The UN Datathon 2023 in Montevideo, Uruguay will bring together some of the brightest minds in data science from around the world to create new, data-driven tools for local sustainable development.

This year’s event, taking place November 3-6 in conjunction with the Festival de Datos, has attracted significant global interest, with registrations from more than 500 teams worldwide, and nearly 2,000 participants from 110 countries signed up to take part. 

What is the UN Datathon?

This is the fourth UN Datathon, and this year participants will develop innovative, data-driven applications, tools or statistical models combining geospatial data with other data sources to help advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Participants will join both online and on-site, as well as from numerous official satellite locations around the world.

A focus on local action and monitoring

This year’s theme is SDG localization – the need for local responses and monitoring to achieve the Global Goals. Local responses are essential for ensuring that no place is left behind, and localization is one of five key enablers for accelerating progress towards the SDGs.

Participants will be tasked with creating an innovative data solution which tackles local sustainable development challenges and leverages one or several of the ‘six transitions’ – the six areas identified as potential catalysts for achieving the SDGs – which are: 

  • food systems 
  • energy access and affordability
  • digital connectivity
  • education 
  • jobs and social protection
  • climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.

What can participants and followers expect?

The Datathon champions the power of simple ideas to have a meaningful impact, and aims to help nurture those ideas into effective solutions. Through a series of training sessions – including workshops on privacy-enhancing technologies, the use of AIS shipping data, and ARIES for SEEA – participants can gain the skills and knowledge to help turn their ideas into viable projects and tools. 

At the end of the event, an independent jury will hand-pick projects to take forward, with the winning teams being announced on December 19, 2023.

Participants may also have their work shown at the Festival de Datos, and winners' projects may be implemented by the UN and its partners to support their work.

Those joining us in Uruguay for the Festival de Datos can head to the UN Statistics Division’s stand in the Festival venue foyer for updates on the Datathon and the work of the UN Committee of Experts on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics (UN-CEBD). 

At last year’s 2022 Datathon, 2,000 participants from 60 countries competed in 500 teams. Collectively, they delivered roughly 240 data-based projects over the course of the three-day event. This included impressive solutions for global shipping networks, protecting endangered species, and creating sustainable food sources.

Want to follow the action? You can join the UN Datathon Opening Ceremony online on Friday, November 3, at 14:00 (Uruguay Time, UYT). Check out the UN Datathon 2023 wiki for the most up-to-date info on the event, and view the 2023 event schedule for details on workshops and training sessions.

Not participating in the Datathon but want to join one of the training workshops? Email to request to join.