High-School Big Data Challenge

The STEM Fellowship Big Data Challenge (BDC) is a unique inquiry-based learning program that enables high school students to strengthen their critical thinking and problem-solving skills while gaining familiarity with data science. By encouraging students to conduct research projects to collaboratively address issues of real-world significance, the BDC fosters the development of young leaders, innovators and digital citizens.

How it works: Teams of up to 4 students are provided with data sets, workshops, learning resources and tools for data analysis. We present the general competition theme, within which you define a research topic of interest. With the guidance of peer and expert mentors, teams then undertake exploratory analysis of open data to develop sustainable solutions to local and global issues. At the end of the competition, teams submit their research findings in the form of a scientific manuscript. The top teams are invited to present their findings in front of a panel of industry and academic experts in the field.

All abstracts and the top finalists’ full papers will be published by the open access, peer-reviewed STEM Fellowship Journal, published by the NRC Research Press!

The best part is you don’t even need to have prior data science knowledge to join! We deliver webinars and workshops teaching you the basics to get you started on your research!

Check out our full itinerary here.

Computational Thinking

The ability to translate aggregates of data into abstract concepts and conduct data-based reasoning.

Design Mindset

The ability to create solutions in contexts where only part of the requirements are known.

Social Intelligence

The ability to participate in the collaborative construction of solutions.

Digital Citizenship

The ability to utilize information technology in order to engage in society.


Publication and Awards

All interested mentees will have the opportunity to submit their scientific viewpoints for publication. Each year, the author of the top scientific viewpoints will be awarded with free or discounted publications (sponsored by the SFJ). In 2021, $1400 of discounted publication fees were offered as awards (subject to change). For more information on the STEM Fellowship Journal, please visit: https://journal.stemfellowship.org/journal/sfj

Please see below for the past winners.

The 2018 STEM Fellowship Big Data Challenge was an incredible experience. The Challenge helped me develop skills in the field of analytics, and taught me the importance of big data in the modern world; the mentorships, online training, and connections I received were invaluable. If you are a high school student, I would highly recommend participating in this incredible program – you won’t regret it! I am endlessly grateful to have had the chance to participate.

Katherine Gotovsky



If interested in becoming a sponsor, please e-mail bigdata@stemfellowship.org for more information