InnoStars, Innovation, 2018

Mental and brain health, and digital biomarkers, to be Wild Card challenges for 2019

21st August 2019

Jorge Fernandez Garcia, Director of Innovation, announces 2019 quest for transformative innovations during EIT Health Summit

The EIT Health Wild Card Programme officially launched its quest to build two new ventures that will tackle the challenge areas of Mental and Brain Health and Digital Biomarkers for Early Diagnostics with a 5 December 2018 presentation at the EIT Health Summit in Lodz, Poland.

Applications for participation will be accepted from 10 December 2018 to 10 February 2018. Each year, EIT Health, through the Wild Card Programme, sets down different challenges to the innovation community.

The 2018 programme helped to build two exciting start-ups tackling the areas of antibiotic resistance and the use of data to enhance diagnostics – Abtrace and Dx-Labtrack.

For 2019, Wild Card is looking to recruit individuals and small teams ready to make a game-changing difference to the new healthcare challenge areas of mental and brain health and digital biomarkers, Jorge Fernandez Garcia, EIT Health Director of Innovation, announced at the EIT Health Summit in Lodz on 5 December 2018.

Over the course of a week-long hackathon, 2019 Wild Card Programme participants will receive best-in-class mentoring, coaching and networking to build teams and support their idea for a healthcare product or solution. Successful participants will be selected for a 10-week business validation programme and pitch at the Wild Card Finals in July 2019.

The Wild Card Programme’s big advantage is a mix of online and in-person interactions, which allows dispersed teams to accelerate their ideas without the need for immediate relocation. Further down the line, the two new start-ups will be able to request hosting from one or more of the incubators from the EIT Health network spread across Europe.

The two teams chosen after the finals will receive two years of support and €2 million in non-dilutive funding and mentoring and coaching to help them foster next-generation talent and grow their high-risk ideas into thriving commercial businesses.

About the challenges

Wild Card is now looking at two new major key issues that impact citizens’ health across the globe. This year’s hopeful candidates must present their experience, skills and ideas for either the brain health or digital biomarkers challenge.

The mental and brain health challenge, seeks solutions that will improve and maintain cognitive health for aging adults and/or support the identification and assessment of adults at risk of cognitive impairment.

Digital biomarkers are data points that consumers directly collect about health or disease management through digital health technologies to explain, influence and/or predict health-related outcomes. This challenge seeks innovative ways to take advantage of the resource they provide.

Commenting at the Wild Card Programme launch during the EIT Health Summit, EIT Health’s CEO Jan-Philipp Beck said: “Now in its second year, Wild Card continues its search for game changers who have the potential to transform healthcare. We know this talent is out there looking for the right opportunity. Through this programme, we hope to find them and offer them the business, research and financial supports necessary to bring their ideas to the next level.”

More information will be posted soon on the application process, on this website and on The deadline for applications is 23:59 CET (Central European Time), 10 February 2019.

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