AcademyHealth is proud to announce the third annual HSRProj Research Competition for Students hosted by AcademyHealth and the National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR) of the National Library of Medicine (NLM). This annual competition invites students to use data from the Health Services Research Projects in Progress (HSRProj) database in conjunction with other sources to identify research gaps in health services and systems research.

Submission Requirements

All projects should include the following:

  • A research statement that outlines a topic related to population health and/or social determinants of health that is missing or under-represented in the field of health services or systems research as a whole. You may also choose to focus your project on missing or under-represented topics in the HSRProj database itself.
  • A methods statement that clearly explains how the HSRProj full database download was deployed, as well as the rationale for additional data sources, such as those listed below under “Resources."
  • A statement of findings/conclusions and recommendations, including a justification of the significance of the topic.
  • Data visualization(s) (no more than three) that illustrate the findings in an engaging and comprehensive manner (e.g., graphs, charts, models, infographics).

Eligibility Criteria 

To be eligible, students must: 

  • Be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in health services research, communication science, data science, informatics, information science, public health, health economics, statistics, or a related field;
  • Work alone or in groups of no more than three;
  • Work with an academic advisor (and it is strongly encouraged, but not required, for students to seek out university librarians for advice on your project);
  • Use the HSRProj full database, which is available online in .xml here and Excel format here; and
  • Use at least one supplemental data source, such as those listed below under “Resources.”

Judging Criteria 

In the initial phase, a set of judges drawn from the diverse fields that comprise health services and systems research will score each structured abstract based on the following criteria:

  • Use of the HSRProj database and relevant HSRProj attributes;
  • Clarity of the explanation of methods and proposed research gap;
  • Significance of the identified “research gap” to the field or practice of health services and systems research;
  • Clarity of the rationale for any additional data source(s) used in the project; and
  • Creativity, clarity, and impact of the data visualization(s).

From the pool of submission, the judges will select five finalists to present a ten-minute web-based project synopsis. Finalist presentations will highlight the research purpose, methodology, findings, conclusions, and data visualizations. Presentations are expected to take place during the week of April 22, 2019. The winning project, and four honorary mentions, will be announced in early May.

    How to Apply

    We are no longer accepting applications for the 2019 HSRProj Research Competition for Students.


      The winner or winning team will be invited to present their research as a featured poster at the 2019 AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting in Washington D.C., on June 2-4, 2019.  Please note that the winner(s) will need to cover their own lodging, transportation, and registration. In addition, the winner(s) will be invited to work with AcademyHealth staff to write a blog post to be featured on AcademyHealth’s website describing their project and experience.


      Analytic reports, databases and data sets are all acceptable forms of additional information for the research gap projects. Students are encouraged to consider but not limit themselves to using resources listed below. These resources come from HSRProj staff and affiliates personal recommendation and experience and are all freely available:

      Data visualization resources

      If you have a question please visit the 2019 HSRProj Research Competition for Students: Frequently Asked Questions page or contact hsrproj@academyhealth.org

      About HSRProj

      HSRProj is an openly accessible, searchable database of information on ongoing and recently completed health services, systems, and policy research projects. HSRProj provides a snapshot of who is funding and conducting cutting-edge research, highlighting newly funded projects long before their final results are published.

      HSRProj is a joint effort of AcademyHealth and the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. It is funded by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.