The DNA Diversity Challenge

Help Regeneron address health inequity by sharing your big ideas for increasing Black American participation in genetics research

This challenge is closed


This challenge is closed

Influencer Challenge - Prompt 1
Collaboration Challenge – Prompt 2


There is potential for all people to benefit from genomics research (the study of DNA and its relation to health and medicine).  However, you have the power bring the benefits of this cutting-edge research to the very people it can serve. One demographic with a low participation rate in genomics research is the African American community.  As a result of this–since researchers can only learn from the data they can access–genomics research has been historically limited to DNA profiles from the communities that do participate.

To bring the benefits of genomics research to African Americans, we are looking for new ideas on how to increase participation of African Americans in this field.  There are two ways to participate in and win this challenge. Visit the Guidelines here to read more about them.


The DNA Diversity Challenge (the “Challenge”) is sponsored by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (“Sponsor”). Regeneron is a leading biotechnology company that invents life-transforming medicines for people with serious diseases. Your new ideas can shape the way Regeneron and collaborators from across the healthcare, academic and nonprofit sectors bring their unique strengths together to increase health equity for African Americans through genomics research. . 



The promise of genomics research

Genomics is the study of the ways genes interact with each other and the environment to influence a variety of traits and characteristics. Genes play an important role in virtually every aspect of human health and health outcomes, including infectious diseases and many complex conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. By contributing to better understanding of these relationships, genomics research is the foundation for advancements in medicines and healthcare. 

Increasing Black American representation in genomics research will directly contribute to medical advances and related health benefits for people with African ancestry. Bridging the barriers that keep participation low is one way to help achieve health equity for Black Americans. 


What’s the problem?

Research in human genetics has a complicated past. One legacy is that Black Americans are under-represented in genomics research. This leaves significant gaps in scientific knowledge, and contributes to current and future health disparities across different racial and ethnic groups. Intentional action is needed to change this dynamic. Regeneron is working with cross-sector collaborators to actively improve access to the benefits of genomic research for people of African ancestry. 

This Challenge focuses on three known factors that limit the participation of Black Americans in genomic research: access, awareness, and trust.



Bias in medical research and trial design cause and perpetuate inequities. Research design influences who can or will participate in research. Studies are often designed to make things easy for researchers, while ignoring real-life hurdles for potential participants. This is one reason why Black Americans have been under-represented at all stages of DNA-related research, and in many cases not even asked to participate. 



Factual information about genomics research is not always available, or not communicated in ways that work for most people. Misinformation spreads easily, and can increase concerns about costs, safety, privacy, and worries about discrimination from insurers or employers. The benefits of genomics research are not always communicated in ways that are meaningful, leaving many people without compelling reasons to participate.



It is not surprising that trust influences participation in genomics research. There are many examples of how research in human genetics has reflected and perpetuated racial injustice. Individuals, families and communities may share skepticism about how data will be stored, who will have access, and how information might be used now or in the future. Negative experiences with healthcare providers, insurers, and pharmaceutical companies also influence who is willing to participate in research, regardless of the potential benefits.


The DNA Diversity Challenge

Regeneron is working to improve medicine for all. Regeneron and its collaborator, Base 11, seek the help of young changemakers like you to increase the participation of Black Americans in genomics research by addressing any of these key known barriers: access, awareness, and trust. Your ideas will shape the ways Regeneron and collaborators from across the healthcare, academic and nonprofit sectors combine their unique strengths to support increased participation of Black Americans in genomics research. 

There are two ways to get involved:


Challenge Updates

Congratulations to our winners!

Sept. 27, 2022, 11 a.m. PDT by Liz Treadwell


Thank you again to everyone who took the time to submit their ideas to the DNA Diversity Challenge, presented by Regeneron and Base11. The judging panel has reviewed the submissions and after deliberation have selected the following winners for the prizes:

Influencer Challenge – Prompt 1:

  • 1st Place:
    • Chanda Lowrance - A TikTok Campaign that Encourages Black Genomics.
      • This submission suggests using TikTok to post a short, 5 second clip about why they participate in genomics research, as well as motivating users to change their profile picture to encourage Black people to participate in genomic research.
  • 2nd Place:
    • CuriosityScience - The Trip of Tomorrow
      • This submission uses an illustrated real-world example to provide simple explanations to reasons why someone would be hesitant to participate in genomics research.

Collaboration Challenge – Prompt 2:

  • 1st Place:
    • Areahna O'Rea - Transforming Lives: It's In My DNA
      • This submission suggests placing pop-ups at Civil Rights Trail historical sites to educate individuals about genomics research and encouraging them to sign up for future research events, and/or collect samples at the sites themselves.
  • 2nd Place:
    • Janae McCloud - HBCU Partnership and African American Genomics
      • This submission details how connecting HBCU student health programs with Field of Study Curriculums will educate students outside of science majors as well as increase trust in genomics research.
  • 3rd Place:
    • Smrithi Chakravarthy - DNA Diversity: A Collaborative Focus Group Model
      • This submission details how partnering with representative, community-based focus groups across U.S. cities can build trust in genomics research.
    • Britnee Johnston - Promotional Recruitment Campaign of ResearchMatch
      • This submission recommends developing a partnership with NIH-sponsored platform, ResearchMatch, and creating a promotional campaign to recruit Black Americans to join the platform as volunteer research participants.
    • Gary Kawakami - The Roots Project
      • This submission proposes a program to partner with the African American community to accumulate an inventory of genomic data that will be useful in continuing research and development of genetics research, while providing each participant with their genetic heritage – their own individual version of “Roots”.

The ideas and proposals presented by the winners will help shape the ways Regeneron and collaborators from across the healthcare, academic and nonprofit sectors combine their unique strengths to support increased participation of Black Americans in genomics research.

If you wish to learn more about the winners and their solutions, be sure to join the 2022 Next Frontier Conference & Expo: Future in Focus, hosted by Base 11 on November 9 and 10. You can register for it here.

In the meantime, join us in congratulating the winners by leaving a message in the comments section below.


Winner Announcement - Coming Soon!

Sept. 7, 2022, 1:06 p.m. PDT by Liz Treadwell


We are wrapping up the judging stage of the DNA Diversity Challenge and plan on announcing the winners for the Influencer and Collaboration prompts on Tuesday, September 27th. Thank you to everyone for your patience and excitement regarding the conclusion of this challenge!

Thank You for your Submissions

July 27, 2022, 2:30 p.m. PDT by Lulu

Just like that, it’s over! Thank you to all of you who sent in submissions. We can’t wait to finally see what you’ve been working so hard on. 

Crowdsourcing would be nothing without the crowd — that’s you! Thank you for being an indispensable part of this process, and using your brainpower for the greater good. Thank you!

Eight Hours Left

July 27, 2022, 6 a.m. PDT by Lulu

You now have less than a day left to submit your quick pitches or detailed proposals. Now’s the time to make final changes and send it off!

Please remember that the deadline is 5pm Eastern Time. We don’t accept any late submissions, so do your best to get it in ahead of time.

We can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with! Best of luck.

One Week Warning

July 20, 2022, 1 p.m. PDT by Lulu

This is your one week warning! The final submission deadline is 5pm on July 27th Eastern Time (New York/USA). No late submissions will be accepted, so make sure to give yourself plenty of buffer time.

If there’s anything you’re unsure about, there is still time to ask for help. Post on the discussion forum or leave a comment on this post. We’ll keep an eye out for your questions.

We can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on. Best of luck finishing up your submissions!

Influencer Challenge - Prompt 1

Influencer Challenge - Prompt 1

How could you persuade someone of African ancestry who is close to you that it’s worthwhile to participate in genomics research? Document, and share with us how you would influence someone to participate.

This challenge might be for you if you are feeling creative. Submissions are accepted in video, audio, still image or written formats. It won’t require much research - just a good pitch! $1,000 will be awarded to up to five participants who share compelling and persuasive submission. 



We encourage submissions from young changemakers and early career innovators. Prizes will be awarded as follows:







Runners Up (up to 4 winners)



Total Prize Purse  


Judging Criteria

All eligible entries will be judged according to the following criteria:

  • Persuasion 40%  Is the pitch persuasive? Does it hold the judges’ interest? Does it convey its message effectively in 90 seconds or less? Does the medium work well with the approach, message and target audience?
  • Originality 30% Do the judges learn something new? (e.g. about the problem, or the potential for using the medium to address this problem). Is the submission creative? Does it stand out from other submissions? Does it have a spark?
  • Alignment 30% Does the submission address the goals of the challenge? Is it clear from the submission who the intended audience is? Are the approach and message clear?



Participation Eligibility:

The Challenge is open to all legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are at least 18 years of age or the age of majority in their state of residence, whichever is older. Submissions can be made by individuals, private teams, public teams, and collegiate teams who are residents of the United States. Submissions must be made in English. There is a maximum of five [5] team members per team.  All Challenge-related communication will be in English.

Individuals and teams should not be representing a for-profit business. Additionally, healthcare professionals are not eligible to participate – this includes Medical Doctors, Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, Dentists, Podiatrists, Optometrists, Licensed Chiropractors, Physician Assistants, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (including Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives, Clinical Nurse Specialists and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists). 

Employees of Regeneron, Base11, HeroX, their affiliated companies, subsidiaries, vendors, agencies, and the immediate family members and members of the same residing in the household of any of the above are not eligible to enter or win.

To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the Challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement (collectively, these “Official Rules”).


Registration and Submissions:

Submissions must be made online (only), via upload to the website, on or before the Submission Deadline (see Timeline here[1] ). No late Submissions will be accepted.

This Challenge allows a maximum of three (3) Submissions per individual/team. Each Submission will be considered separately. Whether or not multiple entries from the same individual or team may be chosen for a prize is up to the discretion of the Sponsor. You are not required to submit multiple entries.

By submitting a Submission you warrant and represent that it: (a) is your original work, (b) has not been previously published, (c) has not won previous awards, (d) does not infringe upon the copyrights, trademarks, rights of privacy, publicity or other intellectual property or other rights of any person or entity; (e) that you have obtained permission from a person who's name, likeness or voice is used in the Submission and (f) and that publication of the Submission via various media, will not infringe on the rights of any third party rights. Any such entrant will indemnify and hold harmless, Sponsor from any claims to the contrary.  Any entrant whose Submission includes likenesses of third parties or contains elements not owned by the entrant (such as, but not limited to, depictions of persons, buildings, trademarks or logos) must be able to provide legal releases for such use including Sponsor’s use of such Submission, in a form satisfactory to administrator, upon request, prior to award of prize and/or naming of entrant as a winner.


All Submissions must comply with the following requirements:

1. Submissions must not contain material that violates or infringes another’s rights, including without limitation, intellectual property rights infringement, privacy, or publicity;

2. Submissions must not disparage or adversely affect the name, brand image, reputation or goodwill of Sponsor or any other person or party affiliated with the Challenge;

3. Submissions must have permission from all individuals that appear or are referenced in any Submissions (if any) to use their name and likeness and to grant the rights set forth herein;

4. Submissions must not contain any viruses, worms, spy ware, or other components or instructions that are malicious, deceptive, or designed to limit or harm the functionality of a computer;  

5. Submissions must not contain material that is inappropriate, indecent, obscene hateful, tortious, defamatory, slanderous or libelous;

6. Submissions must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; and

7. Submissions must not contain material that is unlawful or describes or depicts any unlawful activity.



The judging panel will be composed of Regeneron and Base 11 employees with expertise in advancing equity in health, education and/or community.

No information regarding judging deliberations or selections will be disclosed.


Intellectual Property Rights:

As detailed in the Challenge-Specific Agreement, if Challenge Sponsor notifies Innovator that Submission is eligible for a Prize, Innovator will be considered qualified as a finalist (“Finalist”). Submission of an entry grants Sponsor and its agents an unlimited, worldwide, perpetual, license and right to publish, use, publicly perform the Submission in any way, in any and all media, without limitation, and without consideration to the entrant. Except where prohibited by law, each winner grants (and agrees to confirm this grant in writing, if requested) permission for Sponsor and those acting under its authority to use his/her name, photograph, voice and/or likeness, for advertising and/or publicity purposes in any and all media now known or hereinafter invented without territorial or time limitations and without compensation. 


Awarding of the Prize:

Winners will be posted on the Innovator Challenge website -  [].

The Individual Submitter or Team Captain is automatically designated as the Recipient of the prize monies. The Team Captain will also determine how the prize is distributed among other Team members. The Individual’s or Team Captain’s name must also match the Authorized Person on the receiving Bank Account . No changes are permitted to the prize Recipient after the Submission Deadline date. If you wish to change who would receive the prize monies, those changes must be completed prior to the Submission Deadline. View our Knowledge Base article here for how to change Team Captains.  Prizes are non-transferable,  Prize recipient cannot assign the payments.  Winners are only entitled to the awarded Prize. Potential winners are subject to verification, including verification of age.  If a potential winner is found not to be eligible or not in compliance with these Official Rules, or if any prize is returned as  undeliverable, the potential winner will be disqualified.  In the event that a potential winner is disqualified for any reason, Sponsor reserves the right to award the prize to an alternate entrant who will also be selected randomly, even if the disqualified potential winner’s name may have been publicly announced.  Sponsor is not responsible for any change of email address, mailing address and/or telephone number of entrants.



Prize winners will be solely responsible for all federal, state and/or local taxes, and for any other fees or costs associated with the prizes they receive, regardless of whether it, in whole or in part, are used .


Please see the privacy policy located at for details of Sponsor's policy regarding the use of personal information collected in connection with this Challenge.  If you are selected as a winner, your information may also be included in a publicly-available winner’s list. 


Additional Information

  • By participating in the challenge, each competitor agrees to adhere to the HeroX Intellectual Integrity Policy and promises to submit only their original idea. Any indication of "copying" amongst competitors is grounds for disqualification.
  • All applications will go through a process of due diligence; any application found to be misrepresentative, plagiarized, or sharing an idea that is not their own will be automatically disqualified.
  • All ineligible applicants will be automatically removed from the competition with no recourse.
  • No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win the competition.
  • Void wherever restricted or prohibited by law.

Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion to cancel or suspend this Challenge should fraud, virus, bugs or other causes beyond the control of Sponsor corrupt the administration of the Challenge.  Sponsor is not responsible for computer system, phone line, hardware, software or program malfunctions, or other errors, failures or delays in computer transmissions or network connections that are human or technical in nature.  Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual (and all of his or her entries) who tampers with the entry process.  Participants may not register with multiple email addresses nor may entrants use any other device or artifice to register multiple times or as multiple registrants. Any Participant who attempts to enter with multiple email addresses under multiple identities or uses any device or artifice to register/play multiple times will be disqualified and forfeits any and all prizes won, in Sponsor's discretion.  Judges’ decisions are final in all matter relating to this Challenge.


Limitations of Liability and Release:

As a condition of entering, entrants (or their parent or legal guardian if an eligible minor) agree (and agree to confirm in writing): (a) to release Sponsor, its affiliates, subsidiaries, retailers, sales representatives, distributors and each of their officers, directors, employees and agents (“Challenge Parties”), from any and all liability, loss or damage incurred with respect to the awarding, receipt, possession, and/or use or misuse of any prize, including any traveling related thereto (b) under no circumstances will entrant be permitted to obtain awards for, and participant hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, incidental, consequential, or any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses; (c) all causes of action arising out of or connected with this Challenge, or any prize awarded, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action; and (d) any and all claims, judgments, and award shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, excluding attorneys’ fees and court costs.   These Official Rules and the Challenge are governed by US law and are subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of the Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of each entrant and Sponsor in connection with the Challenge, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State  of New York, U.S.A., without giving effect to the conflict of laws rules thereof, and any matters or proceedings shall take place in the State of New York.


Winners List:

The Winners will be announced and listed on the Innovator Challenge website –

Collaboration Challenge – Prompt 2