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Combining Data Skills, Knowledge, and Networks to Save our Planet

- March 9, 2022 in Featured, Frictionless Data, News, Open Knowledge, Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Research, Open Science, Our Work

Originally published on: During these past tumultuous years, it has been striking to witness the role that information has played in furthering suffering: misinformation, lack of data transparency, and closed technology have worsened the pandemic, increased political strife, and hurt climate policy. Building on these observations, the team at Open Knowledge Foundation are refocusing our energies on how we can come together to empower people, communities, and organisations to create and use open knowledge to solve the most urgent issues of our time, including climate change, inequality, and access to  knowledge. Undaunted by these substantial challenges, we entered 2022 with enthusiasm for finding ways to work together, starting with climate data. To start this year fresh and inspired, we convened two gatherings of climate researchers, activists, and organisations to brainstorm ways to collaborate to make open climate data more usable, accessible, and impactful. Over 30 experts attended the two sessions, from organisations around the world, and we identified and discussed many problems in the climate data space. We confirmed our initial theory that many of us are working siloed and that combining skills, knowledge and networks can result in a powerful alliance across tech communities, data experts and climate crisis activists.  Now, we want to share with you some common themes from these sessions and ask: how can we work together to solve these pressing climate issues? A primary concern of attendees was the disconnect between how (and why) data is produced and how data can (and should) be used. This disconnect shows up as frictions for data use:  we know that much existing “open” data isn’t actually usable.  During the call, many participants mentioned they frequently can’t find open data, and even when they can find it, they can’t easily access it. Even when they can access the data, they often can’t easily use it.  So why is it so hard to find, access, and use climate data? First, climate data is not particularly well standardised or curated,  and data creators need better training in data management best practices. Another issue is that many climate data users don’t have technical training or knowledge required to clean messy data, greatly slowing down their research or policy work. 

How will the Open Knowledge Foundation fix the identified problems? Skills, standards and community. 

An aim for this work will be to bridge the gaps between data creators and users. We plan to host several workshops in the future to work with both these groups, focusing on identifying both skills gaps and data gaps, then working towards capacity building.  Our goal with capacity building will be to give a data platform to those most affected by climate change. How do we make it easier for less technical or newer data users to effectively use climate data?  Our future workshops will focus on training data creators and users with the Open Knowledge Frictionless Data tooling to better manage data, create higher quality data, and share data in impactful ways that will empower trained researchers and activists alike. For instance, the Frictionless toolbox can help data creators generate clean data that is easy to understand, share, and use, and the new Frictionless tool Livemark can help data consumers easily share climate data with impactful visualisations and narratives.  Another theme that emerged from the brainstorm sessions was the role data plays in generating knowledge versus the role knowledge plays in generating data, and how this interplay can be maximised to create change. For instance, we need to take a hard look at how “open” replicates cycles of inequalities. Several people brought up the great work citizen scientists are doing for climate research, but how these efforts are rarely recognised by governments or other official research channels. So much vital data on local impacts of climate change are being lost as they aren’t being incorporated into official datasets. How do we make data more equitable, ensuring that those being most affected by climate change can use data to tell their stories?  We call on data organisations, climate researchers, and activists to join us in these efforts. How can we best work together to solve pressing climate change issues? Would you like to partner with us for workshops, or do you have other ideas for collaborations? Let us know! We would like to give our utmost thanks to the organisations that joined our brainstorming sessions for paving the way in this important work. To continue planning this work, we are creating a space to talk in our Frictionless Data community chat, and we invite all interested parties to join us. We are currently migrating our community from Discord to Slack. We encourage you to join the Slack channel, which will soon be populated with all Frictionless community members: (We also have a Matrix mirror if you prefer Matrix: Finally, we’d like to share this list of resources that attendees shared during the calls: 

Microsoft to support Open Data Day 2022

- March 3, 2022 in News, Open Data Day, Open Knowledge Foundation

Today, we are pleased to announce that Microsoft will once again be supporting Open Data Day by providing mini-grants to organisations to help them run events, the call will launch on Open Data Day 2022. Photo from Microsoft supported event on Open Data Day 2021, run by Riva Quiroga from Chile. Read their event report here. What’s this about?  Open Data Day is an annual, global celebration of open data. Each year, 300+ groups from around the world create local events to:
  • show the benefits of open data in their local community; and 
  • encourage the adoption of open data policies in government, business and civil society. 
Find out more on the Open Data Day website.   Microsoft Supporting Open Data Day For the second year in a row, we are delighted to welcome Microsoft’s support for the mini-grant programme. For Open Data Day 2022, Microsoft’s Open Data Campaign is contributing $10K to support at least 10 mini-grants from around the world, connecting knowledge and open data with active communities to transform both into actions.  Unlike past years, our Open Data Day grants will launch on the 5th of March to support events in the upcoming months,  all over the World.  The grants will support selected registered institutions and the amount to apply for would be up from USD 1000 to up to USD 1500 for in-person events only.  The grants will favour work across disciplines and targeted to concrete campaigns and advocacy efforts to support the Paris Agreement and local efforts tackling climate change. Microsoft will support 8 to 10 projects within this range. The events could take place from mid-March until August 31st.  There will be a special category of USD$1000 grants for events related to Ocean Data, and Microsoft will support at least three projects with grants.  The results will be showcased during the International Day of Access to Public Information.  Last year, Microsoft funded events in 17 countries across Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. These included Code for Pakistan’s analysis of tree planting in Pakistan workshops to analyse educational data in Latin America and open data workshops for journalism students in Guatemala [Spanish]. For the full list of Microsoft supported Open Data Day 2021 events, check out the Open Data Day Annual Report How can I get involved? Open Data Day is a community event. Everyone is encouraged to participate.  The next Open Data Day takes place on March 5th 2022. Further details of this year’s mini-grant scheme will be launched during the Open Data Day for in-person activities. In the meantime, why not check out the list of resources available on the Open Data Day website, and start planning your Open Data Day 2022 event!  If you would like to join Microsoft as an Open Data Day partner, please email to find out more.

An urgent call for peace and solidarity

- March 3, 2022 in Open Knowledge Foundation

At the Open Knowledge Foundation, we urge to ramp up all the diplomatic and political efforts for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and that ceasefire to extend to all the countries and regions in the World suffering the brutality of war. We strongly condemn the indiscriminate attacks and forced displacement that the Russian government is inflicting on millions of civilians as well as the crackdown against their own citizens broadly opposing the war. The immediate cessation of hostilities and a permanent peace must be the objective, to be followed by justice and accountability. We send our solidarity to all the advocates for peace in Russia, Belarus and neighbouring countries, where many members of the communities that we collaborate with, live, and work in advancing knowledge and education as tools for peace and better government. We also put our skills and tools at the service of the communities trying to assist the urgent humanitarian efforts on their way. We call our communities to put their knowledge and skills urgently at the service of internationalist solidarity, cooperation and peace.

Data that empowers: LAC perspectives on data governance

- February 18, 2022 in News, Open Data, Open Government Data, Open Knowledge, Open Knowledge Foundation, Our Work, Transparency

A few weeks ago we had a conversation in the Statistical Conference of the Americas about Data Governance. This brief post is a follow up of some of the concepts and ideas that we shared in the panel.

Transparency as a Holistic Approach

As citizens and members of the Civil Society, a huge challenge we face in the upcoming years on Data Governance is Transparency. Not transparency as it is commonly known (Governments providing access to their data), but transparency as a holistic approach for the methods behind opening data. What do we mean with transparency as a holistic approach?
It means that not only should the data be accessible but also the processes that lead to the production of that data (where was it taken from, and how?) and the analyses and interpretation of the data itself (how do we arrive at this metric/value/conclusion?)

Issues with the lack of a holistic approach to Transparency on Data Governance

Let us clarify with an example. During the national elections of Bolivia in 2019 a report of the Organization of American States concluded: “it is statistically unlikely that Morales would have obtained the 10% difference to avoid a second round.” [1] Given the political context in Bolivia, this affirmation had tremendous implications. In order to have a healthy debate about it, the first question to ask is: “How did you arrive at that conclusion? Can you show me the data, and the statistical processes used so that I can validate what you are saying?” But the information provided in the preliminary report wasn’t enough to start answering those follow-up questions. And so, there was no possibility (at that point in time) to have a debate about their conclusion. The only option available was to believe what the persons were saying and what was written in a PDF report. A healthy public debate requires transparent data and processes. We should have the capacity (and the tools) to review and assess all the processes that lead to conclusions printed out in PDF reports. This concept is not new,the scientific process is based on peer reviews and reproducible research, so good Data Governance should include them as well. It is time for Governments, Consultancy Firms and Organisations to open both their processes and data so their conclusions and assessments are not only based on reputation. We need the capacity to challenge and review the conclusions printed out in long PDF reports.

What’s our proposal?

Healthy public debates should take place with clear and reproducible analysis that allows others to follow the same steps and arrive at the same conclusions. We believe in open and transparent information and we build tools to make it easier for everyone. We recently launched Livemark, a data presentation framework for Python that generates static sites from extended Markdown with interactive charts, tables and scripts. Livemark is an excellent tool, not only to communicate reports and assessment but to do so in a clear and transparent way. It allows journalists and researchers to display the analysis and statistical processes made to reach the presented conclusions. For a more open and transparent future, we require open and transparent communication and Livemark, alongside all our Frictionless Framework, is our proposal to it.

Frictionless Planet – Save the Date

- January 10, 2022 in Events, News, Open Data, Open Knowledge, Open Knowledge Foundation

We believe that an ecosystem of organisations combining tools, techniques and strategies to transform datasets relevant to the climate crisis into applied knowledge and actionable campaigns can get us closer to the Paris agreement goals. Today, scientists, academics and activists are working against the clock to save us from the greatest catastrophe of our times. But they are doing so under-resourced, siloed and disconnected. Sometimes even facing physical threats or achieving very local, isolated impact. We want to reverse that by activating a cross-sectoral sharing process of tools, techniques and technologies to open the data and unleash the power of knowledge to fight against climate change. We already started with the Frictionless Data process – collaborating with researcher groups to better manage ocean research data and openly publish cleaned, integrated energy data – and we want to expand an action-oriented alliance leading to cross regional, cross sectoral, sustainable collaboration. We need to use the best tools and the best minds of our times to fight the problems of our times.  We consider you-your organisation- as leading thinkers-doers-communicators leveraging technology and creativity in a unique way, with the potential to lead to meaningful change and we would love to invite you to an initial brainstorming session as we think of common efforts, a sustainability path and a road of action to work the next three years and beyond.  What will we do together during this brainstorming session? Our overarching goal is to make open climate data more useful. To that end, during this initial session, we will conceptualise ways of cleaning and standardising open climate data, creating more reproducible and efficient methods of consuming and analysing that data, and focus on ways to put this data into the hands of those that can truly drive change.  WHAT TO BRING?
  • An effort-idea that is effective and you feel proud of at the intersection of digital and climate change.
  • A data problem you are struggling with.
  • Your best post-holidays smile.
When? 13:30 GMT – 20 January – Registration open here. 20:30 GMT – 21 January – Registration opening here. Limited slots, 25 attendees per session. 

100+ Conversations to inspire our new Direction

- January 10, 2022 in News, OKI Projects, Open Knowledge, Open Knowledge Foundation, Our Work

It has been almost two decades since OKF was founded. Back then, the open movement was navigating uncharted waters, with hope and optimism. We created new standards, engaged powerful actors and achieved change in government, science and access to knowledge and education, unleashing the power of openness, collaboration and community in the early digital days. You were a key mind in shaping the movement with your ideas and contributions. Now, the World changed again. Digital power structures are in the hands of a few corporations, controlling not only the richest datasets but also what we see, read and interact with. The climate crisis is aggravated by our digital dependencies. Inequality is rampant and the benefits of the digital transition are once again, unevenly distributed. We transferred racism and prejudices of the past to the technologies of the future, and the permissionless openness we enabled and encouraged led in some cases to new forms of extractivism and exploitation. What is the role of Open Knowledge Foundation to face the new challenges of “open” and the new threats to a “knowledge society and economy”? Which are the most urgent and important areas of action? Who are the partners we need to bring in to gain relevance and traction? Who are the allies we need to get closer to? Priorities? Areas of opportunity? Areas of caution? We are meeting 100+ people to discuss the future of open knowledge, as we write our new strategy, which will be shaped by a diverse set of visions from artists, activists, academics, archivists, thinkers, policymakers, data scientists, educators and community leaders from all over the World, to update and upgrade our path of action and direction to meet the complex challenges of our times. We want these conversations to reflect the diversity in our societies and the very diverse challenges we will need to face. We are therefore gathering suggestions on people we should talk to, from as many allies as possible. Who do you think would make a difference in this conversation? Who should we go and talk to? Please let us know your suggestion via this form. Stay tuned to know more about these conversations and the outcome they will have on our strategy ahead. The collaborative strategy will be validated by our board of directors and network, and it will be launched this year.

Working with UNHCR to better collect, archive and re-use data about some of the world’s most vulnerable people

- January 7, 2022 in ckan, Interviews, News, OKI Projects, Open Knowledge, Open Knowledge Foundation

Since 2018, the team at Open Knowledge Foundation has been working with the Raw Internal Data Library (RIDL) project team at UNHCR to build an internal library of data to support evidence-based decision making by UNHCR and its partners.

What’s this about? 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a global organisation ‘dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people’.

Around the world, at least 82 million people have been forced to flee their homes. Many of these people are refugees and asylum seekers. Over half are internally displaced within the border of their own country. The vast majority of these people are hosted in developing countries. Learn more here.

UNHCR has a presence in 125 countries, with 90%+ of staff based in the field. An important dimension of their work involves collecting and using data – to understand what’s happening, to which people, where it’s happening and what should be done about it. 

In the past, managing this data has been a huge challenge. Data was collected in a decentralised manner. It was then stored, archived, and processed in a decentralised manner. This meant that much of the value of this data was lost. Insights were undiscovered. Opportunities missed. 

In 2019, the UNHCR released its Data Transformation Strategy 2020 – 2025 – with the vision of UNHCR becoming ‘a trusted leader on data and information related to refugees and other affected populations, thereby enabling actions that protect, include and empower’.

The Raw Internal Data Library (RIDL)  supports this strategy by creating a safe, organized place for UNHCR to store its data , with metadata that helps staff find the data they need and enables them to re-use it in multiple types of analysis. 

Since 2018, the team at Open Knowledge Foundation have been working with the RIDL team to build this library using CKAN –  the open source data management system. 

OKF spoke with Mariann Urban at UNHCR Global Data Service about the project to learn more. 

Here is an extract of that interview, which has been edited for length and clarity.

Hi Mariann. Can you start by telling us why data is important for UNHCR

MU/UNHCR: That’s a great question. Pretty much everyone at UNHCR now recognises that good data is the key to achieving meaningful solutions for displaced people. It’s important to enable evidence-based decision making and to deliver our mandate. And also, it helps us raise awareness and demonstrate the impact of our work. Data is at the foundation of what UNHCR does. It’s also important for building strong partnerships with governments and other organisations. When we share this data, anonymised where necessary, it allows our partners to design their programmes better. Data is critical to generate better knowledge and insights. Secondary usage includes indicator baseline analysis, trend analysis, forecasting, modeling etc. Data is really valuable!

What kinds of datasets does UNHCR collect and use?

MU/UNHCR: We have people working in countries all over the world, most of them in the field. Every year UNHCR spends a huge amount of money collecting data. It’s a huge investment. Much of this data collection happens at the field level, organised by our partners in operations. They collect a multitude of operational data each year.

You must have lots of interesting data. Can you give us an example of one important dataset?

MU/UNHCR: One of the most valuable datasets is our registration data. Registering refugees and asylum seekers is the primary responsibility of governments. But if they require help, UNHCR provides support in that area.

In the past, How was data collected, archived and used at UNHCR?

MU/UNHCR: Let me give you an example about how it used to be. In the past, let’s imagine, there was a data collection exercise in Cameroon. Our colleagues finished the exercise, and the data stayed in the partner organisation, or sometimes with the actual person collecting the data. It was stored on hard drives, shared drives, email accounts etc. Then, the next person who wanted to work with the data, or a similar data set probably had no access to this data, to use as a baseline, or for trends analysis.

That sounds like a problem.

MU/UNHCR: Yes! This was the problem statement that led to the idea of the Raw Internal Data Library (RIDL). Of course, we already have corporate data archiving solutions. But we realised we needed something more.

Tell us more about RIDL

MU/UNHCR: The main goal of RIDL is to stop data loss. We know that the organisation cannot capitalise on data if they are lost or forgotten, or not stored in a format that is interoperable, machine-readable, and does not include a minimum set of metadata to ensure appropriate further use.

RIDL is built on CKAN. Why is that?

MU/UNHCR: Our team had some experience with CKAN, which is already used in the humanitarian data community. UNHCR has been an active user of OCHA’s Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) platform to share aggregate data externally and we closely collaborate with its technical team. After a market research, we realised that CKAN was also a good solution for an internal library – the data is internal, but it needs to be visible to a lot of people inside the organisation. 

What about external partners and the media? Can they access RIDL datasets?

MU/UNHCR: There are some complicated issues around privacy and security. Some of the data we collect is extremely sensitive. We have to be strong custodians of this data to ensure it is used appropriately. Once we analyse the data, we can take the next step and share it externally, of course. Sometimes our data include personal identifiers, it therefore must be cleaned and anonymised to ensure that data subjects are not identifiable. Once we have a dataset that is anonymised – we use our Microdata Library to publish it externally. Thus RIDL is the first step in a long chain of sharing our data with partners, governments, researchers and the media. 

RIDL is a technological solution. But I imagine there is some cultural change required for UNHCR to reach its vision of becoming a data-enabled organisation.

MU/UNHCR: Yes of course, achieving these aspirations is not just about getting the technology right. We also have to make cultural, procedural and governance changes to become a data-enabled organisation. It’s a huge project. It needs a culture shift in UNHCR – because even if it’s internal, it’s a bit of work to convince people to upload. The metadata is always visible for everyone internally, but the actual data itself can be restricted and only visible following a request and evaluation. We want to be a trusted leader, but we also want to use that data to arrive at a better solution for refugees, to enrich our partnerships, and to enable evidence-based decision making – which is what we always aim to do.

Thanks for sharing your insights with us today Mariann. 

MU/UNHCR: No problem. It’s been a pleasure. 

Find out more

Open Knowledge Foundation is working with UNHCR to deliver the Raw Internal Data Library (RIDL). If you work outside of UNHCR, you can access UNHCR’s Microdata Library here. Learn more about CKAN here. 

If your organisation needs a Data Library solution and you want to learn more about our work, email We’d love to talk to you !

Take part in EU Open Data Days, an event focused on the benefits of open data and its reuse in the EU

- March 31, 2021 in Open Government Data, Open Knowledge Foundation

Open Knowledge Foundation are partnering with the Publications Office of the European Union for EU Open Data Days, an event to bring the benefits of open data and its reuse to the EU public sector. Below you can find details about the event in a press release republished from the Publications Office.

Participate in the first edition of the EU Open Data Days from 23-25 November 2021. This unique event will serve as a knowledge hub, bringing the benefits of open data to the EU public sector, and through it to people and businesses.

This fully online event will start with EU DataViz 2021, a conference on open data and data visualisation, on 23 and 24 November. It will close with the finale of EU Datathon, the annual open data competition, on 25 November.

Speak at EU DataViz 2021

The EU Open Data Days organising team are looking for speakers to help shape a highly relevant conference programme. Are you an expert on open data and/or data visualisation? We encourage you to share your ideas, successful projects and best practices, which can be actionable in the setting of the EU public sector.

We welcome proposals from all over the world, and from all sectors: academia, private entities, journalists, data visualisation freelancers, EU institutions, national public administrations and more. For more information, visit the EU DataViz website.

Submit your proposal for a conference contribution by 21 May 2021 here.

Compete in EU Datathon 2021

Propose your idea for an application built on open data and compete for your share of the prize fund of EUR 99 000. Demonstrate the value of open data and address a challenge related to the European Commission’ priorities.

We welcome ideas from data enthusiasts from all around the world. Check the rules of the competition and to participate, submit your proposal for an application by 21 May 2021 here.

Follow us for more information

The EU Open Data Days are organised by the Publications Office of the European Union with the support of the ISA2 programme. Find out more on the EU Open Data Days website and follow updates on Twitter @EU_opendata.

Meet our panel of experts for the Net Zero Challenge pitch contest

- March 31, 2021 in Open Knowledge Foundation

The Net Zero Challenge is a global competition to answer the following question – how can you advance climate action using open data? Our aim is to identify, promote, support and connect innovative, practical and scalable projects.

Having selected our shortlist of projects competing for the $1,000 USD prize, we have now invited all the teams to pitch their projects to our panel of experts during a live streamed virtual event on Tuesday 13th April 2021 from 15:00 to 16:00 London time. Register now to watch the event.

Our panel of experts hail from four different organisations which are leading players in the field of using open data for climate action:

Mengpin Ge is an Associate with WRI’s Global Climate Program, where she provides analytical and technical support for the Open Climate Network (OCN) and CAIT 2.0 projects. Her work focuses on analysing and communicating national and international climate policies and data to inform climate decision making towards the 2015 climate agreement.


Natalia Carfi is the Interim Executive Director for the Open Data Charter. She previously worked as the Open Government Director for the Undersecretary of Public Innovation and Open Government of Argentina where she coordinated the co-creation of the 3rd Open Government National Action Plan. She was also Open Government coordinator for the Digital Division of the Government of Chile and for the City of Buenos Aires. She is part of the Open Data Leaders Network and the Academic Committee of the International Open Data Conference. Within ODC she’s been leading the open data for climate action work, collaborating with Chile and Uruguay.


Bruno Sanchez-Andrade Nuño is the Principal Scientist at Microsoft “AI for Earth”, building the “Planetary Computer”. He has a PhD in Astrophysics, and Rocket Science postdoc. Bruno has led Big Data innovation at the World Bank Innovation Labs, served as VP Social Impact at the satellite company Satellogic and Chief Scientist at Mapbox. He published the book “Impact Science” on the role of science and research for social and environmental Impact. He was awarded Mirzayan Science Policy Fellow of the US National Academies of Science and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.


Eleanor Stewart is the Data Protection Officer & Head of Transparency at Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, where she is she is responsible for driving the necessary institutional change within the department to achieve and maintain compliance with GDPR/DPA 2018, the release of its information and supporting the UK Governments international programmes and objectives in Transparency and Open Data through the Open Government Partnership and other initiatives as well as working to embed digital methodologies and processes in the day-to-day work of a foreign affairs ministry.

Please register here to watch the Net Zero Challenge pitch contest.

This is a virtual event taking place on Tuesday 13th April 2021 from 15:00 to 16.00 London time.


Meet the projects shortlisted for the Net Zero Challenge

- March 24, 2021 in Open Knowledge Foundation

Earlier this week we announced the time and date for the Net Zero Challenge pitch contest, and invited you to register for the event here. We are now ready to announce the shortlist of projects that have made it to the second stage of the Net Zero Challenge When we launched the Net Zero Challenge in January, we were unsure how many individuals and organisations in the global open data community were already thinking about how open data could be used to advance climate action. We were overwhelmed with the response – and received almost 100 applications. It’s been hard to decide which ideas/projects should be shortlisted for the next stage. In the end, we made our choice by focusing on three key criteria: 
  • Whether the use of open data was well explained
  • Whether the results chain leading to climate action was strong
  • Whether the idea/project was scalable (from whatever stage it was already at)
The following five projects have been shortlisted: Snapshot Climate Tool [established project]  Provides greenhouse gas emission profiles for every local government region (municipality) in Australia.  CarbonGeoScales [established project]   A framework for standardising open data for GHG emissions at multiple geographical scales (built by a team from France).  Project Yarquen [project in development]  A new API tool and website to organise climate relevant open data for use by civil society organisations, environmental activists, data journalists and people interested in environmental issues (built by a team from Argentina).  Citizen Science Avian Index for Sustainable Forests [concept in development & prospective PhD]  A new biomonitoring tool that uses open data on bird observations to provide crucial information on forest ecological conditions (from South Africa).  Election Climate  [established project]   Analyses recognition of climate change issues by prospective election candidates in Brazil, enabling voters to make informed decisions about who to vote in to office.  During the pitch contest on 13th April, each of these shortlisted teams will have three minutes to pitch their project, in response to the challenge statement: How can you advance climate action using open data? Questions from our Panel of Experts (and the audience) will then be put to the teams. Pitches will be scored, and the winning team awarded $1,000 USD.Register now via Eventbrite to watch the pitch contest.