Following the first joint call for projects (Joint Call HealthTech) in the field of health technologies launched on April 1, 2021 with companies and research and health care organizations, four projects were selected from the 8 submitted. The selection process, which took place in two phases, involved 17 expressions of interest.
The joint call for projects launched by the Ministry of the Economy, the National Research Fund (FNR) and Luxinnovation focused on the use of digital tools and the power of data analysis to improve prevention, diagnosis, monitoring or treatment of disease.
It aimed to stimulate collaborative R&D projects, in the form of public-private partnerships (PPPs) and to provide financial support to companies and research and healthcare organizations that collaborate to assess the suitability of a technology. /product/health solution, its technological advantages and benefits for human health.
This is the first time in Luxembourg that such an initiative has been launched jointly by the Ministry of the Economy, the National Research Fund and Luxinnovation.
The four PPP projects selected are:
- ViewMind, in partnership with the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH)
- IEE, in partnership with LIH and the Luxembourg Hospital Center (CHL)
- LuxAI, in partnership with the LIH
- Meracle Health in partnership with LIH and CHL
The total budget for these four projects is estimated at 6.10 million euros. Overall co-financing of some 4.5 million euros comes from the Ministry of the Economy and the FNR, covering almost 75% of the total amount of the projects.
The overall contribution of the National Research Fund is 2.8 million euros and that of the Ministry of the Economy 1.75 million euros. The difference represents the contribution of own funds from companies or research organisations.
Economy Minister Franz Fayot commented: “This joint call for projects is part of the economic diversification strategy aimed at further developing the health technology sector which is driven by innovation, resilience and competitiveness.”
Such calls for projects in the field of health technologies facilitate, for companies, access to hospital or public research partnerships. This allows them to technically and clinically validate their medical products at the prototype stage, before being able to consider placing them on the market.
This approach has the double advantage of allowing companies to more quickly develop products that are better suited to patient needs, and also allowing patients and healthcare professionals to benefit earlier from the latest medical innovations before they are put on the market, which which is in their interest.
For the joint call for projects concerning health technologies, a structured selection process was followed, starting with the launch of the platform managed by Luxinnovation (https://www.research-collaboration.lu/) through which interested companies could be put in contact with potential partners.
The framework of the Joint Call HealthTech also enabled the team of the Pharmacy and Medicines Division of the Health Directorate to prepare the implementation in Luxembourg of regulatory support conducive to innovation carried out by companies. . This will allow Luxembourg patients accelerated access to innovative, safe and effective digital health medical devices, which is one of the strategic objectives of the future Luxembourg Medicines and Health Products Agency.
The projects submitted were then subjected to an in-depth examination by the financing authorities. First, by an independent panel of experts, under the aegis of the FNR, which assessed the innovative quality of the projects in relation to international standards. Then, by the Advisory Commission on State Aid, under the aegis of the Ministry of the Economy, which validated the consistency of the projects with the criteria for State aid for development and innovation. Experts from the Health Department, for their part, expressed their opinion during the two deliberations.
“The FNR’s strategy is to promote collaboration between public research institutions, companies and players in the health sector around research and innovation projects aimed at accelerating the digital transformation of the health sector”, explains Marc Schiltz, secretary general of the FNR.
“As part of these public-private partnerships, the Luxinnovation teams have particularly focused on monitoring the ideas submitted in the projects. We are particularly attentive to connecting the various partners interested in participating, in the public sphere and We are thus activating a key lever for innovation in our country”, adds Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation.
Given the success of this first call for projects, it is planned to launch other similar joint calls, particularly in the field of defence, high performance computing and, again, health technologies.
Summary of co-financed projects
ViewMind (in partnership with LIH)
ViewMind is an Argentinian company that graduated from the Fit 4 Start acceleration program (managed by Luxinnovation and the Ministry of Economy). Its “DigiCog” project aims to clinically validate a non-invasive technology based on artificial intelligence and allowing neurocognitive evaluations based on eye tracking (eye-tracking) of movements in response to visual stimuli, in order to identify, among patients with long-covid, those with neurocognitive impairments.
Budget: 1.360 million euros
IEE (in partnership with LIH and CHL)
IEE is, at its core, a world leader in the field of detection and safety systems in the automotive sector. The company follows a strategy of diversification committed to the medical sector. His project “GAIT & Activity Monitoring Solution for Patients with Orthopedic Conditions”, in collaboration with LIH and CHL, seeks to validate a portable device for the daily monitoring of patients suffering from orthopedic conditions (musculoskeletal injuries, osteoarthritis, operations ligaments…) in real conditions before, during and after their rehabilitation period.
Budget: €1.529 million
LuxAI (in partnership with LIH)
LuxAI is a spin-off from the University of Luxembourg, a graduate of the Fit 4 Start acceleration program. The company has developed a social robot, “QTrobot”, to support home therapy for autistic children. The research project focuses on the validation of an early intervention delivered by this robot as a new digital therapeutic approach based on specific teaching, training and evaluation modules. To validate the clinical efficacy of the solution, LuxAI and the LIH will carry out a long-term, large-scale, multinational clinical study. In addition, a new software module will be developed to evaluate the interaction data collected by the robot during therapy sessions.
Budget: 1.868 million euros
Meracle Health (in partnership with LIH and CHL)
Meracle Health is a spin-off from the National University of Singapore, a graduate of the Fit 4 Start acceleration program. It has developed the “Whizz”, an intuitive solution to improve the daily management of chronic respiratory conditions. The clinical validation project carried out with the LIH and the CHL will pave the way for European certification of the device and will also help to advance the scientific understanding of asthma.
Budget: 1.346 million euros
Communicated by the Ministry of the Economy, the National Research Fund (FNR) and Luxinnovation
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Results of the first joint call for projects concerning health technologies
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