EC awards five Water Europe members in #EUvsVirus Hackathon with Sewers4COVID solution


A team consisting of five organisations, all of which are Water Europe members, won first place in one of the six categories of the #EUvsVirus Hackathon with the Sewers4COVID solution. Organised by the European Commission and led by the European Innovation Council, the goal of the #EUvsVirus Hackathon was to connect civil society, innovators, partners, and investors across Europe to develop innovative solutions for coronavirus-related challenges.

The organisations KWR Water Research Institute, Eurecat – Technology Centre of Catalonia, University of Thessaly, National Technical University of Athens and University of Exeter joined the hackathon from the 24 to the 26 of April 2020 and have developed the Sewers4COVID to integrate sewer surveillance and machine learning for an early warning on pandemic outbreaks, emergency response and recovery decision making in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Participants had 48 hours to collaborate via different online platforms and build a solution within the challenge areas. A total of 117 out of 2160 innovative solutions to tackle the coronavirus have been selected as winners of the European Innovation Council-led #EUvsVirus Hackathon.

Sewers4COVID includes participants from Greece, Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom who have developed a sewer surveillance platform for early virus detection to help decision-makers direct resources where they are most needed. 

The 117 solutions were selected by a jury and weighted according to impact potential (40%), technical complexity & novelty (20%), prototype completion (20%), and efficacy of business plan (20%). Winners and two runners up were also selected for each challenge, of which there are 37. Cash prizes will be offered by partners to winners of their choosing – a total of over €100,000 has been pledged by partners to date.

In the next two weeks, the financing and resource needs of the winning teams to develop and scale their ideas, as well as the financing and resources that partners are willing to dedicate, will be collated. From 22 to 25 May, a Matchathon event will take place to match the needs with available resources. Winning solutions will be invited to join an EIC COVID Platform – to be launched at the end of May – to facilitate connections with end-users, such as hospitals, and provide access to investors, foundations, and other funding opportunities from across the EU.


– KWR Water Research Institute (Dragan Savic FREng, Lydia Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia, Frederic Been, Gertjan Medema)

Eurecat – Technology Centre of Catalonia (Gabriel Anzaldi Varas, Xavier Domingo i Albin, Lluis Echeverria, Marc Ribalta Gené)

– University of Thessaly (Chrysi Laspidou, Dimitris Kofinas, Alexandra Ioannou)

– National Technical University of Athens (Maria P. Papadopoulou)

– University of Exeter (Mehdi Khoury, Gareth Lewis, Albert Chen)

Learn more about the SEWERS4COVID project. 


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