Collaboration between government and research community to respond to covid-19: Israel’s case

Mor Peleg, Amnon Reichman, Sivan Shachar, Tamir Gadot, Meytal Avgil Tsadok, Maya Azaria, Orr Dunkelman, Shiri Hassid, Daniella Partem, Maya Shmailov, Elad Yom-Tov, Roy Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Triggered by the COVID-19 crisis, Israel’s Ministry of Health (MoH) held a virtual data-thon based on deidentified governmental data. Organized by a multidisciplinary committee, Israel’s research community was invited to offer insights to help solve COVID-19 policy challenges. The Datathon was designed to develop operationalizable data-driven models to address COVID-19 health policy challenges. Specific relevant challenges were defined and diverse, reliable, up-to-date, deidentified governmental datasets were extracted and tested. Secure remote-access research envi-ronments were established. Registration was open to all citizens. Around a third of the applicants were accepted, and they were teamed to balance areas of expertise and represent all sectors of the community. Anonymous surveys for participants and mentors were distributed to assess usefulness and points for improvement and retention for future datathons. The Datathon included 18 multi-disciplinary teams, mentored by 20 data scientists, 6 epidemiologists, 5 presentation mentors, and 12 judges. The insights developed by the three winning teams are currently considered by the MoH as potential data science methods relevant for national policies. Based on participants’ feedback, the process for future data-driven regulatory responses for health crises was improved. Participants expressed increased trust in the MoH and readiness to work with the government on these or future projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-238
JournalJournal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • COVID-19
  • Data
  • Datathon
  • Emergency management
  • Evidence-based regulation
  • Hackathon
  • Health policy
  • Innovative regulation, privacy
  • Open innovation
  • Public confidence
  • Public engagement
  • Public-private interface
  • Trust of experts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)


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