The 2018 edition of the Innovation Sessions took place on the 4th of June. It was aimed at bringing together various stakeholders from both public and private sector to discuss and debate on the topic of Healthcare Systems and Future Therapies.


The Keynote speech was by Carlos Moedas (the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation) who spoke about the future directions of Horizon Europe.

Horizon Europe will be about merging the physical and the digital worlds. One of these is the Health field. Links between citizens and health- digitization of health.

Last 100 yrs were about killing the disease. He thinks the next 50 yrs would be about managing the patient life quality- personalised medicine.

Moedas believes (in reference to GDPR and the Facebook scandal) that we should personally own our data, especially our medical data, and do what we want with it- donate it for research or monetize it if we want to.

Carlos Moedas also thinks that in 5 years we will go to a doctor who utilizes an AI. If they do not use an AI then we would change the doctor. But we would not have the AI as the doctor, we still need the doctor with the human perspective.


Philippe Cupers (Deputy Head of Unit DG RTD/ E5) spoke on the topic “What is the future of European research?”

We will have ~1000 projects in Horizon EU. UPGX is a decision support system which is collecting patient data and alerting the doctors if the patient’s health is at risk. Amazing achievement in personalised medicine.

There is a capacity to form partnerships – the EU has set up the largest initiative in healthcare called “Innovative Medicine Initiative”.

EDCT2 ( platform- the first antimalaria drug created. There is also a capacity to align between member states. This means there is flexibility at the EU level which is often seen as an inflexible elephant. The EU funding allows to react quickly, for example to the Zika and Ebola crisis.

Philippe Cupers believes we must continue our research as health innovation is vital: “We can do more and we can do better- to continue personalized treatments which influence us all, such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc”.

Cupers believes the solution is to work in larger numbers- to put large studies together. This can only happen if we have an agenda for open data and digitization. Cupers finds that digitization & AI will be the next jump forward in progress.

Massive investments have gone into omics. The environmental and social factors in terms of health have been underestimated. Therefore, it is vital to assess this in order to approach health well.

Cupers also firmly believes, there is a need to support elderly populations – the 50 mln ppl in EU suffering from at least 2 chronic diseases are 63+ yrs old.


Sasa Jenko (Head of Sector Public Health DG RTD/ E3.01) raised the question that as we are funding a lot of innovation in healthcare how can we utilize them in reality?

In healthcare we need to think beyond the technology- the patient needs to be in the center, but also the doctors, etc the system around the patient.

Personalized medicine is not only drugs, but also prevention or the treatment but also the rest of it.

The To-Reach project is a useful tool for open consultation on what is going on in the healthcare policy.


Miguel Gonzales-Sancho (Head of Unit E-Health, DG CONNECT/H3) spoke about European eHealth priorities. Digital Single Market (the DSM info package) was implemented on 25th April 2018. The DSM:

  • Gives citizens better access to their health data everywhere in the EU
  • Connect and share health data for research, faster diagnosis and better health outcomes
  • Use digital services for citizen empowerment and person centred care

The Communication regarding the DSM is available here.


Jaakko Aarnio (DG CONNECT) gave an overview of innovation procurement and support action. Their success story is THALEA which is funded by DG Connect. THALEA is the first PCP-PPI project (pre-commercial procurement & public procurement for innovative services) which is a tool for the procurement of R&D services.


Celina Costa Leite (Shared Services in Ministry of Health, Portugal) spoke about paperless prescription and gave an overview of the Portuguese approach. They plan to have 80% paperless prescriptions (e-prescriptions) in 6 months.


Magda Chlebus (EFPIA- European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations) made a wonderful speech with some good points regarding the fact there is a lot of innovation in the pipeline, but they no longer match the reality of today. There is a need to find ways to bring diagnostics, drugs, data, and delivery to the doctors and patients (as the issue is not in the cost). The fact that the EU is giving so many funds is amazing, but application is not easy or sometimes not even possible.

She brought out some potential solutions:

  1. Real partnerships- for the PPPs (public private partnerships) to act together to accelerate science, e.g. the Innovative Medicine Initiative.
  2. Regulation to work hand in hand with tech- so there is no under- or overregulation.
  3. Patient centricity- make sure the patients and their needs are driving the research.



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You may read more about the Innovation Sessions event via this page


EFMC – European Fund Management Consulting

Kristiina Kook

PR and Events Coordinator