IPN - Instituto Pedro Nunes

IPN     IPN Incubadora

Needs-Led Innovation Fellowships


Citizens and patients will be involved as stakeholders in the “identify, invent, implement” phases as participants during the immersion in clinical settings. In the more intense studies, e.g. test phase of the prototypes and business concept, we foresee participation through questionnaires, hackathons, workshops and other interactions. In these phases, citizens and patients will be co-design partners and provide essential information and advice on further development of the most effective and desired solutions leading to increased market potential for those solutions.

The level and form of citizen engagement will differ per clinical context and development phase. In all situations, teams ask for the consent of participating citizens and – if agreed upon - the participating citizens, patients and carers will be kept informed of the teams’ progress. A list of citizen alumni over the years will be used per location and this can provide a platform for the launch of an EIT Health Citizen Alumni Framework - which has been discussed in the Citizen Engagement activity line.

We have consulted citizens that were engaged in 2019 activities on their experiences and used the feedback to continuously improve our activities. The main findings were that communication on what happens after the co-creation sessions could be improved. Each program site will take this into account when developing their program processes going forward.


The project addressed the need to provide students with the acquisition of a skill set, which translates into meaningful career progression, or supports them in developing competitive spinouts. The network has a proven track record of training experts in diverse fields (primarily medicine, business, engineering, and design) into healthcare innovation leaders and entrepreneurs. Studies have shown that one of the main reasons innovations fail is because there is no market need for the proposed solution. Therefore, our programs provide an alternative to traditional "supply push" innovation, and teach a structured approach - "demand pull" - to innovate based on market and/or societal need. No other educational offering in Europe has offered participants such a holistic view of the healthcare innovation pathway with hands-on experience developing a new solution, in a multidisciplinary team that has established connection and collaboration with healthcare professionals and patients.

Objectives, Activities and Results expected / achieved

With thorough training in the needs-driven innovation process, participants transitioned into industry positions better equipped to respond to clinically relevant needs with emerging technologies; this positively impacted product development and design processes in companies. The fellowship programs acted as a launching pad for fellows wishing to switch careers to the healthcare industry, tapping into a completely new type of employee who brings a combination of specialized experience and a healthcare innovator profile. The value of this was obvious to the participants, as it expands their employment opportunities. The value to industry is more intangible, but the added interdisciplinarity should ensure internally better intrapreneurial activities and processes. Metrics can be measured by management surveys that track changing trends from the commercial sector to the healthcare sector.

Key KPIs:
• Investment attracted by start-ups supported by KIC's;

• Program attractiveness and demand;

• Number of healthcare professionals and executives trained.

Project Reference



Intervention Region


Total Investment


IPN Investment


Total Eligible


IPN Eligible


EC Funding – Total


EC Funding – IPN



12 Months

Start Date


End Date


Approval Date



Essilor International;
Instituto Pedro Nunes;
National University of Ireland, Galway;
Universitatsklinikum Koln;
GLINTT - Global Intelligent Technologies, S.A.;
Erasmus University Rotterdam;
Erasmus Universitair Medisch Centrum Rotterdam;
Universidad de Navarra (IESE Business School);
Karolinska Institute;
Katholeike Universiteit Leuven;
University of Copenhagen (UCPH Copenhagen);
Fondation Sanofi Espoir;
University of Oxford;
Hospital Sant Joan de Déu;
Sorbonne Université;
Biocat, la Findació Bioregió;
Technische Universiteit Delf;
Universidade de Coimbra;
Assistance Publique Hopitaux de Paris;
Region Skane;RISE Research Institutes of Sweden AB;
GE Healthcare Magyarország Kft.




Needs-led innovation.