NHS visual data challenge

Create a data visualisation on health and care inequalities and win £1000.


Published: 15/10/2019

Project status: Current

In partnership with:

Nuffield TrustThe BMJNHS Digital

One of the core principles of the English National Health Service is to make health care available to all, based on clinical need, not an individual's ability to pay. However, many socio-demographic factors have an influence on our health and our ability to access health care.

This new data visualisation competition aims to shine a light on data about health and care inequalities in England. Using data provided by NHS Digital, we are asking entrants to tell a captivating visual story about the health of different groups of people in England.

Download the data pack

Submit your entry


The competition is in two rounds:

Round 1: Initial idea

Initial entries should be in the form of a hand-drawn sketch. We believe this format is the quickest and most effective method of conveying visualisation ideas. Digital tools can be used to get an overall sense of the data prior to sketching, but the submission must be hand-rendered. A graphics tablet or digital drawing tool may be used, but we are looking for effectively communicated ideas, not a beautiful finished product at this stage.

Round 2: Fully render

A shortlist of 10 entries will be drawn up from the first round submissions. Their authors will be invited to produce fully rendered versions of their sketches, from which a gold, silver and bronze award will be chosen for each category.



There are two categories for this competition - static and dynamic.

Graphics that do not involve movement or interaction will be considered in the static category. Screen based, interactive, and motion visualisations, including audio-based (sonifications) will be considered dynamic entries. Physical visualisations can be entered, and their category will depend on the amount of movement or interaction afforded to the viewer in the same way. 


Prizes awarded to winners of each category.





Winners’ visualisations will be published on the Nuffield Trust and BMJ web sites. 


  • John Appleby: Director of Research and Chief Economist, Nuffield Trust
  • Kieran Baker: Head of Business Intelligence, NHS Digital
  • Amy Caldwell-Nichols: Director of Performance and Analytics, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Danny Dorling: Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography, University of Oxford
  • Brian Ferguson: Chief Economist, Public Health England
  • Andy Kirk: Dataviz designer, lecturer and author
  • Hem Patel: Co-founder of Signal|Noise
  • Stefanie Posavec: Data designer, artist and author
  • Professor Stephen H Powis: National Medical Director, NHS England
  • Marie Segger: Data journalist, The Economist
  • Alan Smith: Head of visual and data journalism, Financial Times
  • Will Stahl-Timmins: Data Graphics Designer, BMJ
  • Margaret Whitehead: WH Duncan Professor of Public Health, University of Liverpool


A number of data sets have been provided by NHS Digital

Visualisations should be mainly focussed on exploring the patterns in at least one of these data sets. Other data can be used in a supporting role (please provide references if including other data).

Download the data pack


The competition is open to data visualisation practitioners, whether professional, amateur or studying. You may enter as an individual or as a group, but you may only submit one entry, in either the static or dynamic categories. Entrants can reside anywhere in the world, although the data that we want you to work with is from England so at least basic knowledge about our health system would likely be an advantage! 


Your visualisation should be understood by a non-specialist audience. The aim of the piece is to raise greater awareness of existing health inequalities and trends. An interested health service user, provider or policy maker could find something of relevance to them within the visualisation.


First round deadline: 31 Dec 2019

Shortlist announced: 29 Jan 2020

Second round deadline: 01 Mar 2020

Winners announced: 15 Mar 2020

Entries should be made before the closing date using this form.

If you have any questions regarding the competition please email: nhsdataviz@nuffieldtrust.org.uk.

NHS visual data challenge 15/10/1919


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