CONNECT Calls for Submissions in Data Science & SGM Health Equity Paper Competition

Building on the #BiasInBigData workshop, the CONNECT Research Program of the Northwestern Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing (ISGMH) is holding its 2nd annual competition to encourage research and writing at the intersection of data science and health equity in sexual and gender minority (SGM) populations. Sexual and gender minorities include anyone whose sexual or gender identity does not conform to social majority categories of sexual orientation or gender. See past winners here.

Three winners will be selected to receive a $500 prize, have their work highlighted by CONNECT, and receive an opportunity to present their work at ISGMH in 2020. Submissions are due by Friday, October 25, 2019. Winners will be notified on or before November 15, 2019.

About the topic

Our definition of data science is broad, and generally includes:

  • The utilization of a non-traditional dataset – such as electronic medical records, sensor data, online data, or large administrative datasets.
  • The use of a non-traditional data analytic approach in order to understand population health. For example, complex modeling approaches, such as simulation modeling, machine learning, and network analysis.
  • Papers which discuss the role of data science in SGM health equity from a theoretical or policy-focused perspective would also be welcome.


  • This competition is open to all students, young professionals, activists, and emerging researchers whether currently affiliated with an academic or non-academic institution.
  • Submissions may be authored by multiple individuals. Submitters should obtain permission from any colleagues who participated in the work.
  • Submissions may be from any discipline as long the topic is relevant to the intersection of data science and health equity in SGM populations.
  • Submissions may be either empirical studies or policy-focused.

Submission Guidelines

  • Only one submission per individual is allowed.
  • Papers may be of any length, but each paper submission requires an abstract of no more than 750 characters that summarizes the main points of the paper.
  • Submissions should include a cover letter, which indicates the author name(s), any institutional affiliations, and if the primary author is a current undergraduate, graduate, or postdoctoral student, or if they are from a non- academic sector.
  • Submissions should be sent in PDF file format to with the subject line “CONNECT Paper Competition.”
  • All submissions must be received by 5pm CST on Friday, October 25, 2019.

Judging Criteria

All submissions judged based on the following criteria:

  • Subject: insightful or innovative topic selection
  • Support: strength of argument/analysis
  • Style: clear and consistent writing that conveys the focus of the paper well
  • Approach: comprehensive literature review; accuracy of statistical analysis; strong experimental design
  • Relevance: overall potential impact of the paper on the field(s) of data science and SGM health equity

Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not answered below, contact the CONNECT Team directly at

Are works that have already been published in a peer-reviewed journal eligible for submission?

No. Existing peer-reviewed published works are not eligible for this paper competition.

Are papers from conferences or dissertations eligible for submission, or only new works?

Papers from conferences or dissertations are eligible for submission as well as entirely new works.

If I write a paper expressly for this competition, do I need to submit a fully referenced and complete work or will a detailed outline with preliminary results suffice?

Fully referenced and complete work is preferred, but submissions of any length are allowed. Authors of short submissions should be prepared to deliver a full presentation on their work if selected as a competition winner.

Can faculty members participate in this competition?

No. Anyone who currently has a faculty appointment is not eligible to participate in this competition.

Can non-United States citizens participate in this competition?

Yes. Any non-citizen is eligible to participate provided that they can present a valid passport and proof of current visa status that enables them to work at the time of award notification. If the terms of an individual’s visa disallow them from working or completing a W-9 or W-8 form, they will be ineligible to receive the $500 award, if selected.