EU sets aside €4 million for ‘wild card’ healthtech ideas

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As part of its new ‘Wild Card’ initiative, EIT Health has announced €4 million in funding for entrepreneurs, data/IT experts and researchers with ideas to transform European healthcare.

EIT Health is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union.

EIT Health will award teams with financial backing, as well as support from EU business organisations, research bodies and universities to develop their ideas to quickly and tangibly address challenges in European healthcare.

To be in with a chance of funding, applicants must submit a proposal for either the ‘Smart Health’ AI/big data challenge or ‘Fight Back’ antibiotic resistance challenge.

Smart Health sets applicants the task of building new solutions that utilise artificial intelligence to quickly interpret large, unstructured data sets, allowing healthcare professionals across the EU to improve patient care.

Fight Back challenges applicants to build innovative solutions that tackle the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, both in terms of raising awareness and enabling new processes and methodologies across EU healthcare.

The challenges are based on proposals from EIT Health Partners, who were consulted for their ideas. EIT Health Partners and some of Europe’s top incubators are among the group of organisations who will provide support to the winning projects over the course of two years.

The winning ideas will need to be ambitious and address a real need in European healthcare. Applicants are strongly encouraged to focus on applied research with real commercial potential and tangible results.

The competition is open to individuals or small teams (with a maximum of three people) from all backgrounds across the EU. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to compete in a final tournament in mid-2018. The two winning teams will be supported for 24 months, starting in October 2018.

Commenting, Jorge Fernández, innovation director at EIT Health and coordinator of the Wild Card programme, said: “Wild Card is looking for innovative, risk-taking game changers who have radical ideas for the future of healthcare in the EU. We believe these ideas are out there right now. Wild Card wants to bring them into the light and give them the financial, business and research supports necessary to flourish.

“Our two challenges tackle some of the most pressing healthcare problems in Europe: the problem of data and antibiotic resistance. Mobile technology allows us to monitor biometric data in real time. For patient diagnosis and treatment, this has the potential to be revolutionary—but the sheer amount of it is hard to properly analyse and use in an effective way. AI can help to unlock this potential, and pave the way for more personalised healthcare solutions.

“Antibiotic resistance is a grave concern. If our current treatments fail, old, dangerous diseases could return, and simple hospital procedures will again carry a great degree of risk. We need to fight it now, and that will require pan-EU collaboration, greater public awareness and using technology in innovative ways.”

“Wild Card is looking for the biggest, brightest minds. We welcome entries from any individual or team with a passion for healthcare transformation.”

Applications can be submitted via The deadline for applications is 17:00 CET, 9 March 2018. More information can be found on the Wild Card FAQ page.

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