Wellcome Data Science Ideathon

Closing Date: 30/04/2023

Competition for student and researcher teams to tackle three urgent health challenges (in mental health, infectious diseases, and climate and health) through innovative data science solutions.

Founded in 1936, the Wellcome Trust is an independent foundation that seeks to improve health by supporting researchers, addressing big health challenges, campaigning for better science and encouraging everyone to get involved with science and health research.

The Trust’s Wellcome Data Science Ideathon competition is aimed at teams for data science solutions to tackle three urgent health challenges: mental health, infectious diseases, and climate and health. The Ideathon will fund data scientists with innovative ideas that can help further the Trust’s work.

Around 25 teams (semi-finalists) will be selected to attend a three-day, in-person event at the Trust’s offices in central London in July 2023 to work on and propose data science solutions to urgent health challenges facing everyone. Ten of these teams will be selected as finalists and will be eligible to win cash prizes or grants.

Teams can apply to the Ideathon as either:

  • Student teams comprising between three and five Master’s or PhD students.
  • Researcher teams comprising between three and five researchers at any career stage.

Within each challenge area, there are additional challenges as follows:

  • Mental health:
    • Long-term retention
    • Mental health trials
    • Digital interventions
  • Infectious diseases:
    • Correlates of protection
    • Qualitative data
    • Non-traditional data sources
  • Climate and health:
    • Climate and economy
    • Climate datasets
    • Methane emissions

Each health challenge will ask participants to develop and pitch ideas to solve problems through data science, which may involve: developing prototype data platforms; building bespoke machine learning models; app development; or application of natural language processing models.

An ‘Ideathon’ is similar to a ‘Hackathon’, however, there are some key differences. The Ideathon will award prizes to teams that come up with novel and innovative ideas. The Trust is not interested in ‘hacking’ insights from data, and some challenges will require no data to complete. The Ideathon was created to promote the value of team science and the event is designed to be inclusive and fun. The Trust is actively discouraging overnight or over-weekend work and will be promoting a positive research culture during the event.

If the application is successful, the full challenges will be released and teams will have two weeks to start working on these remotely before finalising the proposed solution at the Trust’s offices in London. During the time in London, participants can meet with various Wellcome Trust teams and advisors, and will also have the opportunity to hear talks from Trust staff and external guest judges. Student teams will have the chance to learn about grant writing and compete for cash prizes. Research teams will have the opportunity to develop research proposals and apply for grant funding without having to demonstrate lengthy track records.

Funding body Wellcome Trust
Maximum value £120,000
Reference ID S24908
Category Medical Research
Science and Technology
Economic and Social Research
Engineering and Physical Sciences
Fund or call Fund