News & Analysis

Health start-ups from emerging Europe offer more and better solutions

Eleven health innovations from emerging regions have been selected in the EIT Health RIS Innovation Call 2021, with seven coming from the emerging Europe region. Each of them will receive 75,000 euros, mentors and pan-European networking support.

In the third edition of the RIS Innovation Call, covering the eastern and southern parts of Europe, where innovation has traditionally been moderate, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology Health (EIT Health) has selected eleven out of more than 100 submitted ideas.

Slovenia has shown the biggest number of innovative ideas with three winning proposals, followed by Latvia and Portugal, two winning proposals each, and one from Croatia, Slovakia, Italy, and Greece.



“The success rate of the submitted applications is the highest in the programme’s history,” says Mónika Tóth, EIT Health InnoStars RIS Programme Manager.

“The quality of the solutions significantly increased, which might be a signal that the business readiness level of the teams from emerging regions has been improving. Young researchers are better equipped with knowledge, skills, and abilities to transform healthcare ideas into marketable products and solutions. They are also better skilled in creating consortia of industry, academia, and R&D partners. This is a great milestone in bridging the innovation gap in Europe,” she says.

All the submitted proposals targeted the most urgent healthcare challenges facing society. Still, the three focus areas dominated the scene: 46 per cent focus on bringing care home solutions, 36 per cent on fostering healthier lives and 18 per cent on health in the workplace.

“This year, we’ve also noticed the record number of ideas that support healthcare delivery in homes and away from hospitals, improving health outcomes. It is extremely important, especially in the context of integration of health and social care and releasing pressure on hospital services. We are happy to support innovators from Central, Eastern or Southern Europe who help us boost ‘out-of-hospital care and work on healthy environments,” Tóth adds.

One of the Slovenian projects offers a tool that enables quick, more efficient, and safe transfer of frozen cryovials. Another is an online diagnostic platform for testing sexually transmitted infections with tests ordered and performed from home. 

A Slovak start-up provides a telemonitoring solution for patients with hypertension, dyslipidemia, obesity, high cardiovascular risk, and SARS-CoV-2 positive in connection with polymorbidity. The solution ensures the reduction of interventions, fewer GP calls or visits to the doctor.

A solution from Latvia is a multiple-layer hybrid coating for medical implants with the ability of drug delivery. Another, also from Latvia, is an add-on module for CPAP devices that helps patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) by controlling the oxygen concentration, enabling oxygen supplies to be adjusted and monitoring the patient.

The EIT Regional Innovation Scheme (EIT RIS) was created to close the gap between regions that are leaders in innovation and those regions which are progressing. The programme is implemented with the involvement of 13 local hubs located in 12 countries across Eastern, Central and Southern Europe. These Hubs serve as access points to a pan-European network of the best universities, companies, and their projects.


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