Where Ideas grow
2nd edition of the i3S-Hovione Award

Applications for the i3S/HovioneCapital Health Innovation Prize were recently opened, an international prize worth a total of €35,000 aimed at rewarding innovative ideas in the health sector. The initiative aims to promote new medical devices, diagnostic systems, and health monitoring technologies through the creation of start-ups.

This is a unique prize in that it brings together a research institute and a venture capital firm, entities that normally participate in very different phases of the innovation process, with the common goal of accelerating the creation of new science-based products and new start-up companies in the health sector. The collaboration hopes to shorten the time between the acquisition of knowledge and the arrival in the market of innovations that bring benefits to the health system and patients.

In addition to selecting a big winner, through partnerships with various entities involved in health innovation - Nova-CRU, Patentree, SRS Advogados, and the National Innovation Agency (ANI), among others - the finalists may receive prizes awarded by these partners. This is the case with ANI, which will award the Born from Knowledge (BfK) Awards to the best “born of knowledge” project. This is the second time that the Agency has taken part in the i3S/HovioneCapital Health Innovation Prize through the BfK Program, but this time it will deliver both the “Tree of Knowledge” trophy and an additional five thousand euros to the winner.

The i3S has invested heavily in the mobilization of knowledge generated through its core research activity in the sphere of companies, with the aim of enhancing and enhancing the contribution that the knowledge generated can have for society. As explained by Hugo Prazeres, i3S specialist in knowledge transfer, “in our view, it is essential to value the knowledge produced, either because the creation of new medical products is a clear form of return on investment made in research, or because the creation of new businesses lead to the creation of jobs requiring skilled labour that can employ the highly skilled human resources we have been training”.

Gonçalo Andrade, executive of Hovione Capital, explains that “it is easy to see why the country's largest health research and innovation institute has partnered with one of the most important investment companies, Hovione Capital: to create an instrument that encourages researchers and entrepreneurs to embody their ideas and to launch themselves in the development of technologies and products”. João Cortez, also involved in the transfer of knowledge in the i3S and in the organization of this competition, states that “everyone wins in this partnership: the Institute by creating an atmosphere of excellence for innovation, Hovione Capital by having access and early participation in new ideas and, above all, entrepreneurs for having an opportunity to give live to their innovative ideas”.

The team that is launching this award wants to go much further than simply awarding a prize. “The way we are organizing the award of the i3S/Hovione Capital Health Innovation Prize” says John Cortez, “will attract other partners who can add more investment”. As an example, the Aescuvest investment platform has agreed to offer a crowdfunding campaign to the top project and positions itself for funding rounds of more than €500,000, which could be an excellent opportunity for projects of intermediate maturity to have access to European investors.

In short, the awarding of the prize is, for the organization, an instrument to create multiple synergies between investors and entrepreneurs that are not limited to the value of €35,000 (€5,000 of which is cash) to be awarded to the big winner. “We are certain that in the event of the selection and delivery of the prize, many other investment opportunities will arise, both for the winners and for the rest of the competition, given the interest of several investors and partners already associated since the creation of this distinction”, concludes João Cortez.

The award ceremony is scheduled for February the 4th and will be attended by investors and relevant entities of the innovation ecosystem. The session will be very dynamic with presentations by the finalist projects to a jury consisting of personalities reputed in the area for election of the winner of the grand prize. The prizes of the partners will also be awarded. Information on the second edition of the i3S-Hovione Capital Innovation Prize is available here and the application deadline ends on January the 15th.