Winners of EUvsVirus hackathon announced after 20,000 take part

30 Apr 2020

Some of the Irish participants of the EUvsVirus hackathon. Image: Colin Keogh

The pan-European hackathon looked at innovations to tackle coronavirus-related issues such as health, business continuity and education.

From 24 to 26 April, a pan-European hackathon was held to connect innovators who are interested in developing solutions for coronavirus-related challenges.

The EUvsVirus hackathon had around 20,900 participants who developed more than 2,000 solutions in the areas of health, business continuity, remote work and education, social and political cohesion, digital finance and more.

The event was initiated in Ireland by Sapien Innovation, a start-up founded by Colin Keogh and David Pollard, and more than 400 people based in Ireland took part.

The winners

Winners of the hackathon were selected by a panel of judges, which included Keogh and other experts with experience in relevant domains. Participants were judged based on impact potential, scalability, novelty, prototype completion and business plans.

The winner in the category of health and life was Team Discover, a group that dealt with the shortage of PPE and human resources that nurses have dealt with throughout the crisis. It developed a monitoring system that aims to help nurses perform 100 check-ups in the time that it can take to perform a single check-up, while doing so from a distance.

Taking the top prize in the category of business continuity was Linistry, which developed a solution to limit the number of customers on a retail premises, while controlling queues and redirecting customers to alternatives that can cut down the number of visits.

Aidbind was named the winner in the social and political cohesion category for its solution that sets out to solve the information gap between the demand, supply and funding of medical products that are procured through donations and charity. The group’s platform gathers data on what hospitals need and what is available through suppliers and funding.

The winner in the remote working and education category was The Village, which developed a decentralised and autonomous educational marketplace where users can create their own personal village with friends, family, teachers and peers.

Bankera Business Care won the top prize in the category of digital finance, for its solution that offers short-term financing to help SMEs cover their liquidity needs. Finally, the winner of the ‘other’ category was Sewers4Covid, which is a sewer surveillance and machine learning platform that aims to serve as an early warning on pandemic outbreak.

The winners, which can be seen here, have also been invited to a ‘matchathon’ that will take place in May, which aims to facilitate match-making with end users such as hospitals, and provide access to investors, corporates, foundations and other funding opportunities in the EU.

Irish innovators

Keogh said that the event required the help of 380 volunteers, 2,400 mentors and 800 partners, and it brought together people of 141 different nationalities, from a variety of backgrounds and areas of expertise.

Among those involved in Ireland were teams from Trinity College Dublin-based Learnovate, which is a research and innovation centre focusing on learning technologies, as well as from Galway entrepreneurial co-working space PorterShed.

The largest number of solutions were submitted by teams in Germany (389), Italy (320) and Spain (315), with solutions ranging from a modular micro factory to a natural language processing system for medical reporting.

Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “We have seen significant demand to date for EIC funding – over €10bn in the last month. This clearly demonstrates how important it is to support high-impact innovation during the coronavirus recovery period and beyond.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic