Polish government launches virtual hackathon to fight coronavirus

GovTech Polska has already organised three hackathon editions, but the upcoming one is the first to be carried out in the virtual world. Press materials

GovTech Polska, the Polish government's technology agency, has launched a virtual edition of the largest stationary hackathon in Europe, HackYeah Online, with the aim of combatting the effects of the coronavirus epidemic, GovTech Polska has said.

The competition is organised for the public benefit and its prize pool is PLN 100,000 (EUR 21,920) net, with participants working on solutions in five categories, GovTech Polska said in a news release sent to PAP on Tuesday.

"The idea of organising hackathons aimed at dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic in Poland was initiated by DO OK sp. z o.o., a company that organised Hack the Crisis: Tech for Good hackathon in cooperation with the GovTech Polska Team – a task force in the Prime Minister's Office," GovTech Polska said.

The Hack the Crisis event was attended by almost 2,000 programmers.

The purpose of HackYeah Online is to "combat the aftermath of the ongoing epidemic using technological solutions as well as implementing innovative projects," GovTech said.

The participants will develop their solutions over three days, on April 3-5, and the organisers are looking for projects that will answer five key challenges, including security during an epidemic; business, science and technology during the crisis; e-commerce and logistics; education and leisure; and freestyle. The latter is an open category, provided that the solution can be applied to fighting the effects of the coronavirus.

"I am inviting all developers, experts and technology enthusiasts to fight the virus in cyberspace," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was quoted as saying in the GovTech's news release.

GovTech Polska has already organised three hackathon editions, but the upcoming one is the first to be carried out in the virtual world.

"The first hackathon proved that developers from all across Europe can have a hand in fighting the virus, and the next few days will prove that they are also able to extend that helping hand to those most affected by the epidemic," Justyna Orlowska, the PM's high representative for government technology, was cited as saying in the statement.

HackYeah Online is organised by IT event organiser Proidea, with GovTech as the main partner. Other partners include the Czech government and the CzechInvest agency.

Registration is now open to individuals and teams of up to six people at the website https://app.evenea.pl/event/hackyeah2020online/.

GovTech Polska is a task force operating in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister aimed at engaging the community in introducing innovation to the public sector. It works with technology companies and citizens to jointly modernise public administration and find ways of using technology to accomplish tasks undertaken by the government.