CD2H Idea Competition for the CTSA Program

2019 Idea Competition Winner Announced!

We are very pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Idea Competition: University of Alabama, Birmingham “Automated Scoring of Radiographic Damage in Rheumatoid Arthritis” (PI S. Louis Bridges).

Congratulations to the semi-finalists:
  • Predicting risk of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) in premature infants using vital sign data and growth parameters, Columbia University
  • Predicting respiratory illness following preterm birth to guide therapy choices and expectations, University of Rochester
  • Analysis of brain tumor imaging for clinical trial development, Georgetown University
  • Dynamic Stratification of Venous Thromboembolism Risk in Cancer Patients, UC Davis
  • Enabling methods for accessible and reproducible quantitative MRI of the liver, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Thank you to all the teams that submitted! We received many outstanding applications (32 total), and hope to develop more opportunities to support CTSA Challenges in the near future.

What is the CD2H Idea Competition?

The Idea Competition is designed to solicit ideas and proposals from the CTSA community for a future DREAM Challenge. The winner of the CD2H Idea Competition will be awarded a subcontract for up to $100K to support activities associated with the development and execution of a challenge, that include (a) data extraction and curation (b) algorithm development and assessment, and (c) domain expert support.

The ideal “Idea” proposal should pose a question that is solvable, measurable, and of broad interest to the CTSA biomedical community. Example Challenges might include:

  • Prediction of 30-day readmission or patient disease risk.
  • Inference of patient diagnosis.
  • Assessment of Natural Language Processing algorithms against a gold-standard data set.
  • Comparison of clinical trial matching algorithms.


RFP Information

Open call for proposals

  • Eligibility criteria
    • Proposals accepted from any researcher, clinician, or staff member affiliated with an institution that has a CTSA Hub with a current UL1 award.
    • Proposals must include a letter of support from the affiliated CTSA hub’s principal investigator.
    • Individuals affiliated with sites that receive subcontracts from CD2H are not eligible for this competition.

Application Requirements

  • 1-2 page proposal, addressing the questions listed here
  • Letter of support from the principal investigator at your CTSA hub
  • Submit your proposal and letter of support to with the subject line: Idea Competition Application
    • Deadline for initial proposals and letters of support was February 15, 2019, 5 p.m. per local time of the applicant
  • Next stages of competition:

Proposal review criteria:

  • Scientific questions
    • Relevance: address a meaningful and high-interest problem in the biomedical community.
    • Solvability: poses a question that is answerable given existing data and knowledge.
    • Measurability: results in an answer (or prediction) that can be assessed for correctness against a gold-standard.
  • Data
    • Most Challenges are “data challenges” that require data sets that are used for the training and validation of algorithms. Proposals will be evaluated on having identified relevant data sets – in the public and/or private domain – that can be used by challenge participants to develop and assess algorithms.
  • Ability to carry out the challenge
    • Appropriate domain or methodological expertise

Competition Timeline

Stages of the competition —

  • February 15, 2019
    Initial proposals due
  • March 15, 2019
    6 finalists announced
  • April 19, 2019
    Revised proposals due
  • May 3, 2019
    Show and Tell virtual presentations from 6 finalists
  • May 23, 2019
    Winning proposal announced

Support for the winner

  • The winner of the CD2H Idea Competition will receive a subcontract up to $100k. The subcontract will be awarded directly to the researcher, clinician, or staff member who will be playing a leading role in running the associated DREAM Challenge.
  • Subcontract funds to support the involvement of the winning team in running the challenge in collaboration with CD2H. Funds can be used to cover:
    • Data acquisition and curation costs
    • FTE support

Please send all questions to