A collaborative initiative to grasp cancer in a new way

First assessment of program results and outputs

(05/11/15 - 05/05/16)




An innovative approach to the epidemiology of cancer in an open science framework

A compelling public health issue



people died of cancer


in the next decade :

increase in incidence of cancer

*Source: WHO - World Health Organization

An innovative approach exploiting :

big data

open community dynamics

A grassroots initiative to meet the French Cancer Plan 2014-2019

By providing “the means of innovative research", "sustaining health democracy" and “supporting public policy on data sharing "

One common goal 4 different topics

1 Understanding cancer distribution in time and space

2 Risks and protective factors in cancer

3 Meta - epidemiology : " Understanding Cancer from the medical literature "

4 Environmental changes and cancer

A challenge addressed by 678 people for 6 months

An open community of highly motivated people that has worked relentlessly with a common goal: developing an innovative approach to epidemiology of cancer by exploiting the potential of data science and big data

A fast-growing community

Epidemium events

Source: Meetup statistics

Fed by regular face-to-face encounters


attendees to events


human exchanges during events (weighted in time)

As well as virtual exchanges


Wiki accounts *


Wiki contributions **

* source epidemium wiki provided by mediawiki
** source epidemium wiki provided by mediawiki as changes on a page

A truly trans-disciplinary community

That created a knowledge and a team-work methodology whose impact goes well beyond the proposed projects

Combining 11 key competences in 15 projects


Laying foundations for future projects

“As a player in health innovation, Roche’s ambition with Epidemium is to reinvent a new form of cancer epidemiology to turn it into a genuine tool for therapeutic decision-making”


“As an open community laboratory, La Paillasse is convinced that collective intelligence can bring innovative solutions to the great scientific issues of the 21st century”

La Paillasse

“The challenge will be to let innovative projects in cancer epidemiology emerge without anticipating their outcomes. This unprecedented level of openness - participants in a project will regularly publish their work on a wiki, freely reusable by anyone, at any time - is what makes Epidemium a unique experience of collective intelligence”


“The alliance of big data and medical concerns is extremely powerful but it must also be rigorously framed by the principles that, for a long time, have prevailed in the practice of medicine. I found it important to be able to take part to this beautiful program with an independent, scientific look, very careful of the various ethical issues”

Cedric Villani
Mathematician, professor at the Université de Lyon and director of the Institut Henri Poincaré, fields medal 2010, member of the Independent ethics committee of epidemium.

15% of the community reached the finale stage with the support of the remaining 85% !

An open community of volunteers whose efforts and engagement has brought about concrete results

A results-oriented community dynamics

  • 678

    Community members

  • 459

    Active members*

  • 330

    Registered participants**

  • 75

    Project team members

  • 63


  • 8

    finalists projects

Source : Meetup statistics and Epidemium.cc

Shortlisted projects

  • Viz4Cancer by Quantmetry
  • Cancer Viz
  • Baseline
  • Predictive approach and cancer risk
  • OncoBase
  • BD4Cancer
  • ELSE
  • Venn

Full list of projects here

A few example of online tools

The eco-system has made the difference

Open community means a lot different actors working together driven by a common goal, sharing the same values, and ready to work relentlessly on a voluntary base.

Epidemium Eco-System

La Paillasse Roche INDEPENDENT ETHICS COMMITTEE Scientific comitee Meetup speakers Core team

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The Epidemium team along with La Paillasse and Roche wish to thank all who have contributed to making Challenge4Cancer a success! First of all, we would like to thank members of the Independent Ethics Committee and the Scientific Committee who did not spare any effort in guiding the Epidemium team in designing, implementing and realizing the Challenge. Our community has particularly appreciated having the committees support in tackling ethical and methodological issues. We would especially like to thank our technical partners for providing resources to our community. Challenge4Cancer would not have succeeded in achieving tangible results without them. Challenge4Cancer is a community, and we therefore wish to acknowledge the values of all the members that shared their projects and demonstrated their engagement and motivation, working relentlessly and voluntarily to improve their projects and to attract new talents. Over a period of six months, we had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with amazing people, who accepted to participate in this ambitious challenge: organizing and animating our events, and presenting their projects. We thank you for your dedication and making this a community-wide success. In short, thank you to all the Epidemium Community and Supporters that took up the challenge of Open Science!