Wellcome Data Prizes

A series of prizes that will use data to transform how science solves urgent health challenges.

The Wellcome Data Prizes will be an opportunity for multidisciplinary teams to receive funding and support to use existing data to answer important research questions. The challenges we'll be focusing on are: climate and health, infectious disease, mental health and discovery research.

Participants will co-create digital solutions such as new software packages, algorithms or scripts. 

What are data prizes?

Data prizes are an open competition or challenge where participants use data to solve a societal problem. 

They are increasingly used to find solutions to complex issues and can be especially powerful for areas blocked by siloed research fields, where funding is limited, or when there is a lack of motivation because progress has slowed. 

Our design principles 

We have designed the prizes to prioritise inclusivity, creativity and multidisciplinarity. Our goals are to:

Get the broadest range of people to contribute to and benefit from equitable solutions 

Solving urgent global health problems requires a range of different perspectives. Yet, most health research happens in established research communities. We will reach out to people from beyond our usual networks and bring together ideas from people with a range of experiences and data-related skills. This will include researchers, people with lived experience, policy makers, community leaders and businesses in different parts of the world. 

Put co-creativity at the heart 

Our data prizes have been designed to make sure the participation of different groups is at the centre of the projects we fund. We will value lived experience and partner with the communities we’re working with.  

Raise awareness around the health challenge and inspire solutions 

We will talk about our work openly and share what we’re learning during this process. We want to inspire policy and decision makers to think about new approaches to developing digital tools to address global health challenges.

Wellcome Data Prize in Mental Health 

The Wellcome Data Prize in mental health will support collaborative approaches to research into anxiety and depression in young people. Teams in the UK and South Africa will explore existing data to find new insights and build digital tools that enable future research. 

Applications are open from April-June 2022. Visit the funding page to apply. 

Who we're working with

We have partnered with Social Finance to deliver the first data prize, working with Wellcome’s data for science and health and mental health teams. We’ve chosen this partner because they bring expertise in health and social care, data and digital technology, and involving children and young people.

Have a look at the lessons learnt so far.

With the prize, we want to: 

   1. Gain fresh insights from existing data  

We will use data related to mental health to understand which ‘active ingredients’ prevent, treat, or help manage ongoing anxiety and depression in young people (aged 14-24). We will prioritise datasets that could be used in new ways to offer insights into the social and environmental context of mental health.

This includes data sources created both inside and outside of academia, like data on medication use, access to green space, financial situation, cognitive processes, genetics and personal relationships.

   2. Build a multidisciplinary mental health data community 

Young people’s priorities will be at the heart of the data prize’s scope and design. We want to demonstrate how people with mental health research backgrounds, data expertise and lived experience can work together. We will involve people with lived experience because we value their important (and often missing) insight on mental health research priorities. 

   3. Create trustworthy digital tools with tangible impact 

We want to show how to build trustworthy digital tools that really make a difference to future research into youth anxiety and depression.  

Contact us 

If you've got a question about the Mental Health Data Prize or if you know of data sources that might be relevant for the Prize, email our partner Social Finance at dataprize@socialfinance.org.uk. 

For any questions or ideas about the Data Prizes more generally, email dataprize@wellcome.org

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