Putting local data to work for healthier communities

The 500 Cities Data Challenge will fund projects that will connect work across sectors to improve health outcomes using the 500 Cities dataset. The goal of this competition is to encourage communities to dig into the 500 Cities data and design innovative solutions (or additional data analyses) which address social factors that influence health, such as housing, education, and transportation. The ideas generated can help build the foundation for more comprehensive cross-collaboration to foster a broad Culture of Health and guide other communities in how to use data more effectively.

An Open Invitation

This is an open competition, and we welcome submissions from any organization interested in putting local data to work for healthier communities - including nonprofit practitioners, local government offices, researchers, data analytic companies, service providers, and others.

To ensure that the challenge is open and equitable to all, the competition will follow a two-stage process:

Stage 1: The competition begins with an open invitation to submit brief letters or videos of interest. Applicants are encouraged to be creative in how they present their ideas in this first stage and may choose to either write a letter or create a short video.

Stage 2: Top ideas will be invited to submit full proposals detailing the activities, budget, and impact of their projects.

We strongly encourage submissions focused on rural and low- to moderate-income communities. 

Selection Criteria

Ideas will be evaluated based on several factors, including:

  • Thematic relevance of the proposed project, especially connections across sectors
  • Significance of the proposed project in terms of advancing the use of the data in communities
  • Innovativeness of the use of the 500 Cities data
  • Feasibility of the proposed project to be completed during the grant period

Application and Award Process

Phase 2: Full Proposal Submissions

  • February 02: Data Challenge Applications are due via email by 5 PM EST on or before Friday, February 02.
  • February 03 February 27: Complete Data Challenge Applications will be reviewed by a panel of experts according to the selection criteria.
  • February 28: The Urban Institute will notify grantees of their award status.

Terms and Conditions

  • Grants will start April 1, 2018, and continue up to one year, ending by April 1, 2019. No-cost time extensions will be allowed.
  • During the Full Proposal stage, applicants will be asked to provide budgetary and financial information for their project.
  • Funding will be available for up to 10 projects, with the combined total awards not to exceed $1,000,000. The total amount awarded and the number of awards will depend on the quality of the applications received.
  • All materials, reports, and results produced through the Challenge will be made available for dissemination to the public. Applicants are encouraged to publish in open-access, peer-reviewed literature.
  • The Urban Institute retains the right to ensure that all materials, reports, and results are made publicly available in a timely and transparent manner.
  • The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will retain license rights to all materials produced through the competition.