2021 Case Studies in Data Analysis Competition

Case Studies 

The Case Studies in Data Analysis Poster Competition will be held online on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. The case studies are intended to provide enthusiastic teams of graduate and senior undergraduate students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge to our current social issues with data. Each participating team will choose to analyze one of the two studies described below. Each team is strongly encouraged to identify a faculty member to support the members as they develop their analytic approach and final presentation. Team members are supposed to work together to present a poster summarizing their methods and analysis results.

Case Study #1: What geographical factors are associated with pipeline incidents that involve spills?

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) has a mandate to protect people and the environment during construction, operation, and abandonment of oil and gas pipelines and associated facilities. Despite its best efforts, in the past 12 years there have been 723 pipeline incidents that involved the release of oil or natural gas. This case study aims to explore what geographical and meteorological factors are associated with pipeline incidents.

Case Study #2: Modeling COVID-19 disease dynamics in Canada

As of January 2021, there have been over 750,000 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection. Much of the public health modelling that has been done related to this outbreak is based on versions of compartment models. Compartment models refer to a broad class of infectious disease models that seek to understand how infectious diseases spread throughout susceptible populations. The goal for the application of compartment models is not to realistically model or predict outbreaks exactly, but rather to explore plausible scenarios for infections given various input parameters and constraints. The goal of this case study is to explore the dynamics of the disease spread in Canada with a compartmental model, and define one to three clear research questions that your model seeks to address.


Two awards will be presented for the top 2 teams in each of the two case studies. The value of the award from SSC for each case study in the 2021competition is 750 dollars, with the expectation that this award is shared equally among the members of each winning team. CER will grant one of the two awards to the team working on Case Study #1. Precision-Analytics will also grant one of the two awards to the team working on Case Study #2. The Committee reserves the right to decline to make an award for each case study if the number of entries is insufficient. 

All participating students will receive a certificate of participation.

Important Dates

May 1, 2021: Registration

Teams interested in participating in the competition must submit the following information by this date by emailing the Chair of the Case Studies in Data Analysis Committee, Dr. Chel Hee Lee (chelhee.lee@ucalgary.ca). The registration information should include:

  • Names and emails of the team leader
  • Team members and faculty mentor(s)
  • University name
  • Case study number
  • Presentation title.

We require that the number of team members (either undergraduate students or graduate students) in a team should not be more than 4.

Please note that at least one member of each team needs to register for and attend the SSC Annual Meeting. The final date for dearly bird registration fees is April 25, 2021.

June 1, 2021: Abstract and group photo submission

The teams registered must submit the following to the committee chair. An abstract (maximum 500 words) with Sections of (i) Introduction, (ii) Objective, (iii) Methods, (iv) Results and (v) Conclusions. The abstract template can be downloaded here

June 6, 2021: Submission

The teams registered must submit the PDF version of your poster to the committee chair by 5 pm (EST). 

Poster preparation

Each poster is recommended to contain the following information:

  • Title of poster
  • Names of team members and university affiliation(s)
  • Objectives
  • Methods
  • Results/Main findings (use figures, tables, and text)
  • Conclusions (including strengths and limitations of your analysis)

You should acknowledge your team’s faculty mentor (if you have one) on your poster. Your faculty member’s role is to provide advice and suggestions about your analysis, not to do the analysis for you.
The maximum size for your poster is 4 feet high by 3.5 feet wide.
Consider the elements of good poster design as you prepare for the competition. Some useful resources are:

June 9, 2021: Poster presentation judging (Students are NOT required to present)

The Committee of the Award for Case Studies in Data Analysis will consider such attributes as result accuracy, innovation of the analysis methods, technical clarity, and cohesiveness of the analysis, interpretation and presentation of results in choosing winning teams.
Each poster will be evaluated by a team of 3-4 judges. The judging team members will make a consensus of all participating teams' ranking for each of the two case studies, respectively.


Many thanks to members of the Case Studies in Data Analysis Committee for SSC2021 for their contributions: Dr.  Kathryn Morrison, Precision Analytics Inc. & McGill University; Dr. Chel Hee Lee, Critical Care Medicine, Alberta Health Services & University of Calgary; Dr. Ehsan Karim, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia; Dr. Zhaozhi Fan, Mathematics and Statistics, Memorial University; 
We also thank the Canada Energy Regulator for their contribution: Dr. José Ribas Fernandes, Dr. Ryan Hum, Mr. Nipun Goyal, Mr. Andrew Benson.