EIT Health: Week-long hackathon kicks-off bringing together the brightest entrepreneurs to tackle significant healthcare challenges

02 Apr 2019 | Network Updates | Update from EIT Health
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

Over thirty individuals and teams will come together in Amsterdam for the EIT Health ‘Wild Card’ Hackathon and compete for up to €4 million funding to find game-changing solutions 

  • Entrepreneurs will compete to find solutions to two European health challenges: “Mental and Brain Health” and “Digital Biomarkers” to improve diagnostic tools for diseases
  • The Wild Card Hackathon is part of an EU-wide healthcare innovation programme where teams of entrepreneurs complete activities to win business support, mentorships and funding to solve the biggest healthcare challenges of our time

Thirty of Europe’s most promising healthcare entrepreneurs are joining forces in Amsterdam today for a week-long challenge as part of EIT Health’s open innovation programme, Wild Card.

Wild Card is designed to take participants, collaborating in high-performing teams, on an entrepreneurial journey to evolve ideas into potentially transformative health products or solutions. The programme is EIT Health’s open ‘venture builder’; offering talented individuals the opportunity to build new healthcare innovations regardless of experience or background.

The intense week will see a diverse group of entrepreneurs form teams and collaborate on a series of tasks designed to maximise the benefits of team working and business skill improvement. The Hackathon will specifically challenge the participants on defining the medical and clinical unmet need, interrogating assumptions and feasibility of their proposed solutions, so that the original idea is strengthened, and a business model is designed. This is achieved through support provided by high-profile mentors and coaches. Following a pitch session with a judging panel at the end of the week, the winning team will receive funding to progress and build companies, bringing cutting-edge innovations to patients and citizens.

2019’s Wild Card Programme will be addressing:

Mental and Brain Heath: How to improve prediction, diagnosis and treatment to fight mental disorders and strengthen brain health


Digital Biomarkers: How to improve early diagnostics with the application of digital biomarkers

The two selected topics aim to help improve diagnosis and treatment, and to contribute to reducing the impact on healthcare systems and wider society. The public health burden of conditions such as depression and Alzheimer’s is staggering, costing EU Member States €113.4 billion and €105.2 billion a year respectively.

Similarly, the use of digital biomarkers in diagnoses has huge potential for unleashing the real benefits of capturing and using data, particularly in empowering citizens to manage their own health. The impact of this technology in managing chronic pain, improving cognitive function assessment and early identification of neurodegenerative disorders is significant.

“EIT Health is hugely excited to bring the second year of Wild Card to Amsterdam”, said Jorge Fernandez Garcia, Director of Innovation at EIT Health. “The Hackathon is a great platform to push our shortlisted candidates beyond limits; of their own skills, but also of innovation and science itself. The week also provides the opportunity for all participants to form valuable networks with peers and mentors who can support them throughout their entrepreneurial journey.”

“The Wild Card Programme, now in its second year, is a call to action for Europe’s innovators and we are looking for the brightest minds to help solve some of our most pressing health challenges. Our hope is that by the end of the week, we are really on our way to find the next breakthroughs in medical sciences.”

Following the pitches, a decision will be made on which teams and ideas go through to the next stage of Wild Card - Business Model Validation, a 10-week acceleration programme. The ultimate goal is to identify and award two winning teams with Wild Card project status.

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