Using the Covid-19 outbreak as a springboard for innovation


From accelerators to hackathons, we tell you how most regions in the world have been swift to organise their tech sector to respond to the Covid-19 crisis. It was urgent and critical, but it was also an opportunity. We ask whether it has enabled Europe to get back on the tech map and start challenging the US and China again. 


A group of European technology companies have joined forces to create a coronavirus-focused start-up accelerator to help battle the virus with digital solutions. For now, the "Future Perfect" accelerator sponsors four start-ups in Berlin, including one that connects researchers with people willing to take part in clinical trials and another that lets young people chat with crisis advisors and social workers. 

There are many other such initiatives worldwide, but the most popular is perhaps the Tallinn-born "Hack the Crisis" movement. It was created in Estonia in mid-March and first took the form of a six-hour hackathon to try to provide a European response to the crisis. It was such a success that branches of the organisation started springing up throughout the world. Here in France, two student entrepreneur organisations, Genius Global and The Tech Students Association, took the lead and created a 48-hour hackathon in Paris. We speak to Julie Leroy, the vice president of Genius Global about this inspiring project. 

Last but not least, in Test 24, Dhananjay Khadilkar tries a face mask by the French start-up R-Pur and tells us how the physics of sneezing is advancing. Researchers at MIT have indeed found a way to track the thickness of a droplet's rim as it splashes up from a variety of surfaces. A breakthrough experiment that’s set to help revise official WHO guidelines for fighting pandemics. 

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning

Take international news everywhere with you! Download the France 24 app