Dear applicants,

We are pleased to announce the Data for Refugees (D4R) Challenge, with the aim of improving the living conditions of more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.


This challenge is initiated by Turk Telekom, in partnership with the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) and Bogazici University. It makes available anonymous call patterns of Turk Telekom's mobile phone users in Turkey, including citizens and refugees. The participants of the challenge will be given access to a number of datasets, collected from one million customers over the course of one year, and anonymized so that no personal information is present. The participants will submit project reports at the end of the Challenge.


The datasets include cell tower locations, site-to-site traffic on an hourly basis, fine-grained mobility of a subset of customers for 15-day periods, and individual trajectories for a subset of customers over the entire observation period with sub-prefecture location information. Call Data Records (CDR) of phone calls and SMS exchanges are made available. Additionally, each CDR record is tagged with a "Refugee" flag that indicates (with high probability) whether the record belongs to a customer with refugee status or not.


The general aims of the Challenge are to:

1) Contribute to the welfare of the refugee populations,

2) Gain insights on key issues, including safety and security, health, education, unemployment, social integration and segregation, mobility, and distribution of resources and infrastructure,

3) Help governments and international bodies model the dynamics of the refugee populations and to discover vulnerabilities (socio-economic vulnerabilities, gaps in education and services, etc.),

4) Seed further projects, co-created with refugees, resulting in new applications, services, and innovative solutions for refugees in Turkey and elsewhere.


Participation will be under a strict agreement to protect data confidentiality and privacy. Research teams applying for the Challenge will be lead by a permanent staff member of an institution, and all team members will be individually named in the agreement. A short proposal describing the aims of the team will be submitted for application. The applications will be evaluated primarily on their ultimate benefit to the refugees. Commercial use of data is not permitted.


The Project Evaluation Committee will select five projects, one for each of the major Challenge themes (i.e. security and safety, health, education, unemployment, integration), and prizes (10K x 5= 50K TL) will be awarded at the end of the Challenge. The project reports, after evaluation, will be made public, and a white paper will be prepared to present the findings of the projects in an accessible way to the relevant ministries and the NGOs. Participants will retain full ownership and copyright of their work. Upon submission, participants agree that all submitted material will be public and covered under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) open licensing agreement, allowing use of the material with due credit for the authors.


Timeline of the Challenge:

January 2018: Call for projects

15 February 2018: Deadline for 1 page project proposals (and optional


5 March 2018: Project evaluation results, sharing of datasets

31 July 2018: Submission deadline for project reports September 2018: Evaluation of reports October 2018: Project workshop and the public announcement of the winning projects


You can find more information on the Challenge on the website:


To submit a project proposal, use the 'Register Now' link.


We hope you will consider joining the Challenge, and help us harness data science for a humanitarian cause.


D4R Organization Committee:

Albert Ali Salah (Bogazici University)

Alex Pentland (MIT)

Bruno Lepri (Fondazione Bruno Kessler)

Emmanuel Letouze (MIT)

Patrick Vinck (Harvard University)

Xiaowen Dong (University of Oxford)

Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye (Imperial College London)


Welcome to the homepage of the Data for Refugees (D4R) Challenge Workshop. This workshop will gather stakeholders seeking to use Big Data for improving the living conditions of refugees. The Challenge participants will present their findings at the Workshop, and Awards will be distributed on different categories:
Health, education, social integration, unemployment, safety & security, respectively.

The presentations will be in English.

Date and Location

This workshop will take place on the 5th of November 2018 at Boğaziçi University, Albert Long Hall.

Participation and Registration

The workshop is free to attend, but security requires the names of attendees to enter the university on the day of the workshop. Please register if you like to attend.

First Name
Last Name
Tentative Program

09:00 - 09:30   Opening talks (Boğaziçi University, TUBITAK, Türk Telekom)
09:30 - 10:00   D4R Challenge Award Ceremony
10:00 - 12:00   Oral presentations from challenge participants
12:00 - 14:00   Lunch break and poster presentations from challenge participants
14:00 - 16:00   Oral presentations from challenge participants
16:00 - 17:00   Group meetings for challenge areas

Targeted Outcomes

The aim of the Workshop is to disseminate the findings of the D4R Challenge to a wider public. 31 research groups will present their results in the Workshop. The group meetings will bring the Challenge participants together to initiate a recommendations document (to be completed after the Workshop). These recommendations will be compiled in a jointly-authored chapter in the forthcoming book:

Salah, A.A., A. Pentland, B. Lepri, E. Letouze, P. Vinck, Y.A. de Montjoye, X. Dong (eds.), Guide to Mobile Data Analytics in Refugee Scenarios, Springer International, forthcoming.

Furthermore, a white paper in Turkish will be edited from the Challenge outcomes to be shared with the authorities.


Scientific Committee
Albert Ali Salah, Boğaziçi University
Alex Pentland, MIT
Bruno Lepri, FBK
Emmanuel Letouze, Data-Pop Alliance
Patrick Vinck, Harvard University
Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Imperial College London
Xiaowen Dong, University of Oxford

Project Evaluation Committee
Senem Özyavuz, Turk Telekom
Iyad Rahwan, MIT
Anahi Ayala Iacucci, Internews
Bülent Sankur, Boğaziçi University
Yıldırım Bahadırlar, TUBITAK BILGEM
Alex Rutherford, MIT
Claire Melamed, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
Jean-Marie Garelli, UNHCR
Ahmad Garibeh, Istanbul & I
Geoffrey Charles Fox, Indiana University
Josephine Goube, Techfugees
Fırat Yaman Er, Turk Telekom
Phuong Pham, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
Mithat Büyükhan, TC Ministry of Education
Mazen AboulHosn, IOM
Ömer Hakan Şimşek, TC Ministry of Health
Nona Zicherman, UNICEF
Manuel Garcia-Herranz, UNICEF
Vedran Sekara, UNICEF


Albert Ali Salah, salah@boun.edu.tr

Attention Please

PROJECT GROUPS SUBMIT PROPOSALS has been extended until March 23, 2018.