NEW YORK, 25 January (Office of Information and Communications Technology) — The United Nations announced that a team of data scientists and developers from CKM Advisors, a consulting firm based in New York City, has won the Unite Ideas #SciTechMatcher challenge. The goal was to build a search engine for people working on solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals for accessing relevant knowledge on science, technology and innovation.
The winning solution, United Nations Opportunity Matcher, aggregates data from various reputable sources including United Nations entities and other international organizations. It allows people to find science and technology offers, requests and publications relevant to sustainable development. Easy access to science and technology information is essential to achieving sustainable development; however, relevant and reliable knowledge is difficult to find.
The CKM Advisors team was comprised of David Alper, Pranav Badami, Lorenna De La Parra Landa, Adam Emrich, Carolina Gonzalez, Elya Pardes, William Roberts, Alex Siega, Kyle Stanley, Spencer Stebbins, Einar Stennson and Marshall Van Loon.
“I decided to join the challenge because people in developing countries have a tough time getting access to clean and curated data,” said Mr. Badami. “I think this project is important because the United Nations provides a lot of valid data sources that can empower people in these developing countries.”
The Unite Ideas #SciTechMatcher challenge was launched by the Division for Sustainable Development in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in collaboration with the United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technology. The goal was to develop a prototype for an online platform of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism, which is a target of Sustainable Development Goal 17. The Mechanism is a multi-stakeholder platform to harness knowledge and innovation across both the public and private sector.
The advisers for the #SciTechMatcher challenge gave CKM’s search engine high marks for satisfying the challenge objectives and being user-friendly, while noting the accuracy of search results. The reviewers also recognized Abdulqadir Rashik for his submission, “Neuron”, and Hongping Zhang and his team for their solution, “STI [science, technology and innovation] online platform”.
“Unite Ideas brings together skilled technologists and specialists in key areas like education, humanitarian assistance, health and environmental sustainability to build innovative solutions for improving our world,” said Lambert Hogenhout, Chief Analytics, Partnerships and Innovation in the Office of Information and Communications Technology. “This kind of open-source global collaboration was impossible only a few years ago, and our generation has an unprecedented opportunity to leverage it for social good.”
During the #SciTechMatcher challenge, once CKM Advisors had aggregated more than 7,000 data points from the websites of United Nations entities and various international organizations, the team shared its results with other participants. The generous climate further underscored Unite Ideas’ potential to foster civic-minded, open-source collaboration.
If you would like to contribute to building open-source tools for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals globally, create an account on ideas.unite.un.org to receive notifications of upcoming challenges.
Unite Ideas is a crowd-sourcing platform developed by the Office of Information and Communications Technology, mobilizing data scientists and software developers globally. It fosters collaboration with civil society and United Nations offices to create open-source technology solutions in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, please visit ideas.unite.un.org.