A Response to COVID-19

The Companion Animal Open Data Hackathon

A unique opportunity to develop open data projects to gain exposure, work with highly qualified mentors and improve the lives of companion animals and their owners affected by COVID-19.


Get updates on the next PetHack

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Sponsored By


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We’re encouraging innovators around the world to join us for this high profile data hack using digital technologies (of their choice) across a range of suggested themes designed to find and accelerate innovative approaches to monitoring, diagnosing and controlling COVID-19’s impact on the animal health community and industry. This 100% virtual hackathon will bring together vet professionals, data scientists, data engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs to collaborate through dedicated digital channels to work with relevant open datasets and digital technologies to foster innovative solutions in the field.


We invite remote groups to work collaboratively on solutions that illustrate the impact of the pandemic on animal health related areas that can help the public, government and business to act in an informed and sustainable manner. In this first edition, the Hack will focus on addressing solutions for Companion Animals (aka pets!). Projects can take the form of written analysis or forecasts, data visualizations, live data dashboards, or any other creative solutions to develop innovative approaches to the current crisis.

The PetHack will provide you with the resources you need to explore your ideas, experiment and accelerate results. We will facilitate access to pet, animal health and coronavirus-related open data along with additional data made available by our vHive partners. Data will be made available in a powerful platform which will allow you to collaborate with others to define, develop and execute your innovative solutions and make a real difference in addressing the challenges facing the animal health sectors in times of the pandemic.

Who should join?


Vet Students & Professionals

Animal health professionals know this industry's strengths and weaknesses like no other - bring your experience to your team.


Data Enthusiasts

Data scientists, engineers, and students who can manipulate datasets and discover insights are integral to this hackathon.


Designers & Entrepreneurs

Finding elegant solutions to complex problems is a skill that is in need now, more than ever - bring your unique perspective.

Prizes and Benefits

We offer;

  1. Digital resources to explore ideas, experiment and accelerate your results
  2. Access to pet, animal health and coronavirus-related open data along with additional data made available by our partners
  3. Exposure to a team of highly qualified mentors and judges
  4. Winner projects will be highlighted in the vHive newsletter and blogs from partners.

A panel of judges will select winners and award up to £2,000 in cash prizes plus £400 in website builder vouchers.

Winner teams will have the opportunity to work with Zoetis to further their work and get access to seed funding/incubation opportunities.



Promoting connections faced by individuals with pets who are affected by isolation. Examples of questions:

  1. How is information about COVID-19 data being provisioned and shared in relation to animal health?
  2. Are there alert or monitoring systems using mobile data in place?
  3. What integrations of epidemic and economic data drives societal impact?
  4. Are there systematic data analysis methods for targeting responses in different regions, populations and age groups?
  5. What are the perceived financial pressures that might influence how pet owners take care for their animals?
  6. How many are now buying solutions for medicines online?
  7. Are individuals likely (or not) to come back to their veterinary practice for things like parasitic or dermatology treatments?


Modelling problems that animal health businesses are facing and how they can move parts of their business online. Addressing initiatives around preventative/hygiene behaviours, supporting vets, and scaling telemedicine. Examples of questions:

  1. How are big influencers in animal health addressing the needs of their consumers?
  2. What animal health businesses have been hit economically the most?
  3. What proportion (who/where) of animal health customers / consumers have been affected by COVID-19 (how / where)?
  4. What solutions are there for businesses to continue practice (eg. video-based consultations) and what are the steps needed to undergo business transformation?
  5. How have/are pet owners’ behaviours going to change in the coming months?

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The Team

Organizer Travis Street
Travis Street
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Organizer Carla Bonina
Carla Bonina
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Mentor Georgina Cherry
Georgina Cherry
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Mentor Sarah Heming
Sarah Heming
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Mentor Ruth Alafiatayo
Ruth Alafiatayo
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Mentor Alan Brown
Alan Brown
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Mentor Georgina Cherry
Katie Wallace
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Mentor Adam Lusby
Adam Lusby
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Mentor Simon Archer
Simon Archer
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Mentor Mor Rubinstein
Mor Rubinstein
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Mentor Zena Wood
Zena Wood
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Judge Alisdair Cook
Alisdair Cook
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Judge Isaac Odeyemi
Isaac Odeyemi
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Judge Amanda Burkardt
Amanda Burkardt
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The Veterinary Health Innovation Engine (vHive) at the University of Surrey is a research centre, startup and incubator supported by a co-investment of £8.5 million in resources dedicated to the development and adoption of new digital technologies in animal health.

Zoetis Inc. is the world's largest producer of medicine and vaccinations for pets and livestock.

The Initiative for Digital Economy at Exeter University is a research and teaching centre that provides practical insights and measurable impact to organisations looking to address the effects of digital disruption, and to take operational advantage of the emerging digital economy.

Open Data Soft is the global Open Data, Smart City, and API solution platform.

Virtual Recall creates automated, profitable veterinary reminders, client feedback and educational communications resulting in better compliance, sales and reducing workload.

The Pet Hack is proudly supported by funding from the University of Surrey ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

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Registrations Opens
June 15th
09:00 GMT
Registrations Closes
July 12th
23:59 GMT
Opening Ceremony
July 14th
10:00 GMT
Deadline to submit projects
July 17th
23:59 GMT
Winners and Highlighted projects will be announced
July 28th
12:00 GMT
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