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The EU Launches Its Fourth Datathon

More than 150 students and young startups are expected to propose an open data-based application that addresses European societal challenges. Winners stand a chance to win up to 100,000 Euros.
by: Marc Auxenfants
photo: Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

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The EU Datathon 2020 is organised by the Publications Office of the European Union, in collaboration with the European Commission Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy. The Publications Office of the European Union, launched the fourth edition of its EU Datathon.

For the first time this year, the competition is open to anyone around the world. It was previously limited to EU nationals. Participants are expected to produce an application based on open and public data made available by the EU institutions, agencies or bodies.

“Participants will be students and young startups, aged between 20 and 35”, said Rudolf Strohmeier, the Office’s Director-General. “We expect 150 submissions and 140 people at the final event in Brussels.”

Innovation and digital transformation

The contest with a total prize money of 100,000 Euros, “is intended to highlight the potential of linking EU data to regional data and promoting digital transformation opportunities by using open data”, Strohmeier explained.

Teams can be composed of one to four individuals. They shall address one of the four proposed challenges: “A European Green Deal” (Challenge 1), “An economy that works for people” (Challenge 2), “A new push for European democracy” (Challenge 3), “A Europe fit for the digital age” (Challenge 4).

These are based on the Commission Priorities set by Ursula von der Leyen, the newly appointed-president of the European Commission, who took office last December.

“Participants will be students and young startups, aged between 20 and 35.”

Each of them is organised as a separate competition (with a separate registration). Teams may participate in any or all of them but must submit only one proposal per challenge.

The winner of each challenge will be awarded with 12,000 Euros of funding. The second team will receive 8,000 Euros, and the third will receive 5,000 Euros.

Candidates will need to submit their proposals with a short description by 3 May 2020.


The selection is based on four main criteria: The relevance of the application and its proposed data sources; the usage of the open data; the quality of the proposed solutions; and the overall excellence.

The jury includes data experts from EU institutions, international organisations and private companies.

Results will be released in October

The 12 to 16 finalist teams will present their applications during the 18th European Week of Regions and Cities that will take place in Brussels from 13-15 October, 2020. It aims to bring together more than 9,000 participants.

“This is the first time that the final will be taking place in the European Week of Regions and Cities”, Rudolf Strohmeier said. “It will give participants the chance to promote their app to hundreds of potential stakeholders.”

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