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Q: What is SPARK Academy

A: The SPARK Academy is designed to train a new generation of African AI experts in medical imaging who can train others. This program includes a six week training, a one week hackathon, and a nine weeks practicum.

Q: What sets it apart from similar training programs and makes it special?

A: The SPARK Academy is unique for its emphasis on AI-based diagnostic capacity building and collaborative methods, with the broader goal of building an interdisciplinary network of researchers and teachers across Africa.

Q: I am an African student at a university/college outside Africa. Am I eligible?

A: No. Given, the limited training resources, The SPARK Academy is available to individuals who are currently studying or practicing at an African university, college, or institution.

Q: What level of programming experience do I need?

A: Intermediate to advanced skills level is encouraged.

Q: Do I need a personal computer to participate?

A: Yes, you will require access to a laptop or desktop to participate. We will provide cloud computing services for model development and evaluation.

Q: What does it cost to be a student?

A: The SPARK Academy is completely free for students to attend. There are no costs or fees associated with accessing the program or its resources. Students can take advantage of all the features of the SPARK Academy without any financial burden.

Q: What timezone will live training events and activities be held?

A: All live training activities will be held in the East Africa Time zone (GMT +3) .

Q: How much time should I commit to this course?

A: The amount of time spent on each block varies depending on the student's prior background knowledge, skill and learning style. Each week of the Foundation block should take no more than 12 hours to complete including weekend tutorials. The Hackathon is a 9-hour daily activity with group assignments designed to be completed within this time. Team Practicum block is designed to take no more than 20 hours per week to complete, including weekend tutorials.

Q: How do students get grouped into teams or 'pods'?

A: Teams will be formed by randomly grouping participants from different parts of Africa across disciplines.

Q: What are group projects?

A: Participants within the same group will work together (collective intelligence) to complete exercises or assignments and develop an AI-based segmentation model with the aim of winning the 2024 MICCAI BraTS Challenges.

Q: Will students receive a certificate of completion?

A: Yes. Participants in the SPARK Academy hackathon will receive a certificate of participation, recognizing their efforts in the event. In addition, participants who actively contribute to their pods' participation in the 2024 MICCAI BraTS Challenge will receive a certificate of completion. This certificate acknowledges the individual's hard work and dedication towards their team's success.

Q: I have more questions about the Academy. Who do I contact?

A: For any additional inquiries, please feel free to send us an email at

Code of Conduct

SPARK Academy is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience and safe environment for all, regardless of race, cultural affiliations, gender, nationality, beliefs, age, or disability. Indecent imagery is not appropriate at any of the Academy’s events including virtual and in-person events.

All attendees, speakers, and volunteers are expected to comply with this code of conduct and violations of its standards may result in sanctions or expulsion from participating in events, at the discretion of the Academy Team. Upholding the standards of behavior is mandatory to maintain SPARK's integrity and create a positive environment.

Expected behavior

All attendees, speakers, and volunteers at SPARK events must:

  1. Behave professionally and responsibly towards each other, both in-person and online, during all formal and informal social activities, regardless of location.
  2. Respect each other and avoid making judgments based on race, gender, nationality, beliefs, age, or disability.
  3. Refrain from any forms of harassment, bullying, or discrimination towards fellow participants.
  4. Adhere to the guidelines and instructions given by SPARK organizers and staff during events.
  5. Maintain confidentiality of any sensitive information shared during events.
  6. Avoid engaging in any illegal or unethical behavior.

Unexpected behavior

  1. Behaving in a manner that is disruptive or disrespectful towards other participants, staff, or the event itself.
  2. Using language that is inappropriate, disrespectful, or offensive towards other participants, staff, or the event itself.
  3. Engaging in any illegal or unethical behavior, such as theft, plagiarism, vandalism, or fraud.
  4. Disobeying or ignoring the guidelines and instructions given by SPARK organizers and staff during the event.
  5. Engaging in any behavior that may pose a threat to the safety or security of other participants, staff, or the event itself.
  6. Intentionally causing damage to the event venue, equipment, or other property.
  7. Engaging in any form of inappropriate or unwanted physical contact towards other participants or staff.
  8. Violating the confidentiality of any sensitive information shared during the event.
  9. Using SPARK events or platforms for personal or commercial gain without prior authorization from the organizers.

Recording Policy: Online events may be recorded or live streamed, but only with express written permission from SPARK Academy and the authors/owners of the content. Any unauthorized recordings will violate ethical and legal standards.

Reporting Process: To report any concerns regarding the violation of the aforementioned guidelines, please email the SPARK Academy organizers at

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