“Innovation is seeing what everyone sees, but thinking what nobody has thought”, goes a famous quote by Dr. Albert Szent-Györgyi, a Hungarian biochemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937.
It is very much in the spirit of this quote that 17 beneficiaries of the DIGI-B-CUBE project came together at Pathé Nijmegen in the Netherlands for the 2022 Health Valley Event. These are 17 innovations in the field of medical diagnosis and IT and therefore they represent 17 novel opportunities to improve healthcare and 17 examples of innovation in the making – thinking what nobody has thought.
The 2022 Health Valley Event was the stage for the Final Conference and Consortium Meeting of the DIGI-B-CUBE project. From March 15th to March 17th 2022, the consortium partners of DIGI-B-CUBE and 17 beneficiaries met in Nijmegen or participated online in this remarkable hybrid event. The motto of the 2022 programme was: “Connect, Challenge and Grow”, aligned with the event’s main social challenge, which is to “ensure that we will at least live 5 years longer in good health by 2040 and reduce the health differences between social classes by 30%”. The DIGI-B-CUBE Booth was the number 20+21, located by the main plenary room of the venue, right at the centre of the event activities to grab the attention of participants walking by.
Day 1 – March 15th – for the DIGI-B-CUBE project partners began with the final consortium meeting, held at the Hotel Van der Welk. In the meeting, the project’s achievements, progress and next steps were actively discussed. For the consortium partners, it was also a chance to review the lessons learnt and the best practices identified over the course of the 3-year journey, which began back in May 2019.Day 2 – March 16th – was arguably the busiest day for the DIGI-B-CUBE beneficiaries. Gawel Walczak moderated the three DIGI-B-CUBE sessions that took place in Room 2 at the event venue, Pathé Nijmegen. The theme of the DIGI-B-CUBE sessions was “Boosting innovation to enhance patient-centred diagnosis and treatment”. Daniel Pichler was the first presenter, walking the attendance through the 3-year journey of DIGI-B-CUBE, explaining how the project helped fuel the innovative technologies present at the event and how this positive impact was repeated throughout the programme. Alexandre Motta from IMcoMET, explained how his start-up is developing a melanoma diagnostic device with cordless connection. The third speaker of the first DIGI-B-CUBE session was Vitalii Vorkov from RespiQ, who raised awareness about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and how RespiQ proposes to tackle this major cause of deaths worldwide. The second DIGI-B-CUBE session of the day was opened by Maciej Grajewski from SG Papertronics, who are working on self-tests for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. Maciej’s presentation was followed by that of Joan Vieyra Galí from Loop Diagnostics, who presented the SeptiBell solution. SeptiBell is a novel fin vitor cellular immunoassay that identifies bloodstream infection through immune activity and aims at providing a faster diagnosis of sepsis. Kathy Mulders, from Panda Whale, who attended the event along with Niel Vredeveldt, was the final presenter of this second session. She introduced the audience to Sparky – a gamified approach on how to help young lung patients train and monitor their respiratory capacity from home.
The third and final DIGI-B-CUBE session of the day featured Charles H. Gayot from STEPUP Health, a start-up working on the digitalisation of COPD monitoring using smart wearables. Charles was joined at this event by Laurynas Zubavičius. Nuno Afonso, from FASTinov, then presented an innovative technology that aims to create the world’s fastest antimicrobial susceptibility test for bacterial infections. After Nuno’s presentation, Coen Breedveld from Levels Diagnostics introduced the audience to the start-up’s rapid diagnostic tools and how, together with machine learning algorithms, these can use biomarkers to screen for certain diseases. The final speaker was Thierry Bouët from DicarTech, who presented his automatic medical device for measuring tissue perfusion patients in critical conditions, such as sepsis haemorrhage. The DIGI-B-CUBE project partners had a special gift in store for the beneficiaries – light blue (Customised Solution Innovation) and orange (Prototyping) replicas of the vouchers they received for their start-up. A token of appreciation and a piece of memorabilia to take back home.
A “walking dinner” took place at the end of the first and of the second day, giving consortium partners and DIGI-B-CUBE beneficiaries a chance of informal networking, taking note of the important moments of the Health Valley Event and to look back on the memorable 3-year journey that had now reached its summit. Day 3 – March 17th – was the last day of the 2022 Health Valley Event. It featured the online presentations of Flexsight, who are working on a fast end-to-end 3D scanning and printing system of orthopaedic cast, by Daniele Evangelista, NORGANOID, who aim to develop a worldwide available online service to monitor the quality of human brain organoids engineered using the 3D-Brain-On-Chip, by Charlotte Ohonin and Think Biosolution, who are working on at-Home COVID-19 monitoring and triaging Platform, by Shourjya Sanval. Beneficiaries and project partners took the chance to continue networking and attending the event’s final sessions before bidding farewell and parting ways.
These were not all the DIGI-B-CUBE beneficiaries that joined the cohort for the Health Valley Event! Jovan Stevovic from Chino.io, Sarina Maigoda and André Pelzmann from NORGANOID, Siegfried Schwarz from KML Vision, Sophia Shanko from Shanx Medtech, Marco Filippi from Wego srl and Karl Õkva from Thorgate were in Nijmegen and attended a range of presentations and sessions at the event.
Over 1,000 people from 25+ nationalities registered for this year’s edition of HVE, from nearly 500 companies from the fields of Life Sciences & Health. Over 80 international speakers and 60 exhibitors were part of HVE 2022, which also included more than 40 inspiration sessions for the innovative start-ups and SMEs in attendance.
In sum, the Health Valley Event proved to be an excellent platform for the DIGI-B-CUBE beneficiaries to get to know each other, to network, exchange ideas and collect inspiration for the further development of their innovative technologies that aim to improve healthcare.
It was truly a privilege to assist the DIGI-B-CUBE beneficiaries’ novel technologies in their development and growth and it will be very exciting to learn about their next developments on their journey to improve healthcare. We look forward to staying in touch with this group and continue to witness innovation in the making – seeing what everybody sees, but thinking what nobody has thought.