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?

We call for the global student talent to carry inquiry into business, geographical, socioeconomic, gender, race, and all aspects of the healthcare supply chain and health economics. We challenge students to use Open Data and Open Science in combination with computational thinking and machine learning to find and develop ideas and solutions for sustainable health economics.

The Inter-University Big Data Challenge (IUBDC) is a unique inquiry-driven, experiential learning program that invites students from any undergraduate or graduate program to apply their problem-solving while gaining familiarity with the fundamentals of data science. The IUBDC fosters scientific inquiry, pioneering thinking, and a solution-focused mindset to drive innovative ideas in health economics, public health, and health supply chain management.

About the Event

The ongoing pandemic demonstrated how health became a defining factor of regional and global economies as well as personal and public life. It created bottlenecks in health economics including everything from health equipment and drug manufacturing to patient care, its affordability and financing. Every step from the beginning of drugs and medical or PPE equipment manufacturing, distribution, and use that makes up the healthcare supply chain is now under severe strain. This has led to shortages of vaccines, medicine and toilet paper, masks, live-saving ventilators, and more.

Sustainable health economics is a solution to the healthcare supply chain crunch, placing emphasis on practices that eliminate the bottlenecks that currently exist, and can extend to more affordable healthcare or motivate better allocation of funding.

Why Participate?

  • Develop analytical and computational thinking by using modern techniques in the context of current, real-world challenges.
  • Use data visualization to present innovative ideas.
  • Engage in an interdisciplinary, problem space led by student-driven inquiry.
  • Practice scientific writing and get the chance to publish your ideas in the peer-reviewed STEM Fellowship Journal, Canada’s largest publisher of international scientific journals.
  • Network with individuals within industry and academia throughout the competition, in solving common goals.
  • Win monetary and academic prizes funded by our sponsors.

Challenge Information

Teams of up to 4 students will be provided with datasets, workshops, learning resources, mentorship, and tools for data analysis to undertake exploratory analysis of sustainable energy. Data analysis is combined with scientific writing, insofar that the teams present their research findings in the form of scientific manuscripts, which are then evaluated by academics and industry professionals. All aspects of the BDC, including the delivery of workshops, resources, and mentorship, will occur online and are equally accessible to all students regardless of their location or other circumstances.



Research Solution Award
1st Prize: $1000 + Publication ($ARV)
2nd Prize: $600
3rd Prize: $400

Science Communication Award
1st Prize: $1000 + Publication ($ARV)
2nd Prize: $600
3rd Prize: $400

Most Applicable Solution Award


 Innovation Award

$1000 + Publication ($ARV)


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.