EU funding for start-ups and Co.
In their search for investment, young digital health startups must not only rely on their network capabilities, which they usually build and expand on digital health conferences such as the DxPx, which specializes in effective partnering, MeetUps, Makerspaces, FabLabs or in locations selected for their specific industry, such as co-working spaces, cafes or bars. It is also worth taking a look at funding through consortia. Basically, there are two different funding instruments: Direct Grants (Calls for Proposals) and Joint Actions (Procurement). The former go directly to the company being promoted as a project grant, while the latter represent co-financing with member state authorities, i.e. the procurement measures for the promotion are provided by at least two public clients and awarded as service contracts.
A good example of an EU funding programme is Horizon 2020, which provides funding for innovative and economically sound ideas. The Horizon funding directive has been in existence since 2014 and is the central EU funding programme for research and innovation with a total funding volume of almost 80 billion euros. The focus is on social challenges and Europe's economic competitiveness. Horizon 2020 has 24 different categories. The range of topics and the budget make the success seem almost tangible, but the challenge of the application, which takes an enormous amount of time and effort to prepare, as well as the competition for approval, are enormous. In addition, the demands of the calls are complex and must be addressed very specifically. Partnership-based cooperation with, for example, universities and research institutions or other LifeScience companies not only makes sense, but is usually also mandatory in order to come closer to achieving one's own goals. However, many interested parties fail to find a partner or write an application. If, on the other hand, it is possible to jointly set up such a project and, at best, receive funding for several years, then the Participant Portal, the virtual project platform, will be the place to go not only for the submission of the application but to the completion of the project.
How to get there?
In order to benefit from a Horizon Foundation, the first step of the application should be to reflect the overall concept of one's own idea. The budget must be drawn up in advance and broken down exactly. In addition, the own project must be critically examined and checked for ethical norms. Subsequently, your own project goals and measures for achieving them must be explicitly worked out and divided into clusters on the basis of so-called work packages in order to set a timeframe that is subsequently binding. This includes the organisational and personnel structure of the project. After submission, the participants have to wait - five months usually pass until the final decision is made.
Where can I get help?
The effort costs towards the Horizon 2020 promotion have become more than obvious. Support can be provided by so-called EU speakers or by expert associations such as the NCPs (Community of National Contact Points). Concrete workshops are also helpful, which are already based on specific calls and provide a framework for effective networking and mutual exchange. A current example of the call SC1-BHC-06-2020: "Digital diagnostics - developing tools for supporting clinical decisions by integrating various diagnostic data" is the Meet & Apply Workshop of Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH on 23rd of August 2019 in Berlin.
More Calls in LifeSciences at Horizon 2020
"Better Health and care, economic growth and sustainable health systems”
SC1-BHC-08-2020: New therapies for Non Communicable Diseases“
SC1-BHC-12-2020: Boosting the translation of results of health research into validated, innovative applications
SC1-BHC-17-2020: Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases 2
SC1-BHC-20-2020: Using PCP and PPI in health care systems to: - reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections and/or - improve integrated care
SC1-BHC-24-2020: Healthcare interventions for the management of the elderly multimorbid patient
SC1-BHC-29-2020: Environment and climate change and health – novel mitigation measures for improving population health
“Digital transformation in Health and Care”
SC1-DTH-02-2020 : Personalised early risk prediction, prevention and intervention
SC1-DTH-06-2020: Accelerating the uptake of in-silico methods for testing medicines with dermatological use
SC1-HCC-06-2020: Support to eHealth Innovation ecosystems in Europe
SC1-HCC-07-2020: Support for European eHealth Interoperability roadmap deployment
SC1-HCC-08-2020: Scaling up innovation for active and healthy ageing
SC1-HCC-09-2020: Supporting deployment of eHealth in developing countries for better health outcomes
„Trusted digital solutions and Cybersecurity in Health and Care“
DT-ICT-12-2020: The smart hospital of the future
DT-TDS-04-2020: Demonstrating the potential and benefits of a European Digital Health Infrastructure for Personalised Medicine
Calls from NMBP Programmes
“Foundations for Tommorow’s Industry"
DT-NMBP-06-2020: Open Innovation Test Beds for nano-pharmaceuticals production
NMBP-17-2020: Regulatory science for medical technology products
“Transforming European Industry”
NMBP-21-2020: Custom-made biological scaffolds for specific tissue regeneration and repair
DT-NMBP-23-2020: Next generation organ-on-chip
BIOTEC-06-2020: Reprogrammed microorganisms for biological sensors
BIOTEC-07-2020: Multi-omics for the optimisation of genotype-phenotype associations
The Digital Diagnostics and LifeScience research segments are strongly focused areas within the EU funding complex. In addition to the Horizon funding program, there are other EU programs that could be thematically appropriate for Diagnostic Startups. For example, the 3rd Health Programme (3HP), which focuses on public health care and preventive measures with regard to physical and psychological suffering. A current call in this area is, for example, the 3rd Programme of Community Action in the field of Health, which focuses on 1) Promote health, prevent diseases and foster supportive environments for health lifestyles 2) Protect citizens from serious cross-border health threats 3) Facilitate access to better and safer healthcare for Union Citiziens 4) Contribute to innovative, efficient and sustainable Health Systems and 5) Facilitating access to better and safer healthcare for EU citizens.
In principle, there are sufficient funding opportunities for Diagnostic Startups, whether at EU level or elsewhere. However, the commitment that young innovators have to invest in such funding is enormous. Only those who firmly believe in themselves, have a strong will and sufficient stamina, frustration tolerance, patience and ability should therefore enter the ring. The period from the start-up to the stable profit margin is usually around four years.