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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

NCATS Rare Diseases Are Not Rare! 2020 Challenge

Find innovative ways to communicate about rare diseases through social media or art.

Department of Health and Human Services - National Institutes of Health

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $5,000
Type of Challenge: Creative (multimedia and design); Ideas
Submission Start: 02/29/2020 09:00 AM ET
Submission End: 06/15/2020 05:00 PM ET


UPDATE: The deadline for this challenge has been extended to June 15, 2020. Please see the Key Dates below for updated timeframes for judging period.

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is seeking innovative ways to communicate with others and educate people about rare diseases through social media or art. There are about 7,000 different rare diseases that affect an estimated 30 million people in the United States. Some difficulties with rare diseases are that they are hard to recognize, are often hidden conditions, and most do not currently have ongoing medical research. The goal of this Challenge, which is being led by NCATS’ Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR), is to bring attention to rare diseases so that they can gain more medical research interest, thereby improving the lives of people with rare diseases. Science, especially genetic medicine, has moved forward to the point now where treatments are possible—such as gene therapies, 3-D printing (devices, tissues, and organs), and new drugs. Everyone deserves a chance at an effective medical treatment—whether for a common disease or a rare one.

You can help us get the word out by competing in our rare diseases prize competition!

Key Dates:

  • The Challenge Begins: February 29, 2020
  • Submission Period: 9:00 AM ET, February 29, 2020 – June 15, 2020, 5:00 PM ET
  • Judging Period: June 16, 2020 – July 16, 2020
  • Winners Announced: Summer 2020

For full details about eligibility requirements, competition rules, detailed judging criteria, and deadlines for submissions, please consult the NCATS Rare Diseases Are Not Rare! Challenge Details page.


Total Cash Prize Pool


Prize Breakdown

  • First place: $3,000
  • Second place: $1,500
  • Third place: $500

Non-monetary Prizes

All winners and 10 honorable mentions will be posted on the NCATS public website (


All details related to rules and eligibility are defined on NCATS’ RDANR! 2020 Challenge details page. Only complete applications will be reviewed.

Each team or individual may submit only one entry.

To participate:

  • Must follow all rules & guidelines listed on NCATS' Challenge details page
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • May participate individually or as part of one or more teams
  • Each team’s designated captain must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Must submit solutions by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on June 15, 2020

To win prizes:

  • Must be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Agree to the eligibility rules and requirements listed on NCATS’ Challenge details page

Judging Criteria

Please review the official rules for the judging criteria:

How To Enter

Each team must designate a captain who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and submits a solution on behalf of the team. The captain is responsible for all correspondence regarding this Challenge. Each submission for this Challenge requires a complete “Submission Package.” The Submission Package includes a Cover Letter, the Communication Vehicle and, when appropriate, participant consent forms. All submission materials must be emailed to by the specified submission deadline date and time.