has also set up a website offering valid information for the research community and anyone interested in the development of scientific research to combat the pandemic and is also providing ongoing support for businesses, individuals and organisations.