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Presented by:

Neurofibromatosis (NF) Hackathon
October 2 - November 13, 2020




Rare diseases affect nearly 350 million people around the world, and NF specifically affects 1 in 3,000 across the globe each year. During the Hack for NF, we want you to utilize the datasets provided to improve data analytics, research methodology and advance the field of NF (neurofibromatosis) & rare diseases. 

Your solutions can range from new ways to analyze data to engaging patients via mobile devices, to data visualization apps & analytical tools for the NF portal. Join the Hack for NF and help end NF & other rare diseases for patients all over the world. 


By competing in the Hack for NF hackathon you will have the opportunity to create solutions that further advance the research fields around NF (neurofibromatosis) and other rare diseases. Your solutions should focus on improving patient useability & accessibility of applications, or improve upon the data analytics & research methodologies that are used by researchers in this field every day.

The winning solutions will further help to create a data-driven framework that helps in hacking tough challenges such as NF & other rare diseases. Solutions should incorporate emerging technologies such as AI, ML or NLP so that existing data can be re-used to find new insights, refine algorithms, and identify alternative approaches to therapies and research.


The data sets for the hackathon are now available! Once you register, you can find the data sets in the Resources tab of the platform. Your potential solutions can be based around a wide range of topics, including but not limited to:

NF Data:

Use the data provided or combine with external datasets to create a data-driven project that will advance the field of NF research.


Drugs and Targets

Following the recent approval of Koselugo, the first-ever drug approved for NF, use the data provided to identify new promising targets, drugs or drug combinations, biomarkers that could be used for prevention, diagnosis or prognosis. Integrate NF data with external datasets to find common traits or a potential new way to intervene in disease progression.


Use the Whole-Body MRI dataset provided, including sequential scans to improve on an existing segmentation algorithm for accuracy in measuring tumors, or identify different tumor types.

Analytical tools

Data Analysis App: Create an application to interactively analyze NF Data Portal data or other open NF data using machine learning or other cutting edge computational methods to help guide NF researchers and clinicians to their next big breakthrough! Submissions in this category will be eligible to be listed on the Tools page of the NF Data Portal.

Mobile Device Engagement:

Create a mobile device application that improves common patient problems. First-person input from patients will be given during the hackathon so you can create a solution with real-world applicability.


Companion App for ABI or cochlear implant

NF2 patients lose hearing due to bilateral VS, they need an ABI or cochlear implant. How can these devices be improved? For example, your solution could be a companion app that help patients to learn how to use them, guiding them to recognize sounds or words better, or creating daily exercises to improve their usability.

Pain tracking app

Pain is a common feature across all forms of NF, heavily impacting patients’ quality of life. Tracking pain is very useful to understand the efficacy of therapeutic interventions as well as for the management of daily medication. In collaboration with clinicians, your solution could help patients and clinicians tracking pain evolution in either clinical trial or daily practice settings.

Wildcard Challenge:

Do you have a project in mind that incorporates aspects of all of the above challenges? Or do you have a project with a different use case in mind, but still benefits NF patients, researchers, & clinicians? If so, then your potential solution would fall into our Wild Card Challenge category! Your solution will still need to focus on improving patient useability & accessibility or helping researchers & clinicians in their work, but if you have an idea in mind that isn’t listed in the other challenges, your solution is valuable to this hackathon! 


We will host two webinars before the hackathon start date! The first webinar will introduce you to the event platform and all of its features. The second webinar will showcase the datasets that will be made available to you, and the type of solutions that will qualify as winning projects. 

Event Platform Overview Webinar

Join the webinar here!

Sept. 24th


Technical Data Webinar

Join the webinar here!

Sept. 29th



We are preparing a series of weely webinars during the hackathon that will provide you with information, training, expert talks, insights, patient's stories, fun activities and more to keep you engaged and informed with all the tools and topics you may need! 

Hackathon Welcome Webinar

Join the webinar here!

Oct. 2nd


Weekly Check-in Sessions

Each weekly check-in webinar will have it's own Zoom link that we'll email to all participants.

Every Friday starting Oct. 9th


Final Pitches Presentation

Webinar Link will be available soon.

Nov. 13th


Grand Finale: Final Webinar & Prize Announcement

Webinar Link will be available soon.

Nov. 24th






There will be 3 winning teams for the hackathon who will each be awarded $7,500. In addition to winning a cash prize, all teams will have the opportunity to win an additional $7,500 grant prize presented by the Children's Tumor Foundation and two $5,000 grant prizes presented by the Gilbert Family Foundation. Grant prize winners will participate in further completing their project via the NF Virtual Institute & NF Incubator. To win a grant prize, teams need to submit (with their completed project), a 3-month plan that details a brief project summary, the impact of their solution, and a plan for the development of their project during the incubation period with clear goals.

In addition to the grant prize winner, 3-5 additional teams will be selected for incubation.

NF Virtual Institute

NF Incubator

The NF Virtual Institute (NFVI) is a network of experts from the fields of neurofibromatosis and schwannomatosis (NF), other business and technology disciplines, as well as NF patients and caregivers who will support and mentor the winning and runner-up teams during the hackathon and post-hackathon activities. Members of the NFVI will be available via email, and tele- or video-conferencing. The NFVI, through its network, will allow teams to access lab resources (wet-lab experiments) by creating a formal collaboration between project teams and experts.

The NF Incubator is a mechanism that allows teams to access additional resources needed to advance their project to the next stage. During their incubation period, promising project teams will have the opportunity to pitch CTF or other NF funders, early-stage investors, angel investors, pharma or biotech companies, and participate at investor conferences in order to get more funding or create a startup. The maximum project incubation time is one year.   





For their final submission, teams will have the flexibility to wrap-up their project and compete for one of the three $7,500 prizes. Teams competing for the grant prize are required to submit (together with their most completed project), a 3-month plan (2-page max) that includes the following sections: a brief project summary, impact of their solution, a plan for the development of their project during the incubation period with clear goals.

Three teams will get a grant prize, but we anticipate to invite more teams to join the NFVI and NF incubator with the opportunity to continue working and access to funding.

In order to qualify for submission, all teams are required to check-in at least once with a mentor for a one-on-one session.