Pan-European hackathon hopes to find Covid-19 solutions

More than 200 Irish participants signed up to participate in three-day remote event

More than 12,000 participants have signed up to take part in a pan-European hackathon to develop tools to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

This includes over 200 people from Ireland who will be joining in the three-day event, which begins on Friday.

The hackathon has been organised by the European Innovation Council and is backed by a number of high-profile tech entrepreneurs including i Spotify founder Daniel Ek, Cabify chief executive Juan de Antoino and Peter Vesterbacka, the founder of tech conference Slush.

“The #EUvsVirus Hackathon is a great example of the European cooperative spirit I so admire. When times get tough we come together, work together and we will beat this virus together for everyone,” said innovation commissioner Mariya Gabriel.


The event, which will be livestreamed, will see partcipants from across Europe collaborating to develop innovative solutions to fight the coronavirus. These include products and services covering health, education and business continuity.

Winning solutions will be invited to join a European Innovation Council Covid-19 platform to facilitate connections with healthcare services and provide accesses to investors.

Irish participation

Irish participation is being spearheaded by Sapien Innovation, whose co-founders David Pollard and Colin Keogh are acting as national curators for the Republic.

The two, along with Conall Laverty of tech start-up Wia, are also behind the Open Source Ventilator project, which is working to develop easy-to-assemble mechanically operated ventilators that could be used in the treatment of patients with Covid-19. The Health Service Executive recently agreed to validate prototypes developed by the team.

Mr Keogh, who has previously appeared on Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” ranking of leading innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders, said the hackathon, along with the forthcoming Irish TechStars Start-up Weekend, could prove helpful in finding solutions to combat the adverse effects of the pandemic.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist