What is the CERN Webfest?

Each year since 2012, CERN hosts an annual ‘Webfest’. This is a hackathon-style event, bringing bright minds together for a weekend to work on creative projects using open web technologies. Participants work in small teams, often designing web and mobile applications that help people engage with CERN’s research, physics, or even science in general.

Last year’s Webfest was the first to be held online, with over 400 people signing up from 75 countries across the globe. Participants worked on a wide range of exciting projects, including an online detective-themed science show for school children, a web library of LaTeX equations, an app to assist with urban planning at large research centres, a platform for sharing remote access to lab equipment, a learning-management system, and a machine-learning program to help prevent social-media content from exacerbating depression. And yes, these were all developed — or at least working prototypes were — over just one weekend! 

Find out more about the winners of Webfest 2020.                                   

Webfest 2021

The ‘Webfest’ — CERN’s annual hackathon based on open web technologies — will take place on the weekend of 21-22 August (with a pitch session on Friday 20 August, and winners announced on Monday 23 August). The hackathon is open to all and will again be held online this year, meaning that people from anywhere in the world can take part. 

CERN’s online Webfest isn’t just for those that can code: anyone with an idea, a challenge, or other skills is welcome to take part.

The theme for this year’s event is ‘science, society, sustainability’. We encourage projects that support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Projects that relate to the five SDGs to which CERN de facto contributes, are of particular interest. These SDGs are as follows:


3. Good health and well-being
4. Quality education
9. Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
16. Peace, justice and strong institutions
17. Partnerships for the goals

Projects for facilitating online science collaboration — thus reducing the need for frequent international travel — are also strongly encouraged. This picks up on the theme of last year’s Webfest and is in line with SDG:

13. Climate action

The goal is for the CERN Webfest to serve as an exemplar for how people can come together virtually — from all corners of the globe — to collaborate successfully, without the need for long-distance travel with a large CO2 footprint. Other environment-focused projects are encouraged at the Webfest too, in support of CERN’s Year of Environmental Awareness.

Join us via the web — born at CERN — to help improve our world. You can contribute as a mentor or helper too: http://cern.ch/go/fnP6.

Register to take part in the event here.

If you’d like to propose an idea to work on at the Webfest, submit it here by 17 August (23:59 CEST). 



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