• Arabic


When: Sunday, February 11, 2018 06:50 PM



The UAE Government is interested in exploring how to identify, share, and use open data for civic projects and expand citizen and civic engagement to advance participation in governmental affairs for social good.

Hence, we at the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, under our responsibility to develop smart government at the federal level in the UAE, are launching the UAE Hackathon under the motto ‘Data for Happiness’.

We are inviting you to participate and get the chance to be part of our mission to contribute to the future of the UAE by sharing this experience with hundreds of young people in the seven emirates of the UAE.


This project will create an opportunity for hundreds of young people to use open data as a tool for innovation and to boost economic growth.

Youth will be able to analyse data and come up with solutions that will advance the UAE towards a prosperous and happy future.

How to participate

Step 1: Click on ‘Register’ and add your name and email ID

Step 2: From the list of hackathons, select the one you are willing to participate in

Step 3: You will receive a message of confirmation from the UAE Hackathon team

Pre-hackathon capacity training

Attending the training on the first day is mandatory for all those who wish to attend and participate in the second and third days of the hackathon.

Capacity training will build fundamental skills so that participants will have a viable role to play; no one would feel intimidated by data and believe that they do not have the capacity to contribute. 

Theme and challenges

As the UAE leadership has set happiness as the ultimate goal of its strategies and policies, we have expressed this in the theme of the hackathon: Data for Happiness.

We have selected five challenges for the competitors to find solutions. These challenges revolve around the following topics:  

  • Transportation
  • Health
  • Sustainable development
  • Environment
  • Education
  • Gender

Participants in the UAE hackathons will use available data sets and may supplement with planned collected data to design solutions in these areas.


Sources of data

Data refers to a collection of facts (numbers, words, measurements, observations, etc.) that have been translated into a form that computers can process.

Today, data is changing the entire world. It is the driver of transformation towards the concept of digital governance and smart cities. Data is often called the oil of the 21st century.

In the UAE, the Government has launched a strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This strategy outlines the path to achieve around the clock intelligent and interactive government

services to achieve customer happiness and to position the UAE as a model for interactive cities. One of the aims of this strategy is to improve the use of artificial intelligence and other

cutting edge technologies optimise the utilization of data in planning the future.

The Data for Happiness project will create a set of products around human and machine-readable open data around topics of particular interest to the government and civil society.

The topics could align with the national goals (such as transport, education, economy or health) or may include issues of more local interest.

These datasets may be gathered from published paper documents, online resources, or the UAE open data portal. The gathered datasets will be made available to the government in machine-

and human-readable formats.


Hackathons should be looked at as a collaborative effort that includes teams of 4-6 members with skill sets in various fields such as communications, creative thinking, programming,

innovation, presentation and working in a group environment.  Team members must be at least 50% UAE citizens or residents.  Teams must demonstrate individual and professional diversity.

This is not a coding event but an innovative exercise that brings out the creativity of the group. The process involves a two-pronged approach of working with government and data owners to identify

what information is available that is open or could readily be made available in a short period of time, and applying that data toward a practical and sustained solution for service delivery

and civic happiness. This second prong requires identifying and engaging key civil organizations on the issues that are most important for them and the government to address.

These projects require collaboration and agreement with specific government offices, civil organizations, and technologists to work together for a sustained product.

Examples can include a more efficient method for accessing local or national government services, a reporting or alerting system to identify non-functional street lamps or building

a more user-friendly inventory of local businesses for outside investors to more easily partner with.

These are but samples of a myriad of potential projects that a hackathon can tackle.

Who can participate?

The target audience for capacity training and hackathons will depend on the topic. Likely audiences are:

  • University and high school students in the UAE
  • Civil servants to develop core literacy to engage with technologists and to steer information to create useful open datasets
  • Journalists with basic data analysis and data visualization skills to report and share stories about the project and share with
  • project managers the products and issues that organizations and individuals would like to have addressed.
  • Researchers to share their expertise and build up the capacity for the next generation of workers.
  • Subject matter experts looking to increase their technical skills.