Today the U.S. government announced the beginning of a forecasting project on Dengue Fever. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Armed Forces Medical Surveillance Center (AFMSC) have made available datasets on Dengue fever from Puerto Rico and Peru.
This data, when coupled with environmental and climate data from the area and associated climate models, should allow scientists the ability to forecast the emergence of Dengue outbreaks. Interested parties will have four months (until September 2) to use this data to develop their forecasting models. An evaluation team will decide on the finalists (up to six teams), who will be invited (on their own dime, regrettably) to appear before the Interagency Pandemic Prediction and Forecasting Science and Technology Working Group of the National Science and Technology Council.
This is not a competition in the now-traditional sense of a short term contest with a cash prize. Project organizers, according to this description, are looking to publish the evaluations, and all those who submit will have their predictions included. Team leaders will be invited to receive author credit.
For more detailed information on submission procedures and project rules, consult the Dengue Forecasting Project portion of the Epidemic Prediction Initiative (EPI) website. The EPI is a product of the Department of Health and Human Services Idea Lab, and is currently in beta.