• Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, the DIRISA Datathon will be held as a virtual event.
  • The DIRISA Datathon will run from 1 February to 4 February 2021. A breakdown for each day will be provided in due course.
  • The competition will start daily at 8am and end at 6pm.


  • The theme for the DIRISA Datathon 2020 is to provide South African Solutions to the current COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • These solutions are not limited to a specific research area. The research can be in any research area such as Education, Health, Economics etc. This will not be limited.
  • The solutions needs to just be within the realms of the theme.
  • Additional rules for the datathon can be view on here.


  • Slack will be used as the official communication platform. This will be setup by the DIRISA team and each of the teams will have their own slack channel which can be used for communicating and sharing code. Please ensure that you download slack on your laptops and cellphones.
  • For presentation purposes, the ZOOM platform will be used. DIRISA currently holds a ZOOM licence and therefore there will be no time limits that will restrict presentations.
  • Emails to the DIRISA team members can also still be used as a form of communication.
  • If each team wants to create additional whatsapp group, they are welcome to do so. However, the DIRISA team will only use Slack and emails to communicate.

Internet and Technology

  • Due to the datathon being virtual, we expect that you have reliable internet connection to participate with your team members.
  • We also expect that you provide your own laptop that can be used for the datathon.

Pitching / Presentation

  • You will be required to present your solutions on 4 February 2021.
  • Each team will be allocated 20 minutes slot – 15 minutes presentation and 5 minutes for questions by the judging panel.
  • The judging criteria can be viewed here.
  • Each team is expected to share their final code and presentation deck BEFORE the final presentation.


Prizes to be announced in due course.


To be announced in due course.

Judging Criteria

Judging will be based on the following categories:

  • Problem Statement. Did the team adequately define their problem? Is their problem relevant to the theme of the datathon?
  • Relevance of Data. Are the datasets used relevant to solving the problem?
  • Approach and Feasibility. Did the team follow a systematic and scientific approach towards solving their problem? Is the solution feasible?
  • Societal impact and Theme. Does the proposed solution solve a societal problem within the South African Context? Does the solution meet the theme of the datathon?
  • Presentation and communication of findings. Did the team provide clear and informative visuals to present their findings? How well did the team present their solution?
  • Innovation and Creativity. Does the chosen problem and provided solution show innovation and creativity?