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April 1 to August 31, 2024



The SPARK Academy Team is happy to welcome you to our event website! Here you will find more information about the Academy, our objectives, our upcoming program including schedule and instructors.

You will also be able to explore the content, apply to attend, and participate in the training events directly through this website.

Program Overview:

The Sprint AI Training for African Medical Imaging Knowledge Translation (SPARK) program is designed to train a new generation of African artificial intelligence (AI) experts in medical imaging who can train others. We use a case-based learning approach and collective intelligence from various related fields (radiology, medical physics, computer science, neurology/neurosurgery, and oncology) to rapidly turn AI knowledge into action.

In 2023, we ran the first SPARK Academy in collaboration with McMedHacks and endorsed by the Medical Image Computing and Computer-Assisted Interventions (MICCAI) Society. We trained 70 researchers and clinicians from 15 countries, including 3 South East Asian countries. This first cohort developed 10 brain tumor segmentation models, 8 of which were ranked in the 2023 MICCAI brain tumor segmentation challenge competition, and 1 method was ranked in the top 2. The 2024 cohort will work together to produce state-of-the-art AI methods for the 2024 MICCAI BraTS Challenge, with top-ranked methods eligible for prizes.



The main objectives of SPARK Academy are:

  1. Build an interdisciplinary capacity of highly qualified AI personnel across Africa who can design, implement, and evaluate AI methods for medical imaging.
  2. Provide transferable research skills in study design, execution and dissemination including publications and science communication.
  3. Create a collaborative culture of developing innovative medical solutions across Africa.
  4. Contribute to the open-science efforts of the global AI imaging community.
  5. Train and retain experts who can sustainably advance imaging research across Africa.
  6. Win medical imaging Grand Challenges!


To be eligible for the 2024 SPARK Academy, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a resident in radiology, neurology, neurosurgery, or oncology, or a graduate student in radiography, physics, engineering, or computer science at an African institution.
  • Clinical or research experience with brain tumors is recommended but not required.
  • Intermediate to advanced programming experience is recommended but not required.
  • Ability to attend the full-day hackathon in person at one of the hackathon sites for all five days.
  • Commit up to 5 hours per week for the entire duration of the program.
  • Commitment to complete all program activities on time.
  • A self-motivated team player.

Application Process

The application to attend the 2024 SPARK Academy is open from February 1st to March 8th, 2024.

Our sponsors

  • Lacuna Fund
  • McGill University Graduate Mobility Award
  • McGill Univeristy Doctoral Internship Program
  • McMedHacks
  • Healthy Brains Healthy Lives (HBHL), McGill University
  • Brain Tumor Segmentation (BraTS) Challenge
  • CZI
  • Flywheel
  • Mcgill Physics Department
  • The Aga Khan University, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Brain & Mind
  • Digital Research Alliance of Canada (the Alliance)
  • Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network (SHARCNET)
  • MBOA LAB Biotech.

"The SPARK program to me was a dream come through, an open door to many opportunities and a big step into my career as a deep learning Engineer. Thanks to this program I have grown so much interest in computer vision and would love to adopt that for a Masters research thesis especially in the African context.".... 2023 SPARK Academy Participant Testimonial


Hybrid event

Medical Artificial Intelligence (MAI) Lab

Registration period

February 1, 2024 - AM 12:00 until May 20, 2024 - PM 11:59

Submission period

March 25, 2024 - AM 12:00 until April 6, 2024 - PM 11:59

Contact us

If you have any questions, please contact .

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