By Sara Gavidia
It’s a fact that we live in an ever-changing world, especially since the development of technology allows us to go beyond our expectations. Drones, 3D printers, virtual reality devices, artificial organs and many other astonishing tools would not exist nowadays if it weren’t for innovation; and innovation, in turn, would not exist if it weren’t for those organizations that seek and support progress.
European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)
One of the best known is the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), an EU body whose mission is to strengthen Europe’s ability to innovate by gathering business, education, and research to solve global problems. Within these problems, they focus on issues mostly related to sustainability, food, or healthcare, being the last one an important concern for the EIT. As a result, an initiative known as EIT Health InnoStars Awards has been created, whose aim is to support early-stage health industry ventures that want to make their business concepts prosper and bring them to the domestic and international market.
Initially, this program was born together with another one so that companies could apply to one of them depending on their interests. However, it has changed over time and while the second program has disappeared, InnoStars Awards has evolved and has increased its potential.
EIT Health InnoStars Awards
Nowadays, awarded companies will receive a financial reward of 25,000€, as well as individual mentoring for a four-month period and the chance to participate in two bootcamps in Europe. In addition, the EIT will give the opportunity to meet customers, investors, and partners to the winners.
After the four-month period, only 10 companies will become finalists to compete for three possible prizes: an additional 25,000€; 15,000€, or 10,000€ in funding. Participants must come from countries from Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe so as to promote innovation all over the continent, given that these regions show lower levels of innovation than other European countries.
Awarded projects of the InnoStars program
Since its launch in 2016, the InnoStars program has supported and financed several projects from different companies. Now it also intends to encourage those European countries which are less innovative. To highlight some of them, we find BRIGHT – Beyond Research and Information Graphics for Health and Technology, a Portuguese company that developed Serious Games for Health project to help patients manage their diseases and follow the therapy; and the Lithuanian company BrachyDOSE, which developed a cancer treatment quality control to offer oncologists precision and better treatment results in radiotherapy.
These are only two of the 2019 winners, but many others have been through this process and have contributed to the healthcare field, which is, after all, the one that helps us go beyond and without which there would be no innovation.
A new call for 2022 has already been announced, which closes on March 27, 2022, so by the end of the year, we will see who the new winners are and which astonishing innovations they have presented.