On 21 November, the ‘Pioneers in Health Care’ (PIHC) Innovation Fund awarded 11 vouchers, each worth EUR 50,000 or EUR 75,000. The vouchers are awarded to boost initiatives that aim to encourage collaboration between organizations in the region in the field of healthcare and medical technology. The winning initiatives focus on improving patient care through the use of new technology. This is the fourth time that vouchers have been awarded by the fund made up of the University of Twente (UT), the Medisch Spectrum Twente hospital in Enschede (MST), Twente Hospital Group (ZGT), Deventer Hospital, Saxion University of Applied Sciences and healthcare insurance company Menzis.
A total of 34 research proposals were submitted this year. From these, the 11 best projects were chosen. The proposals were assessed in terms of relevance for the clinic, the technological challenge and the degree of collaboration between researchers and medical specialists. Eight vouchers were awarded to initiatives involving collaboration between UT and MST and/or ZGT, four of which also included Saxion. Two vouchers were made available by Menzis for similar projects that focus specifically on the region and one voucher concerns cooperation between UT and Deventer Hospital. Executive Board President Gita Gallé of Deventer Hospital is delighted to be joining the Pioneers in Health Care: “As a leading hospital specializing in clinical training, we see the mutual benefits of combining patient care, research and innovation on a daily basis. Through effective collaboration in research and innovation in the region, we are encouraging each other to share knowledge and creative concepts, resulting in the development of concrete products that are innovating healthcare.”
This year’s presentation of the vouchers was an extra special celebration, because Deventer Hospital and Saxion University of Applied Sciences are also joining the innovation fund. Rients Jorna, Director of the Healthcare Academy at Saxion: “For me, pioneering involves seeking out challenging collaboration in order to find smart solutions for issues faced in practice. That is how we achieve innovation: through partnership between the professional field, higher education and research. Saxion is delighted to be able to make a contribution in its specialist fields of life sciences, creative technology and healthcare.” UT, MST and ZGT founded the Pioneers in Health Care Innovation Fund in 2014. Menzis joined in 2015.
The Pioneers in Health Care Innovation Fund aims to accelerate the introduction of innovative technology in clinical practice. In order to achieve that, the fund attempts to help initiate bottom-up collaboration between the world of new technology and medical practice. The fund challenges researchers in technology and healthcare professionals to speak each other’s language. A better understanding of each other’s work and expertise can improve collaboration and result in more innovative medical technology that is also more relevant. The fund makes concerted matchmaking efforts in order to bring the right people together.