The SPRINT Data Analysis Challenge


Frequently Asked Questions

About the SPRINT Data

How do I obtain the SPRINT trial data?

Go to to register with BioLINCC, the NHLBI data repository coordinating center. See detailed instructions here.

How much time will it take to obtain the data?

This is dependent on your IRB and time it takes to have your institution sign the Data Use Agreement. We urge you to get started as soon as possible.

What data are being released?

The information underlying the figures and tables in the NEJM paper. This includes baseline demographics, blood pressure measurements at each visit, outcomes, adverse events and retention data. The complete data dictionary will be made available in late September on the SPRINT-POP page at BioLINCC. Follow the SPRINT Challenge to be notified when the data dictionary is available.


Specific to the Data Set

On replicating the counts in Figure 2 there appears to be a much smaller sample size in the raw counts than what is in the paper, beginning with the 30 month visit?

Approximately a fifth of the cohort had a visit after the trial stop date of August 20, 2015. These visits were included in the Blood Pressure figure in the NEJM paper, but have been removed from the primary outcome paper data for a clean dataset that matches the trial stop date.

What about medications in Figure 2?

One of our Challenge participants discovered a discrepancy between the data set and Figure 2 of the NEJM paper. The data field N_BPCLASSES in the bp.sas7bdat table is labeled “Number of medication classes.” Figure 2 uses the term “No. of Medications,” but the data in Figure 2 do reflect the number of medication classes that each patient was on at each visit.

There are 117 observations in the outcomes dataset in which time to the primary endpoint is 0. How can time be zero?

Merging the Outcomes dataset with the Retention dataset will indicate that the participants with 0 time either: withdrew consent early in the study, were lost to follow-up early in the study, or died without the opportunity to have potential events adjudicated. These people were never seen after the randomization visit and for the primary NEJM analysis, time was set to 1 hour.


About the Challenge Round Entry

Should the abstract be structured?

It is not necessary to have a structured abstract, but if you wish to use the NEJM structure: Background, Methods, Results, Conclusions, you may do so.

What about references?

Not necessary.

May we have more than one figure? What about a multi-panel figure?

One figure only. A multi-panel figure is OK, but you may be restricted by the system. When a judge clicks on your image, it will enlarge to a certain extent.  You may wish to experiment when submitting your entry.

You state the limit is 700 words. The system allows me 15,000 characters. Which should I use?

Please limit your abstract to 700 words and the lay summary to 75 words.  We have set the system to allow the 15,000 characters only to ensure that there is sufficient space for your entry.


About the SPRINT Challenge

Who can participate in the SPRINT Data Analysis Challenge?

The SPRINT Challenge is open to health care professionals, researchers, and scientists from anywhere in the world.

How does the SPRINT Challenge work?

The SPRINT Challenge will have two rounds: a Qualifying Round and a Challenge Round. Participants must complete the Qualifying Round to become eligible to enter the Challenge Round.

Qualifying Round is open from November 15, 2016 until January 20, 2017. Participants will be required to submit the answer to one of two questions.

Challenge Round is open from December 1, 2016 until February 14, 2017 at midnight (ET). As participants qualify for the Challenge Round, they will be notified of the details for submitting their entry for the SPRINT Challenge. Participants will be required to submit a lay summary of 75 words and an extended abstract of up to 700 words.

Who are the judges?

The judges are a group of experts and leaders in clinical research, data analysis and statistics, patient advocacy, and others.

After the Challenge Round closes, all submissions will be open to the public for crowdvoting. We encourage you to invite your friends, family, and colleagues to vote for your submission.

How are entries judged?

We are looking for novel and interesting uses of the data to draw new insights and findings from the SPRINT data. The winning entries will be those that provide the most clinically useful or novel information either from the SPRINT data alone, or the SPRINT data plus any other publicly available dataset(s).

The Qualifying Round confirms the ability of the entrant to follow the process for obtaining the data and to demonstrate their understanding of the fundamentals of data analysis.

The Challenge Round will be evaluated by panel of experts representative of the clinical trial community on the basis of:

  • Utility of the finding(s) to clinical medicine
  • Originality and novelty of the finding(s)
  • Quality and clarity of the methods used

Challenge Round submissions will also be open to evaluation by the public for crowdvoting. We encourage you to invite your friends, family, and colleagues to vote for your submission.

What are the important dates to keep in mind for the SPRINT Challenge?

SPRINT Challenge opens: September 15, 2016

NHLBI Applications for SPRINT data opens: September 15, 2016

SPRINT data available from NHLBI: November 1, 2016

Qualifying Round open: November 15, 2016 – January 20, 2017 at midnight EST

Challenge Round open: December 1, 2016 – February 14, 2017 at midnight EST

Judges review and crowdvoting period: February 15–28, 2017

Challenge participants notified: March 1, 2017

Aligning Incentives for Sharing Clinical Trial Data summit: April 3–4, 2017

What do I win?

Prizes will be as follows:

  • First place: $5,000 to the winning individual or team
  • Second place: $2,500 to the winning individual or team
  • Third place: $1,500 to the winning individual or team

All three prize packages also include the option of a trip for one representative to attend the Aligning Incentives for Sharing Clinical Trial Data summit on April 3–4, 2017, in Boston, to present their findings. See Official Rules for complete details.

May I see the agenda for the Aligning Incentives summit?

To be announced in February 2017.

Are there any publication restrictions on my findings?

After the Challenge is over you may submit your findings to any journal you wish. 

Have additional questions?

For technical support issues regarding download errors, problems with opening files, data format questions, and similar issues, please contact BioLINCC.

For questions and comments related to data content, contact the SPRINT Data Analysis Challenge team at Check back often for newly added answers to common questions.

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