NCI and Sage Bionetworks Present: Up for A Challenge?

Award up to $50,000

Get Permission

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences is partnering with Sage Bionetworks for “Up for a Challenge (U4C): Stimulating Innovation in Breast Cancer Genetic Epidemiology.” This prize competition aims to explore the genomic basis of breast cancer in diverse populations. Researchers who may be interested in this competition would be scientists involved in genetic epidemiology, bioinformatics, and data science.

Studies suggest that genetic factors play a role in determining who is at increased risk of developing breast cancer, as well as what type of breast cancer they develop. The goal of U4C is to encourage innovative approaches to more fully explain the genetic basis of breast cancer.

Specifically, U4C aims to use innovative approaches to identify novel pathways—including new genes or combinations of genes, genetic variants, or sets of genomic features—involved in breast cancer risk in order to generate new biologic hypotheses. Through U4C, NCI aims to increase the number and diversity of researchers addressing a difficult problem by encouraging broader collaborations. Ideally, this will result in new insights that could help improve breast cancer prevention, screening, and/or treatment. 

Newly Accessible Data

U4C participants will be able to apply for controlled access to genetic epidemiologic data from thousands of breast cancer cases and controls from ethnically diverse populations. Some of these data sets are being made available to researchers for the first time for this competition.

NCI will award up to $50,000 and other prizes based on the identification of novel findings, replication of findings, innovation of approach, evidence of novel biologic hypotheses, and collaboration. U4C offers participants an opportunity to advance scientific knowledge of the causes of breast cancer, the second most common cancer in the world.

Visit the U4C website ( for more information about the goals of U4C, applications, due dates, rules, and other frequently asked questions. ■




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