Infodemiology for the Future of Digital and Public Health

Explore practical applications and insights of infodemiology to discover breakthrough connections in Digital and Public Health using open social, demographic, and health data

COVID-19 Disclaimer and Information

Due to unforeseen circumstances regarding COVID-19, STEM Fellowship has taken the initiative to make the Big Data Challenge take place entirely online. This means that there will be absolutely no need to attend in-person workshops and training sessions, and everything will be delivered online.

What is Big Data Challenge?

The Big Data Challenge (BDC) for undergraduate students is an inquiry-driven experiential learning program that invites students from across the country to strengthen their problem-solving and critical thinking skills while gaining familiarity with the fundamentals of data science.

How It Works

  • Form and register teams of up to 4.
  • Participants are offered data science workshops, various analytical tools like SAS, Python, and Machine Learning, as well as mentorship from experts in academia and industry.
  • Teams submit their results as research manuscripts.
  • The finalists are then invited to defend their findings in front of a panel of experts to compete for prizes.
  • All submitted abstracts are published in the peer-reviewed STEM Fellowship Journal through the NRC Research Press.
  • The BDC will take place from May 22 to 31, 2021, with the finale event held in mid-July.
  • All aspects of the BDC will occur online.

About the Event


Explore practical applications and insights of infodemiology to discover breakthrough connections in Digital and Public Health using open social, demographic, and health data.

Through this challenge, students will:

  •  Investigate how people search and navigate the internet for health-related information, as well as how they communicate and share this information, to provide valuable insights into the health-related behaviour of populations.
  • Identify types of viral health information/misinformation patterns, and suggest solutions and decisions in various areas of health and science communication that impact both individuals and the general public.
  • Collect and analyze data to investigate the validity of health claims within the media, by critically considering the implications of the data and attempting to establish objectivity.
  • Characterise, understand, and predict the public health and socioeconomic effects of potentially disingenuous health claims within the media.

For more details about the Big Data Challenge, please read the welcome document below.


Hoffmann-La Roche Infodemic Research Solution Awards
1st Prize: $1000 + Publication
2nd Prize: $600
3rd Prize: $400

Overleaf Outstanding Science Communication Awards
1st Prize: $1000 + Publication
2nd Prize: $600
3rd Prize: $400

JMIR Infodemic Innovation Award

$1000  + Publication

Scholarly publication of manuscripts for 3 winning projects in the peer-reviewed STEM Fellowship Journal, published by the NRC Research Press.

JMIR Internships

For select competition winners, JMIR Publications will be providing internship opportunities allowing students to work on projects related to Infodemiology. JMIR Publications is one of the first open–access publishers in the world, helping scientists disseminate innovations, ideas, protocols, and research results to the widest possible audience.  They innovate in the scholarly communication space itself, experimenting with novel metrics, new business models, new models of peer review and dissemination, and new technologies.


Here are samples of last year’s workshops to give you an idea of this year’s live, interactive workshops. This year, we will have workshops that focus on statistics, data manipulation, data analysis, machine learning, and more! We encourage you to read these ahead of time to help prepare you for the upcoming BDC.


You do not need previous experience with programming, although it is recommended. We welcome all students who are eager to put effort into learning and expanding their skillsets, as well as those who show any level of interest in data science or the challenge topic. Additionally, we will provide you with access to resources and webinars to learn everything you need to succeed!

We encourage participants to start forming teams before the event. You may also register and participate on your own or request to be placed into a team after registration. It is also recommended to make interdisciplinary teams given the nature of some of our data challenge topics. Each team is encouraged to have at least one member having a medicine, life sciences, biology or a related field. This is recommended and not mandatory.

Think about what interests you the most in the field of the provided topic. Reflect on your day-to-day; talk to your friends and professional network from academia and industry; explore emerging technologies and platforms; read the internet and research articles. In hackathons like these, many teams come up with their topics in the first few days of the challenge, rather than beforehand.

No, students from any country can sign up. The IUBDC is not limited to Canadians.

Undergraduate and graduate students can register for the Big Data Challenge.

Yes, students do not necessarily have to represent the university at which they are studying.