Luxembourg's Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot, has announced the launch of a joint call for projects, in partnership with the Fonds national de la recherche (FNR), in the field of health technologies: it is open to companies as well as research and healthcare organisations.
A new dedicated digital platform, www.research-collaboration.lu, has been set up by Luxinnovation, and the three stakeholders have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in order to formalise their collaboration. The objective of the call for projects is to stimulate collaborative R&D projects through public-private partnerships (PPP).
This is the first time in Luxembourg that such a joint call for projects is launched within the research, development and innovation ecosystem. Common objectives have been defined by the FNR and the Ministry of the Economy to meet the sector's development needs, while Luxinnovation plays a facilitating role by providing a digital platform to encourage networking.
A coordinated process
The objective is to facilitate the emergence of collaborative research projects aimed at demonstrating the performance and safety of digital health tools. The development of such new products and services for the benefit of patients requires the combined skills of public research, hospitals and companies. Collaborative projects will be evaluated in a coordinated process. Funding decisions will also be taken jointly by the partners.
"The development of digital tools in health technologies is of crucial importance for the Luxembourg economy. It is part of the implementation of our strategy for data-driven innovation that contributes to the evolution of personalised medicine in Luxembourg," explained the Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot. "I am delighted with this first pilot project that is launched in collaboration with the Fonds national de la recherche, in order to to co-finance public-private partnerships, and supported by Luxinnovation. By linking our companies to doctors and hospitals, we will be able to make the most of the potential for innovation in digital health in our country."
"We want to bring together public research institutions, companies and health sector actors around research and innovation projects designed to accelerate the digital transformation in the health sector," added Marc Schiltz, Secretary General of the Fonds national de la recherche.
To facilitate the emergence of projects and support the process of preparing joint projects, Luxinnovation, the national innovation agency, has initiated the setting up of the www.research-collaboration.lu platform. Companies, public research organisations, hospitals and healthcare providers are invited to submit project ideas. Luxinnovation's role will be to follow up on the ideas, in particular by bringing together public and private partners interested in participating.
The call for projects is planned in two stages, with feedback provided to the consortia at the end of the first stage. Only projects relevant to the objectives of the call will be invited to prepare a full application. Finally, the approved consortia can use the platform for preparing the technical documentation required to submit individual applications to the Ministry of the Economy and the FNR.
"Thanks to this platform, we will help researchers and clinicians gain better knowledge of all the innovations in digital health developed by private companies. It will also provide them with new financial opportunities for getting involved in personalised medicine with a real economic impact for the country", said Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation. "In the future, other joint calls for projects between the Ministry and the FNR may be launched through this platform in the field of digital technologies. Luxembourg has cutting-edge research skills in this field, as well as companies and start-ups capable of developing and offering innovative products and services. By facilitating their connection and collaboration in this way, we will activate a key lever for innovation in our country."
The platform is being tested with this first pilot joint call in the field of health technologies. It is already open for the "ideation" stage (the creative process of generating, developing and communicating new ideas). It will then open up for the proposal submission period, which will last from 4 May to 30 June. For projects whose ideation component has been validated by the Ministry of the Economy and the Fonds national de la recherche, a more complete proposal must be submitted by 15 October, which will then be examined by a panel of external experts. The results will be communicated in January 2022 and projects can start in February 2022.
A webinar presenting the functionalities of the platform is being organised by Luxinnovation on 4 May.