Open Source Software Innovation

Open source software tools play a vital role in the timely dissemination of important research findings and in facilitating transparency in biomedical applications. As large-scale data analysis is becoming an integral part of translational research, the need for accessible and extensible tools is continuing to expand.  

The Open Source Software Innovation (OSSI) competition supports and stimulates open source software development efforts related to life sciences, biostatistics, and bioinformatics at UMass Amherst. The competition affords the opportunity to showcase campus strengths in these disciplines while providing a novel mechanism to disseminate new knowledge, tools and research products.  


Available prizes

$5,000 (first place)

$3,000 (second place)

$1,000 (third place)

Manuscript support for 5 honorable mentions


Important dates

May 15– Letter of intent due **Deadline extended to June 3

August 1 – Entries due (5PM Eastern)

September – Prizes announced


Who should enter? Full-time UMass Amherst faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows are invited to apply.  


What are the responsibilities of prize recipients? All awardees will be required to:

1. Attend the Annual ICB3 Meeting in Fall 2013 and present on their software innovations as part of the event.

2. Acknowledge ICB3’s support in all disseminations, related articles and presentations.


How will entries be evaluated? A review panel comprised of academic and industry researchers will determine awards. Judges have discretion to revise prizes in response to the quality, scale and scope of entries. Decisions of the committee are final.



A primary goal of this initiative is to enhance trans-disciplinary collaboration and support the development of open source software tools involving large-scale data applications in the life sciences.  Priority will be given to tools that integrate with existing open source software platforms, are easy to use, and have been applied to real data.  All entries must include the following for full consideration:

1. Short (250 words or less) narrative describing the new software and its impact. This narrative will be posted on the ICB3 website upon completion of the OSSI competition.

2. Complete software package and documentation submitted to an existing open software repository (for example, the Comprehensive R Archive Network or SourceForge). Additionally, real or simulated data to which the software can be applied must be provided.

3. A 3-5 page summary that includes: (1) Motivation for the new software, including relevance to life sciences research; (2) Approach, including details of statistical or computational methodology; and (3) At least one example describing application of the software using real or simulated data. 

4. Software must be released under an open source licensing agreement (see for approved licenses).


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