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Deadline extended to 31 August: CODATA announces a Smart and Sustainable Cities Datathon

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Organized by the CODATA Connect group, the goal of the Smart and Sustainable Cities Datathon is to challenge early career individuals and groups to develop innovative models and solutions to address the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) using available open data sources from various government or intergovernmental data platforms.  With the current digital revolution taking place in many cities across the globe, much city and local government data is now being opened to the public domain. Participants should identify the data sets they will work on from various open data sources and build algorithms, software tools, visualisations, models, apps or other technologies which can ‘make the data talk’ and help provide a solution to a specific problem that can bring value to a city. The tools developed should be reproducible at any level. The solution provided should aim at enabling cities to harness full potential of the enormous data being generated around the world. The Smart Datathon will create the environment for early career researchers and data science enthusiasts to create insights and models from extracting and analysing open data sources from various open platforms in order to develop novel solutions that will lead to real world solutions, benefiting the cities and the society at large.

Solutions provided by teams should fall into this thematic area:


Data Solution for Smart and Sustainable City

In particular, the Datathon will be based on Open Data and Open Source software for increasing the potential for decision making for Smart City. The Smart Datathon envisages the following stakeholders for collaboration – Academia, Startups, Government departments, Industry, City administration and Citizens.

The Datathon is open to early career individuals or teams who are encouraged to engage with the stakeholders listed in the development of their solution.


Smart Sustainable Cities definition

​“A smart sustainable city is an innovative city that uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) and other means to improve quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services, and competitiveness, while ensuring that it meets the needs of present and future generations with respect to economic, social, environmental as well as cultural aspects” (UNECE & ITU 2015:


Important Dates

  • Registration opens: 30th May  – 31st August 2020
  • Submission Deadline: 1 October  2020
  • Announcement of the winners: The winners will be announced at the International FAIR Convergence Symposium on 22-23 October, 2020 in Paris organised by CODATA and GO FAIR. Subject to circumstances, winners will be invited to give a short remote presentation or demo.



Registration, including an abstract should be submitted here ( or sent by e-mail as pdf attachments to

The abstract should include 

  • Title
  • Full author name(s)
  • Affiliation(s)
  • Corresponding author’s email address (other author email addresses are optional)

Author names must include a forename and a surname. Forenames cannot include only initials. i.e. J. Bloggs is not permitted. The full name, Joe Bloggs is required

The affiliation should ideally include ‘Department, Institution, City, Country’, however only the Institution and Country are mandatory.


A sentence or a short paragraph detailing the roles that each author held to contribute to the authorship of the submission. Individuals listed must fit within the definition of an author, as per our authorship guidelines.


For registration purposes, the abstract should describe the intended datathon activity and solution, outlining the problem to be addressed.  We recognise that the project may evolve, so this description will be indicative.

A list of up to six key words may be placed below the abstract (optional).

The Abstract and Keywords should also be added to the metadata when making the initial online submission.



The link for final submission will be sent to each team that registers.  Final submissions should be made by 23:59 UTC 1st October 2020.


What we want you to do:

Stage One: Registration

  • Get together a team.
  • Identify an open data set that has the solution to a Smart and Sustainable Cities problem that you want to solve.
  • Register for the Datathon with a short description / abstract of the intended activity.

Stage Two: Final Submission

  • Start working on your solution with your team.
  • Finalize your solution.
  • The final submission package should comprise the following:
    • Full accompanying information (full name(s), affiliations, a short bios and complete title of your project).
    • A  brief description of your project, with details of the project. Describe how your project connects and provides a solution to a Smart and Sustainable Cities problem you/your team identified.
    • Any necessary accompanying documentation to allow the solution to be understood and used (i.e. user manual or walk-through document).
    • A brief 1-5 minute demonstration video introducing yourself, explaining your solution and processes undertaken, where you sort your data from, the applications that helped in your analysis. This should be submitted via a Youtube or Vimeo link with a resolution of at least 1920×1080 pixels.
    • The proposed solution (plus Demonstration video, Data, Abstract and Algorithms) should be uploaded on a GitHub account you/your team created.
  • Your work/solution will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
  • Ensure your solution is reproducible, and in line with FAIR principles and processes

For General Rules: 

  1. Teams should choose only one option.
  2. All the participants on the team should be Early Career Researchers (ECR), defined as university undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate students or early career researchers within five years of completing their highest qualification.
  3. Multiple teams from the same organization can participate.
  4. Same participant can not be in more than one team.
  5. Team size should be limited to a maximum of 4 people.
  6. Licensing violations and plagiarism are not allowed. If any violation is found, participants will be disqualified.
  7. Please mention the open source data used for the solution with the link pointing to the dataset.
  8. Jury decision is final.



Participants can register for the Smart Datathon using the Registration link



The complete solution needs to be submitted on/before  1 October, 2020 via the CODATA Connect drive (this will have a space for teams to put in their GitHub account). We will not allow multiple submissions.


Submission Guideline

All projects must be in line with the Solution for Smart and Sustainable City using open data. There are no restrictions on your methods or applications used. We just want you to think outside the box and design something you/your team can be proud of.

Here are some suggested outputs for your project:

  • Machine learning models
  • Built Algorithms and models
  • Software tools
  • Visualizations
  • Statistical insights/correlations
  • Application, apps or program
  • Other technologies which can ‘make the data talk’ and help provide a solution to a specific problem


Process for Selecting the Winners

All the Smart Datathon solutions will be publicly available afterwards for others to learn from and further improve the quality of the developed models/algorithms, as a link will be provided on CODATA Connect Page under the Smart Datathon tab.

A Judging Panel will be appointed to evaluate the best solutions using the terms, guidelines and conditions provided for this purpose. The winners will be selected based on the Panel’s scores and their judgement on the most innovative, creative and useful solutions.

Winners of the Smart Datathon will be announced at the International FAIR Convergence Symposium  (22-24 October 2020) in Paris and will be invited to give a short remote presentation or demo of the solution.



Prizes will be given for two categories

First Prize:

  • Best Solution: Data Solution for Smart and Sustainable City (Cash award of Euro 500)

Two Runner ups will get

  • Data Solution for Smart and Sustainable City (Cash award of Euro 300)
  • Data Solution for Smart and Sustainable City (Cash award of Euro 300)