EU Datathon 2018: Four teams take home a trophy: Medicatio, Lexparency, TenderLake and Open Food Facts

 

The EU Datathon 2018 competition culminated in Brussels on 2 October with the selection of the winner app in each of the four thematic challenges. The competition illustrates the power of open data to stimulate enterprises, start-ups, individuals and other data enthusiasts from all over Europe to find practical solutions to societal problems, as well as to generate jobs and growth.

Preselected among 72 proposals, 16 finalist teams pitched their projects in front of a gathering of app developers, public and private open data specialists and start-up facilitators from many EU countries. Participants had to develop apps using at least one dataset available via the EU Open Data Portal and could combine it with other data sources.

This second EU Datathon had many new features. Contestants could compete in one of four parallel challenges, each with a different topical area, aims and partner organisers. All finalists received a share of 40,000 EUR in prize money, according to their ranking, with the first prize being 5,000 EUR for each of the four challenges.

EU Datathon 2018 was organised by the Publications Office of the European Union together with several partners including the ELI Task Force, the European Food Safety Authority and three directorates-general of the European Commission (Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs; Communications Networks, Content and Technology; and Informatics).

And the winners are...

OP Director-General Rudolf Strohmeier (centre) with the four challenge winning teams of EU Datathon 2018

Medicatio impressed the jury in the challenge ‘EU open data — For more innovation in Europe’. The app applies cutting-edge technology to provide user-friendly information on medicines in a growing number of European languages. The app features a search engine for medicines and also offers additional information, for example on usage and drug interactions. It uses open data from both the EU Open Data Portal and the European Data Portal.

Lexparency won first prize in the challenge ‘National and EU law — Make legislation interoperable’. Using the European Legislation Identifier (ELI), the app provides a smarter way to search and navigate through legislation. Users can search within legislative texts and the results feature semantic mark-up for technical terms, cross references and related resources.

Tenderlake scored top marks for the challenge ‘EU public procurement — Value for citizens, value for businesses’. The application uses data from TED (Tenders Electronic Daily) and artificial intelligence (AI) to make it easier to identify relevant public contracts. The app reads the websites of businesses and learns what they do, then proposes relevant contract opportunities. The app’s AI continually learns from new TED notices.

Finally, the jury awarded first prize to Open Food Facts, a Wikipedia-like tool for food products, in the challenge ‘European Food Safety Authority — Fostering data reuse and innovation’. The app uses EFSA data to show the public what is in the food they eat daily, covering 650,000 products from around the world. By integrating the OpenFoodTox open data on chemical hazards, it also helps identify the amounts and types of additives in food.

Addressing all the finalists, Rudolf Strohmeier, Director-General of the Publications Office of the European Union, said: 'being shortlisted in this EU-wide competition is already a vote of confidence and will put wind in your sails and take you even further.'

What comes next?

Looking at the next steps for all stakeholders, Rudolf Strohmeier highlighted: 'The discussions have shown the need for a true EU-wide open data ecosystem in which we all do our part, some of us on the supply side and some of us on the user side; but with all of us committed to the idea of openness and transparency.' Finally, he announced that the next EU Datathon will be in 2019!