The EFSA hackathon: Authority offers €20,000 for app ideas

By Annie Harrison-Dunn

- Last updated on GMT

The first prize is €20,000, with €6,000 awarded for second place, €3,000 for third and €500 for fourth and fifth. © / dolgachov
The first prize is €20,000, with €6,000 awarded for second place, €3,000 for third and €500 for fourth and fifth. © / dolgachov

Related tags European food safety authority European union

"The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is offering €20,000 for an app idea it can use to provide “quick, user-friendly” mobile access to its work."

The award is the first in a series of innovation prizes planned by the EU agency.

The initiative is part of ambitions for a more 'open EFSA'.

“Our innovation prizes reward new ideas, technologies and services that solve specific challenges,”​ EFSA said of the scheme.  

“A prize is awarded to entrants who have proposed a cutting-​edge innovative solution to a given problem. Prizes are used to encourage innovation, which is one of EFSA’s core values.”

For its ‘hackathon’ - the term given to an intense collaboration between computer programmers, developers and designers on specific software projects-  EFSA is calling for app prototypes from developers and designers by 30 June.

Top 5 ideas 

According to the agency's Programming Document 2016-2019​ ​released last month, it has allocated €150,000 for the pilot phase of the innovation prize starting in 2016, which will cover all costs including the prize and publicity campaigns.  

The same document outlines a budget of €160,000 – or 2% of its overall 2017 budget – for the initiative in 2017.

The creators of the best five chosen will then be invited to present their working apps at EFSA's headquarters in Parma, Italy in September.

The first prize is €20,000, with €6,000 awarded for second place, €3,000 for third and €500 for fourth and fifth.

“We are constantly developing and adapting our working methods to ensure that we are at the forefront of scientific and administrative thinking and practice because this enables us to anticipate and react to new challenges,” ​EFSA said. 

The launch of the first prize comes the same week as it announced the EFSA Journal ​and its full archive dating back to 2003 will be migrated to Wiley Online Library​ as part of its “openness and engagement”​ push.

EFSA 2020

Also this week, EFSA released its 2020 strategy document​ for an "agile, open, connected"​ EFSA. 

Over the next five years it said it aimed to:

  • prioritise public and stakeholder engagement in the process of scientific assessment;
  • widen its evidence base and optimise access to its data;
  • bolster the EU’s scientific assessment capacity and knowledge community;
  • prepare for future risk assessment challenges;
  • create an environment and culture that reflects EFSA’s values.

Commenting on the document, EFSA executive director Dr Bernhard Url said: “EFSA’s mission is clear and unchanged: in cooperation with our wide range of stakeholders, we help to keep the European food chain as safe as possible. However, the environment in which we operate is changing rapidly and, in some cases, dramatically.

“The task for us is to make sure that we work in a way that takes full account of the challenges and full advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead."

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