Accelerating towards robotic solutions for health

20 June 2019
Accelerating towards robotic solutions for health
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Healthcare represents a large and fast growing societal and economic activity. The European healthcare market is expected to grow from around $2080 billion in 2016 to around $2125 billion in 2020.

The European medical technology market is estimated at roughly 110 billion Euro in 2016; it is the second largest medical technology market after the US. Europe has numerous global healthcare equipment suppliers and the sector has a massive potential for robotic applications. Technologically Europe has a lot to offer, but the wide-scale adoption of robotic technology in the healthcare sector is at this moment limited, yet promising.

Deloitte describes 12 key exponential technologies which may reach varying levels of adoption and transformation in the healthcare sector within the next decade. Surgical robotics is already in the adoption phase of the ‘late majority’ with a low degree of uncertainty. Frost & Sullivan, has analysed the timeframe for commercialisation and maturation of 22 top technologies that will change the healthcare industry dramatically; the breakthrough for robotics is expected in the period 2019-2025.

Digital Innovation Hubs

As the European Commission defines Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) have been created to help companies to become more competitive within their business processes, products or services. They are based on technologies and will provide access to the knowledge, expertise and technology to support any company with testing in digital innovations. DIHs also provide business and financing support to implement innovations, if needed across the value chain. A DIH is a regional multi-partner cooperation and can also have strong network outside of that region to give access to additional services.

The DIH in Healthcare in the Basque Country has three main objectives: 1) citizens’ health and quality of life improvement focusing on the elderly; 2) sustainability and efficiency of the healthcare system; 3) competitiveness of the industry improvement through new products and services that expand in the market.

Research & Transfer Organisations (RTOs), universities, companies, and the Basque healthcare system work together in DIH. It also has the support of the regional public institutions, mainly the Basque Ministry for Health. Osakidetza, GAIA, TECNALIA, Deusto University, Basque Country University, Corporación Mondragón, BIOEF, Basque Health Cluster, IK4, BICS and Kronikgune Research Center participate in the Basque DIH-HEALTH which is based on the regional health ecosystem identified at the regional level for the definition and deployment of the RIS3 strategy on biosciences and health. The Basque Country has been awarded a 4-stars Reference Site within the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIPonAHA). This DIH is also aligned with the EC strategy on “Digital Transformation of Health and Care”, and the current activities of DG CNECT targeting digital innovation for health and care. These activities include specifically the Blueprint on Digital Transformation of Health and Care, the EU Silver Economy strategy and the EIT Health (the EIT KIC on Health and Ageing).

How can DIH-HERO help SMEs?

DIH-HERO (Digital Innovation Hubs in HEalthcare RObotics) will establish a broad-based pan-European and cooperative network of Digital Innovation Hubs specialising in Healthcare Robotics. DIH in Healthcare in the Basque Country will be present in this project working together with other European DIH and offering services to companies in Healthcare Robotics field. The network will focus on identifying successful strategies for innovation from within the partner hubs, connecting business and healthcare stakeholders. DIH-HERO will enable SMEs to develop innovative products and services for the healthcare market and will extend the network into regions, by adding value to the European ecosystem, delivering services to spur cross border innovation, and by means of cascaded funding (Financial Support for Third Parties - FSTP scheme) calls.

FSTP is a core activity of the DIH-HERO network to stimulate the innovation chain, bringing together the developers and users and stimulating cross disciplinary and cross border collaboration. Around 8MEuro is dedicated to FSTP including a three-step funding approach; 1) stimulation of cross-border cooperation by travel vouchers for SMEs, 2) funding of experiments that enable transfer of technology to the robotic solutions for the healthcare domain and 3) funding of the development of technology demonstrators in healthcare application domains. The main application domains targeted, but not exclusive, are: diagnostics, clinical intervention, rehabilitation, patient-support, and healthcare professional support.

SMEs and slightly larger companies located in Europe could apply for funding in open calls from summer 2019 until spring 2021. During June and July FSTP calls details will be presented in different Info Day events organized around Europe by the 17 DIH-HERO partners. The DIH on Health of the Basque Country will be presented next 11th of July in TECNALIA’s facilities. Visit our web-site to check the agenda and make the registration!

Similar initiatives to accelerate SMEs in robotics field can be found in RobotUnion or EUROBENCH European projects.

Ainara Garzo Manzanares


Ainara Garzo Manzanares

Ingeniero Técnico en Informática de Sistemas (2004) e Ingeniero Superior en Informática (2006) por la Universidad del País Vasco (UPV-EHU). Actualmente está realizando el doctorado en Ingeniería en Informática. Ha trabajado en XMadina Tecnología Adaptativa entre los años 2004 y 2007 realizando proyectos de Investigación y Desarrollo en el ámbito de la discapacidad. Posteriormente trabajó en VICOMTech en el área de “Interacción para la educación ocio y e-inclusión” (Mayo-Diciembre 2007).

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Author:Ainara Garzo Manzanares
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