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EIT Health invites start-ups to join global competition targeting improvements in healthy longevity

21st October 2019

More than $30 million in prizes to be awarded over five years

EIT Health, in collaboration with the U.S. National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and seven other global organizations, today announced that it will join a multiyear, multimillion-dollar international competition seeking breakthrough innovations to extend human health and function later in life.

Through its Headstart Programme, EIT Health will let start-ups enter the Healthy Longevity Global Competition, founded by the United States National Academy of Medicine (NAM) to support the next breakthroughs in healthy longevity. Successful applicants to Headstart will qualify for the first stage of this competition, known as NAM’s Health Longevity Global Grand Challenge.

 

Kurt Höller, EIT Health Business Creation Director, said he is happy “to bring our EIT Health Headstart Programme into this Health Global Grand Challenge and to join forces with the National Academy of Medicine and all these great institution from all over the world.”

The challenge

Dramatic advances in medicine and public health have resulted in unprecedented extensions of the human lifespan across the world over the past century. By 2050, people over age 65 will number more than 1.6 billion, accounting for 20 percent of the global population – more than double the number today. Coupled with declining fertility rates, this demographic shift presents many challenges – to economic and workforce stability, health care systems, and communities – that could result in older people experiencing lower-quality well-being during a longer lifespan.

However, if global societies embrace strategies to maximize healthy longevity, the ageing population presents a tremendous opportunity, rather than a burden. Extending good health and productivity later in the lifespan would allow older people to remain active contributors to the economy, their communities, and families and reduce their overall need for social and health care services. Interdisciplinary research and innovation are urgently needed globally to generate important advances and breakthroughs that can help aging global populations achieve healthy longevity.

The competition

The Healthy Longevity Global Competition is conceptualized, founded, and coordinated internationally by the NAM. The competition calls on teams and individuals of any background – including biomedical sciences, technology and engineering, social sciences, financing, and beyond – to submit bold, innovative ideas, with the goal of extending the human health span. The competition seeks to amass a diverse portfolio of ideas, focusing on areas such as disease prevention, molecular pathways, mobility, functionality, social connectedness, and more.

The competition consists of three phases internationally:

  • Catalyst Phase: Approximately 450 awards worth $50 000 each will be issued globally as seed funding to advance new, innovative ideas (starting in 2020). Awardees will be invited to attend an annual Innovators Summit, the first of which is set for summer 2021, to share their work with policymakers, researchers, potential investors, and fellow innovators from around the world.
  • Accelerator Phase: Awards worth $500,000 to $1 million USD or more will be issued to those meritorious Catalyst awardees who have demonstrated significant progress, in order to support the further advancement of their bold ideas (starting in 2021).
  • Grand Prize: One or more grand prize(s) of up to $5 million USD will be awarded for achievement of a breakthrough innovation that extends human health span (starting in 2023).

Accessing the competition through EIT Health’s Headstart

In the first cut-off of the EIT Health 2020 Headstart Programme, there will be an additional opportunity for ventures with a focus on physical, mental, and social well-being for people as they age. Through its Headstart Programme, EIT Health will join a global innovation competition founded by the United States National Academy of Medicine (NAM) to support the next breakthroughs in healthy longevity. Successful applicants to Headstart will qualify for the first stage of this competition known as NAM’s Health Longevity Global Grand Challenge.

Find out how to participate here

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