April 3 to August 31, 2023

SPARK Academy


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.

The first SPARK Academy is in collaboration with McMedHacks and endorsed by the Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Interventions (MICCAI) Society. This first SPARK Academy event is planned to coincide with the release of the AfNiA (The African Neuroimaging Archive) brain tumor dataset (BraTS-Africa) in May 2023, ahead of the 2023 MICCAI Brain Tumor Segmentation (BraTS) Challenge. Thirty trainees from various African nations (6 from each region) will participate in the first SPARK Academy and will be trained to create state-of-the-art AI methods for brain tumor diagnostics. This first cohort will work together to produce 6 AI methods for the 2023 MICCAI BraTS Challenge, with top ranked methods eligible for The Lacuna Fund monetary prize (up to $5000).



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 2023 SPARK Academy, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a resident in radiology, neurosurgery, or neurooncology, or a graduate student in medical physics, biomedical engineering, or computer science at an African institution.
  • For clinicians, recommended to have clinical or research experience with brain tumors.
  • For data science trainees, recommended to have intermediate to advanced programming experience.
  • Must be able to attend the on-site hackathon in person at one of the six sites for all five days.
  • A self-motivated team player.

Application Process

The application to attend the 2023 SPARK Academy from 3rd April to 31st July 2023 is now closed. Applications closed on March 24, 2023.

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.


Hybrid event

Medical Artificial Intelligence (MAI) Lab

Contact us

For any questions about the event, please contact spark@mailab.io

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