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Mobilising the European nano-biomedical ecosystem

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NOBEL (Mobilising the European nano-biomedical ecosystem)

Reporting period: 2019-04-01 to 2020-12-31

While the NOBEL Project follows the main goal of shaping and implementing a strategic vision for HealthTech in Europe, several priorities have been addressed by the partners:
1. improving awareness and communication among all healthcare stakeholders in Europe,
2. establishing a structured collaboration between different stakeholder communities to create a functional and sustainable ecosystem,
3. continuing and optimising Translation & Acceleration tools for innovative projects in HealthTech. It will thereby further expand the successful concept of the Nanomedicine Translation HUB designed by the ETPN, a global set of tools among which the Nanomed TAB for strategic mentoring, the EUNCL for characterisation and pilot lines,
4. aligning and integrating individual and separate strategies and roadmaps into a single “meta” roadmap for healthcare technologies in Europe.

- A challenging context –
Europe has to innovate and develop nanomedicines and medical technologies with high value and high technological content, well protected IP, and ensuring both a clinical need and commercial opportunities of all new innovations.
This can only be achieved by combining Key Enabling Technologies (KETs), among others nanotechnologies, photonics, robotics, advanced materials, biotechnologies and information technologies to get smarter medical devices and smarter nanomedicines.
However, the translation from the preclinical proof of concepts toward the market requires a more integrated and streamlined ecosystem with less barriers between stakeholders and steps of innovative product development.
In a period of 39 months, the NOBEL Project succeeded in transposing and upscaling translational services originally dedicated to the Nanomedicine community to a much larger bandwidth of technologies having all in common their contributions to healthcare innovation. NOBEL built up a platform at the cross-section of nanotechnologies, electronics, advanced (bio)materials, textiles, photonics, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to foster cross-fertilisations and to efficiently support technology providers on the path from the lab to the patient.
Concretely NOBEL addressed 3 major aspects of Coordination and Support in the HealthTech sector:
1. A framework for mutual understanding, common vision and joint strategy: the concept for a Continuum of Integrated Care highlights the need for a holistic approach of healthcare provision in a changing environment. Decentralising healthcare implies that data are becoming the spinal cord of healthcare. HealthTech as defined below is essential to create, transfer, and treat data in a way that they are available and understood at all phases in the healthcare process and by all types of stakeholders. An article and a meta-roadmap, both elaborated by the project partners are now available to support research and industrial communities and decision-making bodies.
2. A platform for technology providers in the HealthTech area to speak with one voice and shape the technological solutions to answer to current and future medical needs: The HealthTech4EU Alliance is currently being founded by seven European Technology Organisations. In addition to its mission to act as a think tank, this alliance is the place to discuss future strategic orientations, adaptation to and adoption by healthcare systems as well as to shape new projects.
3. Translation of promising HealthTech toward the market: Although the ground principle remains the same, the former Nanomed TAB (Translation Advisory Board) underwent a profound redesign to be able to provide advice to different technological sectors and to highlight the potential of combining expertise from different technological field to create a final product. With 55 cases supported by the new HealthTech TAB, it is obvious that the objective has been reached.

These tremendous results have been achieved through the consortium’s efforts to federate a large community of stakeholders, addressing each type with targeted communication activities, dedicated events and workshops. It is worth to mention here the organisation of showcase events by NOBEL Partners, in the first place the HealthTech Award or the pan-European HealthTech World Cancer Days, to underline the capability of the project to mobilise start-up and SME communities and local networks respectively.

The ambitious working plan of the project could be rolled out despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact during the last year of the project on all activities involving physical interactions, such as meetings, workshops, events and conferences. Nevertheless, this disrupted environment has called for innovative design to rethink some of our key-initiatives and promotion actions. A dedicated COVID-19 taskforce, regrouping experts within the NOBEL Consortium, was set up to provide strategic inputs and publications explaining how health technologies should enable a better preparation for the next pandemic. Finally, the NOBEL Consortium was able to define an appropriate mitigation plan, including a 3-month extension of the project, and to alleviate the effects of the pandemic. The overall performances of the project partners did finally only marginally suffer from the current situation. Instead, the last months of the NOBEL Project have been extremely efficient to prepare and start implementing its heritage, notably in the embodiment of the long-lasting HealthTech4EU Alliance.
Sustainability of the global project achievements has been a central concern for the Consortium in the second half of the project. Dedicated meetings have been organised to shape and enable a sustainable heritage after the project ended. For each of the three major aspects, sustainability plans have been designed:
1. The Continuum of Integrated Care has been published as an article under International Standard Book Number (ISBN) 978-3-89750-223-9. Furthermore, this concept is now used to provide a comprehensive structure to current and future meta-roadmaps and Strategic Research Agendas (SRA) elaborated by the HealthTech4EU Alliance.
2. An association under French law is about to be created to provide the HealthTech4EU Alliance with a legal entity, to be able to manage a budget and to hire dedicated staff.
3. The HealthTech TAB has also investigated different possibilities to create a sustainable structure and emphasised the importance of strategic cooperation. Discussions are ongoing with the TAB Experts, the European Innovation Council (EIC) & the Commission’s Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), as well as the EIT Health.
NOBEL Project - Logo (white)
NOBEL Project - Logo HealthTech TAB (transparent)
NOBEL Project - Logo (color)
NOBEL Project - Logo HealthTech World Cancer Day 2020
NOBEL Project - Continuum of Integrated Care cartoon (thumbnail)
NOBEL Project - Continuum of Integrated Care overview
NOBEL Project - Logo HealthTech Award
NOBEL Project - TAB promotional movie (thumbnail)
NOBEL Project - Compendium on testing, regulation and reimbursement of healthcare products
NOBEL Project - Logo HealthTech4EU Alliance