Following the success of the previous editions of the BioHackathon Europe (2018, 2019 and 2020) organised by ELIXIR Europe, and building on the BioHackathons organised by National Bioscience Database Center (NBDC) and Database Center for Life Science (DBCLS), we are planning to run BioHackathon Europe 2021 in Barcelona 8-12 November 2021. We hope to build on our success and encourage more ELIXIR and non-ELIXIR participants to take part, as well as attract further industry engagement.

Ryota Yamanaka

“This hackathon terrifically accelerates our open-source projects, breaking all the barriers between biology and computing, academia and industry, and distances among great participants!”

- Ryota Yamanaka
(Oracle, Regional Product Manager Asia-Pacific)

Niall Beard

“An unmissable opportunity to accelerate development, initiate collaborations, broaden your professional network, and gorge on cheese and wine.”

- Niall Beard
(Senior Research Software Engineer and Training Manager, University of Manchester)

Remote access

This year we are planning to hold the BioHackathon in Barcelona, with remote access for those who cannot attend in person. We will make the final decision on whether the event will have an in-person meeting by 1 August. While we all prefer face-to-face participation, if the circumstances do not allow for this we will strive to recreate the spirit of BioHacakthon Europe virtually, as we did in 2020. Remote access will be organised by each project leader. We will provide a live stream of reporting sessions.

We believe the new format will allow everyone to participate in the BioHackathon and deliver tangible outcomes from the selected projects.

Working around a table


BioHackathon activities are driven by practical sessions where people gather, discuss, and implement ideas and projects during intensive and productive coding sessions. The topics will be aligned to challenges proposed by ELIXIR Platforms (Data, Tools, Compute, Interoperability and Training), ELIXIR Communities (Human Data, Rare Diseases, Marine Metagenomics, Plant Science, Metabolomics and Proteomics), and/or Focus Groups (e.g. Biodiversity, Cancer Data, Health Data, Machine Learning), and a set of common challenges proposed by the sister BioHackathon organised in Japan.

Discussion around a table


  • Advance the development of an open source infrastructure for data integration to accelerate scientific innovation. We will focus on technology implementations such as FAIR, identifiers, metadata standards, ontologies and metadata catalogues that support the operations across ELIXIR Platforms (Compute, Data, Interoperability, Tools, and Training).
  • Engage technical people in the bioinformatics community inside and outside ELIXIR to work together on topics of common interest aligned to ELIXIR activities
  • Strengthen the interactions with ELIXIR Platforms and Communities to establish and reinforce collaborations through hands-on programming activities.
Three people showing their painting

Expenses and funding

Registration for the BioHackathon is free, however you will have to pay your own travel, food and accommodation expenses. ELIXIR will pay expenses for a limited number of participants for accepted projects. More information will be published as it becomes available.

Please be aware that those who register as face-to-face participants must stay at the venue for the duration of the event. This is to optimise the value of on-site interaction and collaboration.

Discussion over a laptop


New developments

  • Integrating prototypes, proof-of-concept proposals or drafts into production

Existing developments and resources

  • Testing new versions
  • Gathering information for new features
  • Reaching out to new users
  • improving awareness
  • Receive input from experts in a different field

Personal and community building

  • Learning collaboratively with peers
  • Sharing interests to organise or grow communities
  • Meet and make new contacts

Hacking projects

For the 2021 BioHackathon, 37 projects have been chosen. The topics align with the current interest of life science communities at large. These include standardised workflows, containerisation, schemas and identifiers, ontology tooling, metadata validation, and training.


Code of Conduct

The ELIXIR Code of Conduct has been created so all participants at ELIXIR events organised and/or funded by the ELIXIR Hub can interact with each other in a respectful and safe environment, and have avenues to turn to in case they believe there has been a breach to this Code of Conduct.

Industry engagement

People from diverse companies are encouraged to participate. If you have any questions, for example regarding the scope of the event, contact the ELIXIR Industry Officer:
Kathi Lauer

Industry flyer

“It was an amazing experience...Two teams embraced our challenge to demonstrate the validity of edge computing. We reached our goal of connecting with the bioinformatics community and creating awareness for a new technology. No doubt we will participate in the future.”

- Natalia Jimenez