Each year, in honor of World Cancer Day, the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) launches a unique, international crowdsourcing challenge that leverages the power of the crowd to solve problems plaguing the oncology clinical medicine space.

For 2016 World Cancer Day, we want YOU to join us and #BeTheSolution!

On February 4, 2016 we launched the second phase of the Clinical Trial Innovation Prize, a unique, two-part, $180,000 crowdsourcing challenge that seeks to identify innovative ways to increase cancer patient enrollment in clinical trials.

Goal: The goal of the challenge is to produce breakthroughs that will increase the patient accrual rate to oncology clinical trials.

Clinical Trial Innovation Prize

Phases and Winners

  • Ideation Challenge: 47 Competitors from 18 countries from all around the world submitted creative and novel ideas to double the accrual rate of cancer clinical trials, and three teams won prizes totaling $30,000 USD. Congratulations to HelynxMatt Gerber, and Noah Craft, the winners of the first phase of the challenge!
  • Implementation/Proof of Concept Challenge: After an overwhelming response from around the world and rigorous review of the entries, the finalists for the Implementation Phase have been announced! Congratulations to the following six teams, listed in no particular order, that have made it to the next round of the ALCF Clinical Trials Innovation Prize.

The Problem

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with the number of new cases expected to rise by approximately 70% over the next two decades.

We need better ways to prevent, detect, screen and treat cancer patients, and we need them now!

The most reliable and the only accepted scientific method to take discoveries from the lab bench to the bedside is testing the safety and efficacy of these new interventions in clinical trials — research studies that test new methods of prevention, detection, screening and treatment of cancer.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health database currently lists over 45,000 cancer-related clinical trials worldwide.

Unfortunately, more than 20% of these trials will never complete, for reasons unrelated to the effectiveness of the intervention that’s being tested! That is a huge drain on the already very limited research $$ and resources, will delay clinical research and getting useful diagnostics and treatments to cancer patients.

The most common reason for 20% of all clinical trials never finishing is poor patient accrual (the process of recruiting patients to the trial for participation), i.e. not enough patients volunteered to join the clinical trial.

On average, less than 3-5% of all adult cancer patients participate in clinical trials!

Participation is even lower among particular groups, including people who are racial and ethnic minorities, over 65, lower income, and living in rural areas. As an example, ~53% of new cancer diagnoses are in people 65 or older, however, this age demographic accounts for a measly 33% of clinical trial participants

Some of the most common reasons for poor patient accrual to cancer clinical trials include:

  • a lack of community support,
  • patient awareness- As an example of the steep hill that we need to climb, 85% of cancer patients aren’t even aware that their treatment facility conducts clinical trials in which they might be eligible to participate.
  • Physician awareness,
  • stigmas and misconceptions,
  • fear of financial or time burden, and
  • procedural inefficiencies (such as complexities in enrolling in the trial itself, the informed consent process,), among numerous others.

Why an Innovation Prize?

We know that amazing ideas can come from anywhere. Despite 50 years of trying, members of the medical community have been unable to develop transformational solutions to these intractable problems.

So, we are trying something different! We want you to help us find cool ways to increase the accrual rate of cancer clinical trials!

We believe an Innovation Prize could have a profound impact on improving cancer care, too.

Help us make it happen!

The Challenge Breakthrough

The Clinical Trial Innovation Prize is looking for innovative means to increase the number of cancer patients participating in clinical trials, increasing the accrual rates for cancer clinical trials from the current 3-5%.

Increased participation in clinical trials will hopefully accelerate the pace of research and drug development allowing patients to live longer and better lives.

We are looking:

  1. To identify prototypes of solutions that reduce a barrier to participation in clinical trials
  2. To select the best solution to be scaled in partnership with the Bonnie Addario Lung Cancer Foundation.

Participate in the Clinical Trials Innovation Prize and #BeTheSolution!


The Clinical Trial Innovation Prize will award a total of $180,000 in prizes.

These prizes will be awarded in two phases as follows:

  • Ideation Phase: $30,000 USD (already awarded)
  • Implementation Phase: Two prizes worth $150,000 USD (to be awarded)
    • Implementation Phase First Prize: $100,000
    • Implementation Phase Second Prize: $50,000

Our panel of judges will select first and second prize winners for the Implementation Phase, based on the judging criteria listed below.


  • February 4, 2016: World Cancer Day, Challenge launches and registration opens
  • April 5, 2016: Deadline for submission of updates from Phase 1 finalists as well as proposals from new entrants
  • April 8 – May 6, 2016: First round of reviews by judges for the selection of finalists
  • May 10, 2016: Finalists for Implementation Challenge Announced
  • May 16, 2016: Proof-of-Concept Phase Begins
  • March 1, 2017: Online Submission Deadline
  • March 2 – March 29, 2017: Evaluations
  • April 4, 2017: Winners are announced on ALCF website


Please register here to participate. Applications may be submitted either individually or by teams of innovators. There are no restrictions on age, country of origin, gender, educational accomplishments, etc. We are looking for brilliant, out-of-the-box thinkers and innovators to help us solve the problem of patient accrual to oncology clinical trials.

The Implementation Phase of the Clinical Trials Innovation Prize has two rounds:

  1. Proposal Round
  2. Proof-of-Concept Round

All applicants who wish to participate in the $150,000 Implementation Phase of the Challenge need to submit a two-page proposal describing their solution, the specific barriers it addresses and how these will be overcome (details at herox.com/clinicaltrials).

All submissions will be evaluated by our panel of judges and a total of 25 applicants will proceed into the Proof-of-Concept round of the challenge.

Top 12 finalists from the first phase or Ideation phase of the challenge, and 13 new applicants will be selected to enter the Proof-of-Concept round of the Clinical Trials Innovation Prize.

The Proof-of-Concept round of the Implementation Challenge will run for 6 months during which all 25 teams will be mentored by the Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, as well as our mentoring committees of key experts in the clinical trials space. ALCF will provide all 25 teams access to any resources they might need to test and implement their ideas to increase patient accrual to clinical trials.

At the end of six months, all 25 teams will have to submit the following:

  • Proof-of-concept materials
    Submit all relevant materials that demonstrate the solution (e.g., if creating an app or a website, provide a mock-up of the idea; or if suggesting an ad campaign, provide those materials).
  • Impact measurement data analysis
    Competitors must provide evidence that their solution will have meaningful impact. This may include demonstrating that one or more relevant metrics (including, but not limited to, screening rates, accrual rates, refusal rates, changes in knowledge or behaviors, etc.) improve when testing the solution. They may reference peer-reviewed literature to support or interpret their data, if needed.
  • Implementation write-up describing solution
    Questions in the submission form will guide competitors’ write-up describing and reflecting on their solution. Some questions will require a file upload.

Judging Panel

The Judging Panel comprises of thought leaders in the business, academic and non profit worlds. Judges will evaluate all submissions on compliance with the rules and guidelines of the Prize, and will have the sole and absolute discretion to select the winners. The Judging Panel’s decisions are final, binding and are not subject to challenge.

All Judges will be required to sign and adhere to non-disclosure agreements as required and statements acknowledging that they make no claim to the Intellectual Property developed by teams.

Courtney Hudson

Margo Michaels, MPH
Education Network to Advance Cancer Clinical Trials (ENACCT), Health Action and Access Consulting

Heather Wakelee, MD
Stanford University

Roni Zeiger, MD
SmartPatients, ex-Chief Health Strategist at Google

Matthew Galsky, MD
Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Janet Freeman-Daily
Gray Connections

Suzanne Dahlberg, PhD
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Judging Criteria

All submissions will be evaluated on the following weighted criteria:

Criteria Description Max Score
  • Effectively measures impact (choosing and tracking appropriate indicators)
  • Features strong results that indicate an increase to accrual rate
  • Impacts or has potential to impact a large audience
25 points
Solution Implementation
  • A strong solution that is well-implemented or prototyped
  • High quality supplementary attachments displaying final product
25 points
Scalability and Sustainability
  • Show that the solution could be scaled to other health systems and target populations and sustain itself over time
25 points
  • How the solution addresses a barrier in a novel or unique way
15 points
  • Benefit of the solution relative to the development and implementation costs
5 points
Analysis of Obstacles
  • Insight into challenges anticipated and encountered, with plausible solutions for how to address them to maximize impact
5 points
Total Points: 100

Contact Us

Have questions? Send us an email at clinicaltrialprize@go2foundation.org, and we’ll get back to you right away!

If you have a solution that you believe could increase accrual rates but don’t know how to implement it, email us. We will support you to determine how best to test the solution.

We know the next breakthrough can come from anywhere and
we are committed to finding a way to increase patient accrual to clinical trials!