Apply to attend NEUROHACK!

A competitive hackathon to promote brain health

The DEMON Network is launching NEUROHACK, a 4-day competitive international hackathon on the 11th-14th January 2022. Selected participants will attend in-person at hubs in London and Los Angeles. A limited number of places for virtual attendance will also be made available. A variety of exciting challenges will be on offer, using data science and machine learning to promote brain health and combat neurodegeneration. 

Prizes will be awarded for the most innovative solutions, and three pilot grants of £10,000 will be awarded to NEUROHACK teams to continue to develop the most promising ideas. Most participants will fund their own travel to London or L.A., but there is no charge to attend, and travel awards including accommodation are available on the basis of need.

NEUROHACK is proudly supported by the Alan Turing Institute, Alzheimer’s Research UK, the MND Association, LifeArc, the University of Exeter, King’s College London, the University of Southern California, and DNAnexus.

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Challenges include:

1.Genome-wide association studies of dementia in people of South Asian ancestry.
2.Machine learning for dementia diagnosis in the United States and India.
3.Exploring genetic variation in motor neurone disease longevity to inform drug discovery.

All preprocessed data for challenges will be provided in a secure research environment. Successful applicants will be allocated to multidisciplinary teams of around six people. After a brief organizational session introducing each challenge, teams will spend four days collaborating to address a challenging set of scientific problems related to clinical and genomic data. Participants will build tools and analyze data in order to work toward practical solutions to crucial problems. Throughout the event, participants will come together to discuss progress on each of the topics, analytic best practices, coding styles, etc. Mentors will also be available to provide guidance on analytic approaches and the data for each of the challenges. The NEUROHACK Organizing Committee will also work with attendees and pilot grant holders to publish the most promising results.

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NEUROHACK is organized by Prof David Llewellyn (University of Exeter and Alan Turing Institute), Dr Lokendra Thakur (Broad Institute), Dr Esther Bron (Erasmus MC – University Medical Center Rotterdam), Dr Janice Ranson (University of Exeter), Dr Laura Winchester (University of Oxford), Dr Ahmad Al Khleifat (King’s College London), Prof Richard Everson (University of Exeter and Alan Turing Institute), Dr Xin You Tai (University of Oxford), and Dr Ben Busby (DNAnexus).

Interested in applying computational approaches to promote brain health and combat dementia? Want to develop your skills and meet like-minded innovators? The deadline for applications is the 23rd of November 2021. We celebrate diversity, and applicants from under-represented groups are particularly encouraged to apply.

Interested in sponsoring NEUROHACK? Contact Prof David Llewellyn david.llewellyn@exeter.ac.uk

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I understand we will work on the challenges in teams. Can I apply on my own or do I need to form my own team?

A: NEUROHACK aims to support the formation of new collaborations. You apply as an individual and successful participants will be allocated to a multidisciplinary team prior to the event.

Q: I would like to participate in person but I don’t have funding for travel expenses. Should I apply for virtual participation instead?

A: Limited travel awards are available. If your preference is to attend in person, please select your closest location (London or L.A), and complete the travel award section of the form. If you are shortlisted for participation but are not offered a travel award, you will have the option of participating virtually.

Q: What technical skills do participants need to have? I’m unsure if I have the right experience.

A: We are looking for a variety of participants with different backgrounds. All participants will need to be familiar with data analysis using R, Python or similar, and to have some experience of using data science or machine learning. The application form details some of the key skills we’re looking for.

Q: Will there be opportunities for teams to work together after the hackathon?

A: Yes! We will award three £10,000 pilot grants to teams with promising solutions. All competitors will also retain access to the NEUROHACK Slack channel on the DEMON Network Slack Workspace to support ongoing collaborations.

If you have any further questions about participating in NEUROHACK, contact Dr Janice Ranson j.ranson@exeter.ac.uk