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Exploring new data sources to monitor public health

Innovation in tracking public health

Technology advances are opening up new ways to collect health data. There is an opportunity to use these new platforms and sources of data to improve public health surveillance. This raises the question: how can we best leverage these new sources of information and integrate them into existing health monitoring systems?

To answer this question, leading federal Canadian and American health and innovation organizations have come together to create the Healthy Behaviour Data Challenge. It seeks to identify and evaluate new data sources and methods to enhance public health surveillance.

We are looking for innovators to propose creative new types of data and data sources that can be used to measure indicators of physical activity (e.g. daily number of steps), sleep (e.g. number of times awake per night), sedentary behaviour (e.g. average number of hours per day spent sedentary), or nutrition (e.g. servings of fruits and vegetables consumed per day).

Who should participate?



Public sector institutions

Private sector organizations

How the challenge works

This challenge is divided into two separate streams: one for innovators based in Canada and one for those based in the United States. Applications to each stream are handled separately and can be made through the links at the bottom of this page. Both streams will follow a two-phase process.

Phase 1: Ideation

Challenge participants identify and propose new data sources, platforms and methodologies for measuring any number of indicators for physical activity, sleep, sedentary behaviour or nutrition. Proposals should allow for measurement of indicators at a nation population level. A list of suggested indicators to be measured is on the Health Indicators page. Finalists selected from Phase 1 will receive a financial prize and will advance to Phase 2. Details of the awards are on the application websites for each challenge stream.


Phase 2: Testing

Selected submissions will be invited to implement their Phase 1 concept. The results will be compared to existing research, analysis, and/or surveillance outputs from the Public Health Agency of Canada (for the Canadian stream) or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (for the American stream). The most promising solutions will each receive a financial award and an opportunity to explore how the concept could be integrated into public health surveillance systems.


Canada-based applicants


U.S.-based applicants


Got questions?

Send us an email and we will do our best to answer your query promptly.

Applicants for the Canada stream email

Applicants for the U.S. stream email

Working in partnership