EFSA has announced the winners of its first innovation prize – a Hackathon competition for developers and designers from all over Europe to create an app that gives easy access to the Authority’s work.
Five shortlisted teams came to EFSA’s premises on 24 September to pitch their apps to a panel of judges, in front of an audience of 70, including students from local schools.
Ermanno Cavalli from EFSA’s IT department, who was a member of the judging panel, said: “We saw some really impressive work. All participants showed amazing talent and creativity.”
But only one team could take home the grand prize of €20,000.
Loana Furcoi and Roberto Capuano won first prize with “EFSA to the people”, an app which uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to perform queries on EFSA’s website and retrieve information.
The following teams won the other prizes:
- Second prize: €6,000
Project: Renaissance provides a forum to engage and interact with EFSA
Team: Geoffroy Empain, Gaël Fontenelle and Cedric Duvier (Belgium)
- Third prize: €3,000
Project: the EFSA app has an attractive and easy to use design, also based on OCR technology
Team: Applab (Croatia)
- Fourth prize: €500
Project: MyEFSA uses the Algolia search engine to improve searches on EFSA’s Register of Questions
Team: Matteo Fontana, Martina Ferrero, Damiano Buscemi and Luca Vidale (Italy)
- Fifth prize: €500
Project: Charlie transforms natural language questions into search engine queries.
Team: Punto Fisso (United Kingdom)
“It has been a great day, full of excitement. We met lots of people and listened to interesting discussions” said Ms Furcoi. “I hope that our app will make it easier for ordinary people – and not only specialists – to access EFSA’s work,” she added.
The originator of this competition, EFSA staff Cesare Mazza said “The goal of this hackathon was to engage with citizens and come up with an innovative app for EFSA. I think we have achieved that!”
EFSA IT specialists will now trial the app with a view to having it up and running by next year.
The prizes were presented by EFSA’s Executive Director Bernhard Url who said this initiative is part of on-going efforts to improve openness, transparency and innovation at EFSA. “Innovation for EFSA is not just a fancy word. It is one of the main drivers of our strategy 2020 and is crucial for keeping pace with globalisation and the increasing complexity of science,” he said.
In the afternoon, while the jury was selecting the winners, experts from the public and private sectors debated ICT in public administration.
The debate was kicked off by Federico Pizzarotti, mayor of Parma, and moderated by technology journalist Federico Guerrini. Speakers discussed the challenges of open government, how to create space for innovation in an organisation and shared tips and case studies drawn from their own experience.