In the rapidly evolving healthcare sector, the fusion of innovation and entrepreneurship has become essential for driving groundbreaking changes. To respond to this need, HealthEConnect intends to support the rise and growth of next-generation healthtech companies through a co-designed and entrepreneurial-driven healthtech innovation educational offer in Lisbon. Through education and partnerships, the project broader vision also extends to cultivating an enduring collaboration between the healthtech innovation ecosystems in the Lisbon region (Portugal) and Hovedstaden (Denmark), by capitalizing on best practices and sustaining resource flows between ecosystem members.
As a first step of the design of this new educational offer, a pilot in Health Innovation is currently being implemented by NOVA Medical School (NMS) and NOVA School of Business and Economics (Nova SBE).
Health Innovation Specialization Pilot
The pilotdeveloped within Nova SBE’s MSc in Impact Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MIEI) is defined as a specialization area in Health Innovation. By building upon MIEI’s strong general innovation and entrepreneurship background, the ‘Healthcare Innovation’ area of specialization pilot will ensure that graduates possess not only medical expertise but also the business “know-how” required to drive successful ventures in the healthcare industry. As a result of its diverse skill set, real-world perspective, interdisciplinary approach, tailored specialization, collaboration opportunities, and strong entrepreneurial foundation, students are equipped to address critical challenges and make a significant difference in the healthcare and well-being framework.
Combining available resources from Nova SBE and NMS, the program offers a personalized curriculum focused on healthcare and well-being. By bringing together the resources of both universities, the program creates a unique fusion of business and medical expertise at the intersection with impact innovation and entrepreneurship. This interdisciplinarity is crucial to foster groundbreaking innovations in healthcare allowing tailored specialization.
The pilot aims to assess the program´s strengths and areas for improvements, before foreseeing a more permanent implementation.
The work project, which should be focused on healthcare and well-being, will encourage students, and provide the possibility to:
1. Work with startups created by patients and caregivers framed within Patient Innovation activities,
2. Collaborate with startups incubated in the BioInnovation Institute in Copenhagen,
3. Partner with corporate partners that belong to Nova SBE’s Innovation Ecosystem (IECO),
4. Engage with any other company of the Health Innovation Ecosystem members engaged with the program (if available),
5. Create their own venture.
Students’ collaboration with Patient Innovation (1), BioInnovation Institute (2), and Nova SBE Innovation Ecosystem (3)
BioInnovation Institute (BII) accelerates world-class life science start-up innovation to benefit people and society. As a non-profit institute, BII operates the acceleration and company creation programs, Venture Lab and Bio Studio, to support life science start-ups with knowledge, network, infrastructure, and funding of up to 3M EUR per project and 1,8 M EUR per start-up. With their expertise, network, funding, and infrastructure, they empower startups to succeed and believe in the transformative power of life science innovation.
Within the Health Innovation Pilot, students will be able to apply for internships at BII’s portfolio of companies within the fields of human and planetary health. Roles could include building a new market-entry strategy, conducting customer research, supporting marketing and communication, analyzing the competitive landscape, driving business development and project management.
Patient Innovation is a non-profit organization that aims to scale-up and disseminate the effective and innovative potential of patients and caregivers as valid actors of the healthcare innovation process. Patient Innovation has developed a sharing platform where (i) patients and caregivers who have developed a novel solution for their own needs can upload their innovations, which will only be published after a safety medical screening, and (ii) patients with unmet needs can search by condition, symptom, and other features, find a solution, and start using it or propose improvements. Also, Patient Innovation has supported 44 European startups created by patients and caregivers since 2020 through its Patient Innovation Bootcamp program.
Students enrolled in the Health Innovation Specialization pilot will be able to perform their work projects while working with one of the Patient Innovation Bootcamp alumni start-ups, solving challenges like the development of brand and marketing plans, support business development strategies, perform market and customer studies, design new market-entry strategies, among other.
Nova SBE Innovation Ecosystem (IECO) is an innovation meeting point to forge partnership with a shared vision, blending generations, industries, cultures, and perspectives to breed new business models, products, and solutions. Since 2027, IECO has been exposing students to real-world challenges for business in 5 specific areas: Financial Services & Sustainable Finance; Smart Cities & Communities; Health & Wellbeing; Space, Green & Blue Economy; Hospitality & Customer Journeys. For each of these circles, IECO has been building an active network to provide leading-edge collaboration through serendipity that fosters disruptive innovation.
Through the Health Innovation Specialization pilot, students are given the opportunity to access IECO’s network from the Health & Wellbeing area and conduct their Work Project in partnership with interested organizations from that network. Besides, IECO also provides an acceleration program to fast-track new ideas and products for those who decide to develop their own venture in Health & Wellbeing.
By building upon MIEI’s strong innovation and entrepreneurship background, the Health Innovation area of specialization pilot aims at ensuring that graduates possess not only medical expertise but also the business “know-how” required to drive successful ventures in the healthcare industry. Collaborations with the entrepreneurial ecosystem will expose students to real-world challenges, fostering a spirit of innovation and problem-solving, and ensuring they are well-prepared to deal with the complexities and demands of healthcare innovation.
How will we test it?
The pilot test will evaluate two components of the program: the curriculum (theory) and the work project (hands-on approach). This assessment aims to measure to which extent the program capacitates students in becoming future health innovators and entrepreneurs. In particular, the pilot will assess whether the proposed curriculum equips students with the tools and knowledge necessary to implement and innovate in the healthcare sector within the scope of their work project.
If the pilot test, partner feedback, and ecosystem recommendations validate its effectiveness, it will be considered the development of a full program entirely focused on healthcare innovation.