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.

Calls for proposals 

We often have calls for specific projects, such as scoping work or when we’re searching for delivery partners. We’ll update this page when there are opportunities available.

You can look for other funding opportunities through our discovery research schemes.

Wellcome Data Prize in Mental Health 

We’re currently working behind the scenes to prepare for the launch of the first data prize. It will focus on improving mental health interventions for anxiety and depression in young people in the UK and South Africa. 

We expect to open applications in early 2022.

Who we're working with

We have commissioned Social Finance and DataKind UK to deliver the first data prize, working with Wellcome’s data for science and health and mental health teams. We’ve chosen these partners 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). Throughout the set-up phase in 2021, we will identify and secure access to relevant data sources. 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 

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. Young people’s priorities will be at the heart of the data prize’s scope and design, as well as during the co-creation of digital tools. 

   3. Create trustworthy digital tools with tangible impact 

Our goal is to create open source digital tools that really make a difference to youth anxiety and depression. We want to show how to build trustworthy digital tools for mental health, successfully balancing people’s privacy with the needs of open science.  

What's coming up 

Over the coming months, we'll be sharing more information about how you can participate in Wellcome's Data Prize in Mental Health. We'll publish details of the application process, upcoming Q&A events, and what funding opportunities will be available on this webpage.

Contact us 

Get in touch at dataprize@wellcome.org if you think the objectives of the Wellcome Data Prizes are relevant to your network or if you know of data sources that fit with our aims. 

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