On July 3, GC-India, a partnership between the foundation and BIRAC (India’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council), issued a call for proposals on data science to address health challenges. This follows the Grand Challenges Explorations data challenge for Brazil, launched earlier in the year.

Until early August, GC-India will be accepting proposals for projects that take a Ki approach and use India-specific Ki data, although investigators can also bring in data sets they or their collaborators collected in the past or use data from public repositories.

For more information about the call, please go to this website. It includes a primer about data science for research scientists, a primer about maternal, newborn, and child health for data scientists, a summary of the data sets available for analysis, and detailed information about the types of proposals GC-India is looking for.

We believe the India dataset can be analyzed to yield insights on a wide range of issues that affect vulnerable populations, including but not limited to:

  • Finding patterns that link individuals with positive health outcomes despite a high number of risk factors
  • Converting correlations into causal hypotheses (e.g., establishing the impact of air pollution on fetal growth)
  • Combining data focused on improving child survival with data focused on improving early neurodevelopment
  • Determining critical periods for intervention during pregnancy and early childhood
  • Pinpointing the relative contributions to health outcomes of diet quantity versus quality

In the short-term, we are optimistic that this challenge will generate specific solutions to specific problems, or knowledge that leads directly to specific solutions. In the long-term, we hope that it helps Indian research and data scientists who haven’t even considered working together before build a community that tackles big problems together.