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The European Citizens’ Hackathon Championship brings Europe and the climate change issue closer to people

Article written by Nora Scantamburlo, Project Officer

On the 15th of January 2023, the European Citizens’ Hackathon Championship kicked off, gathering together five partners, and starting its one-year journey into the topic of climate change.

European citizens believe that climate change is the most serious problem facing the world. For this reason, the new European tender aims to raise awareness and encourage citizens to become more participative and proactive, involving them from the very first minute in responding to the major challenges of two great missions: climate-neutral and Smart Cities mission, and the adaptation to climate change mission.

Engaging citizens from the outset is not just a way of raising awareness, nor is it just a way of involving everyone in the problems that the whole of Europe, and the world, is experiencing. It is also a way to showcase the work that is being done, to explain how through innovation it is possible to solve climate change challenges, and to demonstrate that the investment being made is real and seeks to solve real problems.

Defined as a series of intense events where teams of entrepreneurial developers and designers come together to build innovative solutions to real-world problems, the hackathon is the ultimate realisation of this initiative. To this end, the action will provide a methodology that provides an answer to how to carry out a hackathon championship with citizens, also taking researchers into account, with the ambition of eliminating the gap that currently exists between science and innovation and ordinary citizens. All of this will also be supported by a narrative proposal capable of attracting the attention of the public.

The methodology design and finalisation are expected to happen after four months from the kick-off date. Thereafter, through a series of Open Calls, happening in spring 2024, several countries are expected to be selected for the organisation of 12 local hackathons. Given the aim to address two critical challenges following the missions settled by the European Union (climate adaptation and smart cities towards climate neutrality), two different open calls are foreseen:

  • Cities Call: specifically addressed to experts and partners like energy cities and communities:
  • Citizens’ Call: this is an open call to the whole society.

After the filtering and analysis of the challenges submitted, 12 final challenges will be selected. A pull of 4 experts per local hackathon will be named and they will have the responsibility to rate and choose the ideas and solutions that will win that specific local hackathon. The two winning teams of each national hackathon will officially get to the Final Championship and compete against the rest of the national hackathon winners to be one of the three EU Sparks Champions. Participants will receive training and coaching sessions and mentorship during the process for a maximum of 6 full days. The winning three teams of the final championship will be awarded a monetary prize (€5.000 each) and a curated follow-up plan to help them develop the idea with the key actors involved.

It appears clear that this Hackathon Championship will contribute to several objectives: foster collaborative and innovative solutions, raise impact and awareness, align citizens with European missions, encourage cross-sector cooperation and partnership, and foster intensive learning and prototyping.

EURADA will be part of this journey as one of the five partners and encourages you to participate and pave the way for a positive change in shaping the future. The agenda with the deadlines, and the concept note with the steps to follow to be part of this initiative, are in the process of being finalised. Information will be published as soon as it is available.

Stay tuned to follow EURADA’s channels!