Datathon FAQs

Who should attend the Innovation Challenge? 

Attendees from all backgrounds, skills, genders, and geographies are welcome. We accept a wide range of applicants, from beginners, to experienced Innovation Challenge veterans. Prior experience is also not a requirement. 

What are some examples of potential approaches?

Although not limited to these examples, the following illustrate the types of solutions that would fit within the scope of the problem that we are trying to solve: (1) statistical methods and tools to assess re-identification risk and de-identify data, (2) differential privacy methods and tools, (3) homomorphic encryption or secret sharing methods and tools (or secure multi-party computation methods in general), and (4) governance mechanisms that would facilitate the sharing of small clinical trial data (4) a hybrid of these solutions. Of course, there are undoubtedly innumerable creative and feasible solutions outside this list that are also welcome – these are just intended to be examples of some potential general approaches to assist teams to make the problem statement more concrete.

Who will own any IP produced during the Innovation Challenge? 

All IP produced during the Innovation Challenge is required to be registered in the public domain under an open source license without residual rights to the IP and available for public use. The spirit of the Innovation Challenge is to encourage innovation and collaboration. We want any developments created during the Innovation Challenge to be openly shared with other participants after the event to foster further development for the benefit of the greater good and to be available to the public to spread awareness and appreciation of the creations made during the Innovation Challenge. Additionally, we would like to cut out the potential for any conflict resulting from the creations. We want participants, to meet new people, form interdisciplinary teams that create original work that deepens our understanding of how IPD can be safely reused, and, at the same time avoid any potential for IP disputes. Also, IP protection often covers creations which are more fully developed. We expect that most material created during the event to be in a preliminary phase which may not be suitable for IP protection. If you object to registering your work made during the Innovation Challenge in the public domain with no residual rights, please do not participate in the event. 

Can we participate as a team in this Innovation Challenge? 

Yes, both teams and individuals may register for the event. Individual registrants will be sorted into teams by the event organizers.  

What do I enter in the affiliation field on the registration form? 

Please enter your current employer (if applicable), university, graduation year etc. It is NOT to be confused with your Innovation Challenge team. 

What is the cost to attend the event? 

There are no fees to attend the event. You need to cover your own travellodging  and parking if you are traveling to attend. We will provide you with plenty of food and beverages. 

What should I bring? 

All attendees are required to bring a valid government ID (ex: driver’s license, passport) for admission. Also, bring your laptop, and any hardware you wish to use during the day 

Will travel reimbursements be available for those who travel from out of the area? Is there a travel scholarship? 

The Vivli / Microsoft Innovation Challenge is free to participants so that the organizers can make the event as open and inclusive as possible. Travel scholarships are not available.  

What platforms do participants build upon? 

Participants can build on any hardware and software platform the team choose. We do not want to limit your creativity and as long as you follow the rules, go ahead and build. 

Is there a deadline for application? When will I know whether I am accepted? 

We will have rolling admissions. The first decision date is May 21, 2019. You will receive an email from us to notify your acceptance status shortly thereafter. Applications are open until the time we have reached our limit of applications.  

How do I get there? 

The event will take place at District Hall in Boston’s Seaport District. The nearest public transportation is the Courthouse bus station on Seaport Blvd., serviced by all Silverline / waterfront bus lines.  

Address:  District Hall  75 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210 

What if this FAQ didn’t answer my questions? 

Please email us at  if you have any questions. 

Do you have my application? I didn’t receive an email confirmation. 

After your application form is submitted, you will receive an email confirmation once you are accepted. This can take approximately two weeks. 


This event may be photographed and videotaped and the images may be used without your name or affiliation. If you do not want to be filmed or have your picture taken, you should not take part.