October 2, 2014


The DREAM Challenges are crowdsourcing challenges examining questions in biology and medicine.

The DREAM Challenges are an open science effort. We are a non-profit, collaborative community effort consisting of contributors from across the research spectrum including researchers from universities; technology companies like IBM Research; not for profits, like Sage Bionetworks; and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Since the beginning of the DREAM Challenges in 2006, we have been an innovator and leader in open science, crowdsourcing challenges. The DREAM Challenge participants and organizers have numerous publications in leading journals in biology and biomedicine. Since the dawn of the DREAM Challenges, commercial crowdsourcing efforts have sprung up which utilize techniques that we pioneered.

DREAM Challenges have an impact on biological science and human health.

As the volume and complexity of data continues to increase, it is critical to develop new methods to use data to address fundamental questions to better understand and improve biological sciences and human health. DREAM challenges leverage the wisdom of the crowd to find new and better computational models and then make these methods available to all.

Open, transparent data sharing is at our core.

DREAM and Sage Bionetworks share a vision of open access to data as an alternative way of solving complex problems and make significant discoveries. All insight gained during a challenge is stored on Synapse to be shared, stored, and distributed as a contribution to science, rather than being owned by any one entity.

DREAM Challenges are based on rigorous, reproducible science.

Our challenges are created and managed by experts in systems biology, statistics, and challenge design so that the results will be solvable and reproducible in a meaningful way. Organizers pre-test all data and predictions and develop custom scoring methodologies to ensure quality data and rigorous performance evaluation. Challenges produce standardized data sets and benchmarked methods for future comparison, analysis, and development.

DREAM Challenges build communities.

Participation in DREAM Challenges encourage participants to work together in a collaborative way to form communities that outlast specific challenges. DREAM offers groups new ways to work together and stay connected.

Our challenge participants benefit from their experience.

DREAM Challenge participants report benefits to their careers from the knowledge gained, relationships formed, access to new and interesting data, and publications that result from their efforts. Participants are motivated both by recognition and by being a part of a solution.

The DREAM Challenges has partnered with Sage Bionetworks.

The DREAM Challenges has partnered with Sage Bionetworks to bring our challenge participants a collaborative infrastructure for the support the challenges. Sage Bionetworks’ Synapse platform supports large-scale collaborative research and open collaborative data analysis for clear, reproducible science. Synapse makes it possible for DREAM Challenge participants to collaborate by providing a shared working environment, a data-hosting framework, and tools to track and archive results. The results from DREAM Challenges contribute to a growing knowledge commons hosted on Synapse for continued use by the research community.