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Cross4Health project with a successful kick-off

HCN Project, News Item – 26 October 2017

Generating innovative solutions, business models and work-flows that enhance patient-centered care

On 9th October Cross4Health partners met in Oslo to kick off the project. By connecting EU wide regional, sectoral knowledge and technology hubs, we have made a good start in our collaborative work to foster a new healthcare value chain in Europe, says Kathrine Myhre, CEO of Norway Health Tech in her opening speech.

The focus of Cross4Health is to move beyond the state-of-the-art practice of regional clusters to unlock the transition potential of knowledge and technologies from Aerospace, Energy and mobile industry sector value chains into Biotechnology and Medical Devices sectors: generating innovative health care solutions, business models and workflows that enhance patient-centred personalized care, explained Waqar Ahmed, Head of the EU program at Norway Health Tech.  He has more than ten years of experience of managing several EU funded projects in Framework Progamme 6, 7 and Horizon 2020.

The project partners arrived from all over Europe to join this collaboration that aims to enhance patient-centric personalized care. The Cross4Health consortium is composed of seven partners from six EU member and associate countries (France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom), each of them representing the core sector in their region and delivering key contributions to the Cross4Health vision and implementation.

The European Commission has granted €5 million to the Cross4Health project to promote and support collaborative health innovation solutions. The project will select more than 70 innovative SMEs with cross sectoral collaborative ideas and accelerate them towards commercialization by providing financial and with innovation services. The services will be fuelled by regional innovation clusters via monetary and non-monetary means, Ahmed says.

Increasing health challenges

Several societal challenges, including ageing populations, chronic disease and rising co-morbidities, urbanisation and rural marginalisation are affecting health costs. The EU population is projected to increase in size slightly by 2060, but with a much older age profile than today. By 2020, chronic diseases are estimated to be the cause of seven of every ten deaths in the world. Over the past 50 years, healthcare expenditure in OECD countries has increased faster than GDP, at an average annual rate of 2 per cent and could grow by another 50-100 per cent by 2040. This will influence public policies and spending in areas such as pensions, healthcare or long-term care

Healthcare providers are struggling with static and heavily monitored budgets, but they are at a tipping point. Transformational change needs an attractive ‘hook’: new solutions that enable more affordable service delivery with improved performance – better patient outcomes. This is the scenario that will benefit from Cross4Health action. We will see new products that change the disease treatment dramatically. New health care products and services will enable work to be moved out of hospitals and from professional care providers to the patient or closer to the patient. And the Patient/Payer/Provider model will change for a number of health care services. The patient will be more in charge of their own care, and this will generate new business models where new actors will provide the same services

Closing the gap

The European Innovation Scoreboard of 2016 emphasizes a well-known fact in Europe: EU is closing the gap with US and Japan, but Europe continues to be less innovative than South Korea, US and Japan. New technologies that have been developed in the EU are commercialised elsewhere. The four barriers that are most problematic for our SMEs are: legal and regulatory uncertainty, liability issues, local public procurement practice and lack of venture capital said Joanna Lane, Executive Director of HCN.

The economic future of Europe depends on becoming a place where innovation flourishes and where new products and services are being developed. Cross4Health will strengthen the competitiveness of SMEs and advance the positioning of European regions in this new emerging Medical Devices Industry, Ahmed claims.

Norway as a hub

Norway Health Tech is a cluster organisation that has surpassed 200 members containing SMEs, hospitals, investment firms, as well as knowledge and research institutions, all with a focus on health technology and innovation.

There is a huge potential in exchanging knowledge in cross sectorial collaboration. Many of the members of our health tech cluster utilize technology and competence from other sectors, like energy and traditional games industry. Cross4Halth opens-up new possibilities from aerospace and energy to create a new value chain within our ecosystem. CEO of Norway Health Tech, Kathrine Myhre, told us.

She is proud of the central role that her Norwegian cluster has in the project.

To be the hub and facilitator in this important international effort is obviously a recognition for us. The new relations that will be built and mature during these 2,5 years between our partners and with external experts, can be brought into other projects and open new doors. But especially for the SMEs access to new investors will be crucial, Kathrine tells us.


  • Norway Health Tech (Norway) is the leader of the project and will manage Cross4Health Ideas Contest and Open Call Implementation
  • Innovation Skåne (Sweden) provides the experience in creating and managing Open Innovation Spaces where end user will interact with solution providers
  • ZENIT (Germany) provides the connection to private investors, Europe Enterprise Network in North Rhine-Westphalia and the Medical Devices ecosystem in Germany
  • HCN (UK) focuses on how to optimise cross-over value chains and generate synergies between RIS3, ESIF and H2020 areas of knowledge and experience
  • BIOTECYL (Cluster de Salud de Castilla y Leon, Spain) represents the biotechnology cluster ecosystem and will cater for the satellite events and expert webinars animation
  • Aerospace Valley (France) brings the crossover potential from the Aerospace sector to healthcare and will provides expertise and support in cross-sectoral team building
  • Eurob Creative (Spain) provides the needed IT tools to coordinate project execution and communication.





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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 731391.

This article reflects only the author’s view and that the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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