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Uppsala University part of multi-billion Euro initiative for health

10 December 2014

The European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) has selected the consortium EIT Health as the Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) for ‘Innovations for Healthy Living and Active Ageing’. EIT Health will receive up to €700 million until 2020. The consortium includes several prestigious Swedish and Danish institutions.

A KIC is a consortium of partners from industry, academia and the public sector that together tackle great societal challenges by stimulating the use of scientific discoveries. The Scandinavian node for EIT Health includes Karolinska Institutet, the Royal Institute of Technology, Uppsala University and the University of Copenhagen. Other Scandinavian partners include NovoNordisk, ThermoFisher Scientific, Stockholms Stad, LEO Pharma and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden. Other nodes in EIT Health exist in Germany, Great Britain, France, Spain, Belgium and Holland. The EIT initiative is expected to provide the different nodes with a total of €100 million per year, for seven years.

Within Horizon 2020, the EU commission has set aside €3.9 billion for initiatives that convert research into innovative products, while also taking on the great societal challenges and lead to business opportunities. The money will be distributed by the European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) which has the task of announcing and reviewing applications for starting KICs. EIT Health has been selected in competition with four other European consortia.

‘It is fantastic news we have had today’, says Magnus Persson, director of the Scandinavian EIT Health node. ‘Sweden and Denmark have strong innovation and exceptional opportunities for conducting successful research. EIT Health will contribute to creating improved care, prevention, diagnostics and treatments of age-related conditions. This is a unique opportunity to contribute, which is why we now enter into this European consortium which collects all the nedessary knowledge for advanced innovation and development.’

Developing products, services and systems in an efficient way requires large patient volumes and advanced technological resources. Many countries, including Sweden, are dependent on collaboration with international development consortia to manage this. EIT Health will focus on education in entrepreneurship and the realising of innovation projects. This includes both large projects with many influential organisations, but also smaller projects such as support for start-ups. Several of these projects are already being started and have a strong focus on development of new products and services which are intended to enable the elderly to actively participate in society and prevent age-related diseases.

Led by professor Mats Larhed, researchers in the disciplinary domains for medicine and pharmacy as well as science and technology have led the Uppsala University part of the application in collaboration with UU Innovation.