Headstart Funding from EIT Health


Are you a researcher or student that have registered a company to pursue a business within the health care area? You can now apply for up to 50 000 EUR in Headstart Funding from EIT health to validate your idea, product or service further. Deadline 16 March.

The EIT Health Headstart Programme accelerates the market launch of selected healthcare start-ups through grants as well as support with networking and developing a project plan.

Headstart provides companies that are chosen for the programme up to €50,000 to support the development of innovative healthcare products and services. Companies winning Headstart awards will create a project plan with the support of the EIT Health Business Creation Managers, to help them harness the local and international network to accelerate their product launch. Awards are intended to:

  • support the applicants in realising next steps towards market;
  • verify the need/benefit of the product/service;
  • increase the possibility of attracting further private investment.

Is it for me?

The EIT Health Headstart Programme is most suitable for micro and small enterprises spin-offs, and start-ups that have a well-developed prototype and are aiming to launch a product. Applicants should be incorporated, or they must be incorporated on selection. Ideal applicants have an estimated company valuation of less than €1 million.

Companies should be seeking to develop projects that fit the overall EIT Health objective of “Strengthening healthcare systems in Europe; Promoting better health of citizens; Contributing to a sustainable health economy in Europe.”

New for 2020, in addition to the usual support, the Headstart Programme offers an added opportunity for ventures with a focus on physical, mental, and social well-being for people as they age. Through its Headstart Programme, EIT Health will join the NAM’s Healthy Longevity Global Grand Challenge. The Challenge includes a three-tiered structure of awards and prizes to support bold, new ideas and innovations targeting improved mental and physical quality of ageing.

Eligibility and application requirements:

  • Applications are submitted through the EIT Health Optimy Registration platform.
  • Requirements and parameters for Headstart may vary slightly by region. These differences are outlined in the Headstart Guide. Applicants are strongly encouraged to seek advice and contact their regional EIT Health Accelerator Business Creation Managers for guidance before submitting an application.
  • All Headstart applications will require a confirmation letter to establish that the company has an existing relationship with the EIT Health network.
  • The application must be in English and submitted through the EIT Health Optimy Registration platform.
  • The applicant(s) or company must own or have rights to the intellectual property that is the basis for the project or product (if applicable).
  • The most relevant project or product will be at least at “technical readiness level 4”; however, early-stage innovation projects and ventures will also be considered.
  • Applicants are only intended to participate in one of the following programmes in one calendar year: Headstart, Bridgehead Europe/Global, Digital Sandbox or European Health Catapult or participate as External Project Partners of EIT Health Projects within the Innovation, Campus or Accelerator Pillar. If selected by more than one programme BCM staff will support the start-up in the participation of one.
  • Applications should only be submitted to one EIT Health region.
  • Fitting into the following focus areas identified by EIT Health will positively contribute to the selection:
    • Towards holistic care pathways
    • Creating the enabling environment for healthcare transformation
    • Harnessing the power of real-world data (RWD)
    • Bringing care home
    • From the workplace to the health place: employer leadership in improving health
    • Fostering healthy lives by introducing behavioural change

Important dates

  • Application period: 16 December 2019 – 16 March 2020
  • Some regions may have a second submission deadline depending on CLCs
  • Official Awarding of NAM’s Healthy Longevity Global Grand Challenge winners: July (at a Grand Challenge event)
  • Upon selection:
    • Project grant agreement signatures: Dependent on selection, expected May-September 2020
    • Grant attribution (total budget): Dependent on selection, expected June-October 2020
    • Midterm report: required before 20 December.

The application process

Please download the Headstart Guide to obtain full details and to apply.
Applications must be filed through the EIT Health Optimy Registration platform.



Elisabet Gullberg, Business advisor
Uppsala University Innovation

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