CD2H Dream Competition Deadline Feb 15

Deadline for initial Idea Competition proposals: February 15, 2019

What is a DREAM Challenge?

The DREAM Challenges are an open science and collaborative challenge framework. A DREAM Challenge poses one or more questions within a scientific domain to the biomedical research community to spur innovative solutions. DREAM has successfully run over 50 Challenges in multiple disease and biomedical domains spanning basic, translational, and clinical research.

Examples of previous Challenges include:

  • Prediction of drug sensitivity in cell lines using genomic data. [link]
  • Prediction of patient outcomes in metastatic prostate cancer using clinical trial data. [link]
  • Assessment and comparison of variant detection algorithms from DNA sequencing. [link]
  • To learn more about previous DREAM Challenges please visit the DREAM Challenge home page

CTSA National Center for Data Health (CD2H) DREAM Challenges

The CD2H is bringing DREAM Challenges to the CTSA Program to help promote the collaborative development and dissemination of innovative informatics solutions to accelerate translational science and improve patient care. The CTSA Program houses a wealth of innovative ideas, data, and clinical and translational expertise. The CD2H DREAM Challenges will help leverage these strengths and provide a platform to facilitate cross hub collaboration and productive industry partnerships. The benchmarks, algorithms, and other solutions developed through the CD2H DREAM Challenges will help advance the use of cutting-edge informatics across the CTSA Program and beyond.

Opportunities for engagement with CD2H DREAM Challenges:

  • Propose a scientific question through the CD2H Idea Competition (see below)
  • Champion a challenge
  • Contribute data
  • Form a team and participate in an active DREAM Challenge
  • Pilot a DREAM Challenge solution at your hub

What is the CD2H Idea Competition?

The Idea Competition is designed to solicit ideas and proposals from the CTSA community for a future DREAM Challenge. The winner of the CD2H Idea Competition will be awarded a subcontract for up to $100K to support activities associated with the development and execution of a challenge, that include (a) data extraction and curation (b) algorithm development and assessment, and (c) domain expert support.

The ideal “Idea” +proposal should pose a question that is solvable, measurable, and of broad interest to the CTSA biomedical community. Example Challenges might include:

  • Prediction of 30-day readmission or patient disease risk.
  • Inference of patient diagnosis.
  • Assessment of Natural Language Processing algorithms against a gold-standard data set.
  • Comparison of clinical trial matching algorithms.

Open call for proposals

Who should apply?

  • Any investigator or staff member affiliated with a CTSA.
  • Eligibility criteria
  • Proposals will be accepted from any researcher, clinician, or staff member affiliated with an institution that has a CTSA Hub with a current UL1 award.
  • Proposals must include a letter of support from the affiliated CTSA hub’s principal investigator.
  • Individuals affiliated with sites that receive subcontracts from CD2H are not eligible for this competition.

How to apply?

  • Submit a 1-2 page proposal, addressing the questions listed here
  • Submit a letter of support from the principal investigator at your CTSA hub
  • Deadline for initial proposals and letters of support: February 15, 2019
  • Next stages of competition:
March 8, 2019 6 semi-finalists announced and proposals further developed with input from CD2H
April 5, 2019 Final proposals due
April 19, 2019 3 finalists selected to present their proposals at a public CD2H Show and Tell event
May 3, 2019 CD2H Idea Competition Presentations at CD2H Show and Tell (feedback submitted by community)
May 17, 2019 CD2H Idea Competition winner announced and subcontract awarded

Proposal review criteria:

Scientific questions

  • Relevance: address a meaningful and high-interest problem in the biomedical community.
  • Solvability: poses a question that is answerable given existing data and knowledge.
  • Measurability: results in an answer (or prediction) that can be assessed for correctness against a gold-standard.


  • Most Challenges are “data challenges” that require data sets that are used for the training and validation of algorithms. Proposals will be evaluated on having identified relevant data sets – in the public and/or private domain – that can be used by challenge participants to develop and assess algorithms.
  • Ability to carry out the challenge
  • Appropriate domain or methodological expertise

Support for the winner:

  • The winner of the CD2H Idea Competition will receive a subcontract up to $100k. The subcontract will be awarded directly to the researcher, clinician, or staff member who will be playing a leading role in running the associated DREAM Challenge.
  • Subcontract funds to support the involvement of the winning team in running the challenge in collaboration with CD2H. Funds can be used to cover:
    • Data acquisition and curation costs
    • FTE support



Please submit your proposal and letter of support to

Please send all questions to