How it works

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Challenge planning

5 steps to reach the goal

The aim of the program is to address cancer research related scientific question. Our goal is to support each team in its research until publication.

To reach this, we developed a 5 steps approach. This plan includes the review of each step by experts and a mid-challenge presentation to the jury. At the end of the challenge, each selected team will present their results, including a scientific poster and a publication paper draft.

Recommended milestones and time frame:

  • Definition of the research project | 4 weeks
  • State of the art | 4 weeks
  • Data selection and method | 4 weeks
  • Research and analysis | 10 weeks
  • Results and draft for a scientific paper | 2 weeks

Each milestone should be reviewed by an expert to continue.

The presentation of your project should include information such as:

  • Scientific question
  • Data used
  • Method / approach
  • Rules on how to contribute

As openness is one of the program’s core values, every contribution, database, content and piece of code used or produced within your project will be released under open licences. So, we recommend you to use the following licences:

  • Database: CC BY 4.0, CC BY SA 4.0, ODBL
  • Code: BSD, MIT, AGPL, GPL3
  • Graphic content: CC BY 4.0, CC BY SA 4.0

Any project leader, members of their team and contributors should respect the ethical charter of the program. This charter has been written by the Independent Ethics Committee of Epidemium and as the rules it applies to all participants and contributors.

Your skills

Your skills will make the difference

Remember only one rule: Epidemium is open to everyone!

All profiles are welcome: professionals, students or curious people, all keen to tackle the issues of cancer, big data and open science.

Given the issues and objectives of the projects, team leaders will have to draw on a wide range of know-how. So, whatever your area and level of expertise are, and even if you are only available on short amounts of time, the community will need you and you will find your place here.

You are still not sure whether your specific, original skills can help? Working on big data analysis for cancer research is not only a matter of big data, analysis, cancer and research. Graphic, design, legal, economical, sociological, ethical… skills will definitely be required to pursue the projects until the end. Just register and let the contributions guide you.

Your contribution

Tasks await you

There are so many ways to contribute!

Depending on how much time you have and want to dedicate to the Challenge, you will find different options on how to make a contribution. Keep in mind though that all contributions are significant. This is the true strength of collective intelligence.

As you will have informed the community about your skills while registering to the Challenge, you will be proposed different tasks related to your field of know-how by the platform. It’s up to you to take them or not! The tasks are created by the projects owners and are here to help you fit into the projects and the community.

Of course, you can contribute to as many tasks as you want and propose solutions, whether someone is already working on it or not. If this is the case, you will work hand in hand together and be all the more efficient.

Go to the platform and see the tasks or consult the Call4Action page.

You also have the possibility to be more proactive and to create your own project. This can happen any time throughout the 6 months of the season but we advise you to start early, so that you have enough time to go as far as you expect.

Then, it will be your time and your responsibility to create tasks and offer others in the community the opportunity to become contributors!

Go to the platform, register and create a project.

Anyone can be a project owner

Your project? You’re in charge!

But you will not be alone in this journey. If you read this, it means that you probably have your own idea on how to make advances in cancer research, following the rules of Epidemium’s challenges “See cancer” and “Foresee cancer”. This is good news! It means you are ready to jump in and do you best with us to fight cancer!

When you create your project, we will ask you to be the most specific you can about your goal, the data you will use, the licences you will chose… Of course nothing is set in stone but being specific will help the experts of the ecosystem guide you and it will enable you to gather more members around your project.

This is the key point to keep in mind: whether you start with an existing team or alone, your strength will come from your capacity to engage more people with you. People with different skills than yours, able to handle the tasks that will make your project go forward.

Seek the snowball effect! The more people with diverse and complementary skills join you, the more attractive your project will become and the further you will be able to go in our common fight against cancer.

The Jury

The committees (the Independent Ethics Committee and the Scientific Committee) formed a jury in order to evaluate the different projects submitted by the teams.

The Evaluation

The participants are expected to use the Wiki to present and document their projects and their hypotheses. At the end of the Challenge, we freeze each project page so that the members of the jury could make their assessments, and the pages included the following information: the project's objectives, the presentation of the team members, the final work submitted, the resources used (datasets, tools, etc.), the methodology they employed, and the future developments they imagined.

The participants are expected to use to use the available tools in the platform : Gitlab to publish the algorithms and share the specific data used in their work, and OwnCloud to share the documents that the team used.

Challenge4Cancer will end by the award of special honorifics mentions. Specific awards may be also provided to the finalist team which will be announced during the Challenge4Cancer.

The honorific mentions will be delivered in the following categories:

  • best impact on the patients health award;
  • most ethical award for the project which would put forward the ethical questions;
  • best dataviz award - the most understandable dataviz and the easiest to understand;
  • best wiki award - the most complete documentation, the clearest and the appealest one;
  • the more original submission award;
  • the more collaborative project award will be delivered to the project which will include the more different profils and will receive the more contribution on its wiki;
  • the best proposal of a scientific paper.


For this new edition, the main objective is to demonstrate that an inclusive and open program is able to produce scientific knowledge through publication.

To help you achieve this goal, Epidemium team has set up a dedicated support. A 5 steps process which has proved its efficiency will help you push your project until completion. You will also be able to benefit from the experience of 12 scientific experts from Roche who volunteered and are ready to help you during your project - whether it is for your research objectives, your bibliography, or for proof-reading your publication. You can get in touch with them through the Epidemium team at

Get more information about publication here