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Top 10 highlights at EIT Health Ireland-UK in 2023

21st December 2023

As 2023 draws to a close, join us in revisiting the milestones that defined EIT Health Ireland-UK’s journey this year. From strategic collaborations to impactful projects, here’s a glimpse into our top 10 highlights. 

 1. UK rejoins Horizon Europe  

On 7 September 2023, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a landmark UK-EU agreement, securing the UK’s re-association to Horizon Europe. This agreement facilitates active participation by UK scientists and researchers in Horizon Europe’s initiatives, promoting collaborative endeavours beyond borders. The agreement was signed on 4 December. 

2. EHDS roundtable discussion and report launch 

In May, EIT Health Ireland-UK hosted the European Health Data Space (EHDS) Roundtable discussion during the Irish MedTech Association’s ‘Meeting of the Minds’ event. Key opinion leaders across two panels discussed how feasible it will be to implement the EHDS in Ireland and how to navigate the expected challenges that lie ahead.  

A full report based on the Roundtable discussion and subsequent stakeholder interviews was published on 27 November entitled ‘Implementing the European Health Data Space in Ireland’. This sets recommendations for policymakers on how to move forward. 

3. University of Galway becomes first Irish team to win EIT Health i-Days 

A team of four undergraduates from the University of Galway secured the top spot at the i-Days finals in Barcelona on 1 December. Competing against 22 teams from 16 countries, their innovative solution, ‘RecoverKnee,’ not only earned them first place but marked the first victory for an Irish team in the competition. EIT Health’s i-Days are challenge-based learning events held in academic institutions across Europe, where students develop innovation and entrepreneurial skills.  

Atlantic Technological University, Sligo (ATU Sligo), Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) and University of Galway hosted i-Days events across three weeks in October. 

The i-Days programme was also shortlisted for an Irish Healthcare Centre Award, in the category of ‘Student Programme.’ earlier this year.  

4. Community Stories: Optellum’s AI-Powered journey with EIT Health 

On World Lung Cancer Day (1 August), we published a case study to share the milestones of Optellum, an Oxford-based AI-powered lung health technology company. Supported by EIT Health, Optellum, uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to revolutionise early diagnosis and treatment for lung disease patients.

At the heart of Optellum’s journey is its AI-based lung cancer decision support software, known as the Virtual Nodule Clinic.  

5. Six Ireland-UK start-ups selected for EIT Health Catapult 2023-24 semi-finals 

In an exciting development for the healthtech start-up scene across Ireland-UK, six high-potential start-ups were selected as semi-finalists in the EIT Health Catapult 2023-24 competition. They now join 24 other European companies to undergo mentorship and training with experienced entrepreneurs and experts.   

The six start-ups are: CELEX Oncology (UK), Celtic Biotech (Ireland), Digistain (UK), Exhalation Technology (UK), Plio Surgical (Ireland), Xtremedy Medical (Ireland). The semi-finals will be held in January. 

6. Graham Armitage appointed Managing Director 

In August, Graham Armitage was appointed as Managing Director at EIT Health Ireland-UK. Joining EIT Health in 2019, he has fulfilled key roles such as Deputy Managing Director, Innovation Manager, and Collaboration Lead. Having served as Interim Managing Director since April 2022, Graham offers a wealth of experience to this pivotal role, previously contributing as a member of the organisation’s Board of Directors. 

 7. Welcome Aboard: Three new members join our team 

We welcomed three new key team members throughout 2023.  

Sneha Saloni – Interim Communications Lead
Patrick Reidy – Collaboration Lead
Shona D’Arcy – Entrepreneurship Lead 

Each brings a unique set of skills to our growing team!  

8. Two Irish partners join new Pact for Skills in healthcare 

EIT Health has been selected as the coordinator of a new industry-led Pact for Skills in healthcare. Twenty-two organisations, including Ireland-based partners Trinity College Dublin and University of Galway, signed up for the pact at a signing ceremony on 1 December. 

This new health Industry-led Pact for Skills will concentrate on enhancing the skills and education of workers in the healthcare sector, encompassing pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and personal protective equipment (PPE). 

9. Event sponsorship and participation 

Overall, our team attended and participated in many events throughout 2023. Here are three staff favourites: 

National Health Summit: Education Lead, David Pollard, provided expert advice on pitching for frontline innovators at the 19th National Health Summit. 

MedTech Rising 2023: Our team attended the MedTech Rising 2023 event in Galway. It was an opportunity to meet and establish new contacts with key players in the thriving Medtech sector in Ireland and abroad. 

Smart Health Summit 2023: Sponsoring the Smart Health Summit at Croke Park, Dublin, our team joined 350 industry professionals. Graham Armitage, Managing Director, shared valuable insights on healthtech innovation as part of an expert panel. 

10. DiGA Whitepaper report launch 

Back in March we published the report, ‘Digital Health on Prescription – Is Ireland Ready?‘ This study delves into the readiness of key stakeholder groups in Ireland for a structured certification, prescription, and reimbursement process for digital health technologies. Drawing insights from other EU Member States, the report provides valuable recommendations for the potential implementation of a standardized reimbursement pathway in Ireland. 

As we reflect on these achievements, we look forward to an even more impactful 2024, filled with innovation, collaboration, and progress in the healthcare sector.  

Follow us on social, or sign up to our newsletter to get the latest updates about events and opportunities to get involved in Europe’s largest health innovation network. 

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