BIH DIGITAL HEALTH ACCELERATOR 2020 –
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

The application period for the program BIH Digital Health Accelerator has been extended. New application deadline is Tuesday, May 5th, at 12 noon (CET). 

Ambitious? Want to bring your digital health solution to patients? Benefit from our resources, expertise, and network which will support you in all aspects of building, validating, and launching your digital health solutions.

Why should I apply?

Our mission at the Digital Health Accelerator is to lay the groundwork for great ideas to grow, therefore we are committed to providing program participants with optimal working conditions ranging from solid funding to diverse external support.

  • Flexible Funding: 
    We offer flexible financial support to account for each project’s specific needs.

  • Protected Time Off for Participants with Clinic Obligations: 
    We ensure that our participants are protected from clinical obligations so they can focus on advancing their project.

  • Expert Mentoring: 
    Teams have free access to both general and individual sessions catered to their needs from internal and high-profile external mentors.

  • Free Co-working Space at BIH:

    The BIH office is centrally located. Starting this fall the BIH Co-working space will be located right next to Charité Campus Mitte (CCM).
  • First-Class Network:
    Work together with like-minded innovators, talents to complete your team if needed, partners to help develop your product, and industry and investors to help bring your solution to patients.

    Program Structure

    The objective of the Digital Health Accelerator is to enable BIH, Charité and MDC innovators to accelerate the development and launch of their digital health solutions for the shared goal of improving patients' lives.

    The program is structured into 2 stages:

    Please note that due to the current situation, all program timelines are subject to change. Applicants will be informed in due course.

    Stage 1: Rapid Prototype Development (August-December 2020)

    Development of a technical prototype of your digital health product. In parallel, consideration of relevant complementary perspectives, such as user/customer needs, market and competition, regulatory and legal aspects, business considerations, reimbursement aspects, etc.

    (Selection process, DHA Stage 1: March-May, 2020)
    Program set-up (administration and logistics): June-July, 2020
    Preparatory courses: August 2020
    Core DHA Program Stage 1: August-December, 2020
    Demo Day: Presentation event with potential industry partners, investors, politicians, health insurers, and other critical innovation ecosystem partners – November, 2020
    (Selection process, DHA Stage 2: November-December, 2020)

    Stage 2: Product Development and Launch (January 2021 – project-specific target date)

    Development of your digital health product and launch preparation. In parallel, strategy and business model development, clinical validation, regulatory certification, launch preparation incl. follow-up funding acquisition.

    Program completion: Depending on a project’s progress along its milestone-based project plan, either translation of the developed product to patient/market via license, industry cooperation, trade sale or spin-off company formation (as preferred by project team and viable in market context); or discontinuation of DHA support in case of failure to complete project plan.

    Application Process for DHA Stage 1

    Please observe updated dates below.

    The application process for the Digital Health Accelerator Stage 1 is structured into three steps:

    Step 1: Written Application

    • Complete the application documents (application form, optional application for protected time, signature page). Note: In cases where the applicant is not the PI, the principal investigator (Arbeitsgruppenleiter/in bzw.  Kostenstelleninhaber/in) needs to co-sign.
    • Submit the application documents via email to bih-dha-2020@bihealth.de
    • New application deadline: Tuesday, May 5, 2020, 12:00 noon (CET).


    Step 2: Project Deep Dive with Interdisciplinary Experts

    • Selected projects will be invited to a Project Deep Dive based on the application documents in an in-person meeting with an interdisciplinary group of experts (incl. medical/clinic, technology, IP, legal/regulatory, business) (new, to be confirmed: May 13-14, 2020).


    Step 3: Pitch Day with External Selection Committee

    • Selected projects will then be invited to a Pitch Day to present their projects to a selection committee of external experts (new, to be confirmed: June 9/10/11, 2020).


    The selection process for teams to advance to DHA Stage 2 will take place in November/December 2020.

    Requirements

    Eligibility: You are eligible for the program if you are an employee of the BIH, Charité, or MDC, e.g., clinicians, scientists, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers, nurses, lab technicians, among others. As the BIH seeks to maximize the diversity of its funding programs, female scientists/clinicians, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups are especially encouraged to apply.

    Frequently asked questions

    What Is the BIH Digital Health Accelerator (DHA)?

    The Digital Health Accelerator is the go-to program for all employees of the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Charité) and the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC), including researchers, clinicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals, who seek to translate their innovative ideas into digital health solutions for patients. The adaptable support spans the development continuum from idea/concept to prototype to marketable product and commercialization, e.g., via industry cooperation, license, or spin-off company formation.

    What Is an Accelerator?

    In the context of this program, the Accelerator is a structured, end-to-end, hands-on program to speed up the development of new products/solutions and to increase the likelihood of their successful translation into medical application.

    What Definition of ‘Digital Health’ is Applied?

    As a working definition for the purposes of the program, Digital Health is defined as the convergence of new digital technologies, e.g., 3D, AI/ML, AR/MR/VR, robotics, and sensors, with life sciences and healthcare. The line between medtech, diagnostics, etc. can be blurry – key is the intended presence of a digital technology as a critical component of the innovation.

    Who Is Eligible for the DHA Program?

    All employees of the BIH, Charité, or MDC, e.g., clinicians, scientists, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers, nurses, lab technicians, amongst others, with a valid contract at least until end of the program stage period (DHA Stage 1 2020: August-December 2020; DHA Stage 2: 2021+) are eligible. As the BIH seeks to maximize the diversity of its funding programs, female innovators, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups are especially encouraged to apply.

    I Am a Medical Student. Am I Eligible for the DHA Program?

    Please contact us to check eligibility.

    Are Project Teams Working with External Partners Eligible?

    Yes, projects with partnerships are generally fundable, contingent on the partner, IP situation, and specific roles of partners and the funded project team. Critically, a funded project teams needs to be (co-)inventor; product development for third parties cannot be funded under applicable BMBF funding guidelines.

    Is My Startup Eligible for the DHA Program?

    Under applicable funding rules by BMBF, only project teams of BIH, Charité and/or MDC can be funded; separate legal entities are not eligible.

    What Benefits Do Project Teams Receive in the DHA Program?

    • Flexible Funding:
      We offer flexible financial support to account for each project’s specific needs. Funding is determined based on iteratively developed, milestone-based project plans. Should the necessity arise, funding types (Personal-, Sach-, Investitionsmittel) can be exchanged. Total funding over the course of the program can add up to over 1 M Euro.

    • Protected Time Off for Participants with Clinic Obligations:
      To ensure that participants with clinical obligations can focus on advancing their projects, protected time can be granted to the amount of up to 50% of time for one team member and up to 30% of time for a second team member.

    • Expert Coaching/Mentoring:
      Teams receive free access to all teams and individual sessions catered to their needs from internal and high-profile external mentors. The DHA program regards mentor caliber a critical value added for participating teams. Mentors are therefore, e.g., part of the German Accelerator Life Sciences (BMWi) network, hold senior positions in industry, are proven subject matter experts, e.g. in technology, and/or are seasoned entrepreneurs with the corresponding experience and quality of guidance to offer.

    • Free Co-working Space at BIH:
      The current co-working is located at BIH headquarters at Spreepalais at Hackescher Markt. Starting this fall and coinciding with this new DHA program cohort, the DHA co-working space will be moving to a dedicated digital health innovation space located at Am Zirkus 1/Bertolt-Brecht-Platz 3 at S-Bhf. Friedrichstrasse. No matter where you need to run when the clinic calls – CBF, CCB/MDC, CCM or CVK – there is hardly a more traffic-efficient spot in Berlin to help teams save what matters most day-to-day, i.e., their time.

    • First-Class Talent and Partner Networks:
      Teams can access a growing pool of talents to complete their teams as needed, partners to help develop product, and industry and investors to help bring solution to patients.

    • Digital Health Innovation Community:
      Work together with like-minded peers for inspiration, support and, quite frankly, fun. The dedicated DHA team will help participating teams to navigate administrative tasks.

    How Advanced Does My Project Need to Be?

    The project needs to be a development project along the continuum from idea/concept to prototype to marketable product and commercialization. Please note that DFG-like basic research is not fundable by the DHA program.

    What Kind of Project Teams Are You Looking For?

    The DHA program is targeting individuals and teams keen on translating their innovative digital health ideas, concepts or prototypes into solutions for patients, no matter what their area of medical and/or scientific fields of expertise are. Generally, the more complete a team (e.g., medical/scientific, technology, business), the more compelling the case.

    I Do Not Have a Team Yet. Can I Still Apply?

    Yes, you can! The DHA team will support you to assemble a team and provide you with the necessary resources and skills for success.

    Can Anyone Apply for Protected Time?

    Only individuals who are working in patient care/ clinical care with patient obligations are eligible to apply for protected time (Freistellung).

    Will Only One Application per Clinic/Institute/Work Group Be Considered?

    No; multiple entries are possible to not put especially innovative units at a disadvantage.

    How Are Project Teams Selected?

    Selections are conducted by interdisciplinary external expert panels. Selection criteria fall into three categories:

    • Team, including but not limited to: Credentials, completeness, entrepreneurial spirit and drive
    • Product, including but not limited to: Medical need, ability to address this need, quality of underlying asset/ data/ technology, IP situation, competitive advantage, development path incl. required resources
    • Market, including but not limited to: Market situation incl. competitive landscape, market potential (monetary and non-monetary/societal impact).

    How Long Is the Program?

    The program consists of two stages: Stage 1: 5 months (August-December 2020); Stage 2: 12 months and longer, depending on development path to product and commercialization (2021+).

    When Does the DHA Program Support Conclude?

    Depending on the project teams progress along the specific milestone-based project plan, either translation of developed solution to patient/market via license, industry cooperation, trade sale or spin-off company formation (as preferred by project team and viable in market context); or discontinuation of DHA support in case of not being able to complete project plan conclude program support.

    How Much of My Time Will Be Requested by the Program?

    Participation in the DHA program is a focused, intense experience. At least operational project leads, who do not need to be the overall project lead/PI, are expected to spend a significant amount of time working on the project at the co-working space, unless otherwise agreed to, to benefit from coaching/mentoring, activities, and network access. Team members receiving protected time off of clinical obligations are expected to work that time on their projects.

    Do Project Teams Need to Decide Right from the Beginning How to Commercialize their Products?

    No; projects develop during the course of the program in different directions. Ultimately, the combination of project team preference and market situation, e.g., presence of a cooperation partner or investor, determine the pursued type of commercialization.

    Are Applicants Expected to Become Entrepreneurs?

    It is of course at the project teams discretion to select their paths. Generally, researchers and clinicians may want to continue in their current career trajectories. Note that in case of spin-off company formation, there is a variety of roles, from operational to non-operational, that in parallel allow for continued successful careers in academia and clinic.

    What Language Is Used in the Program?

    The working language at the DHA is English as we work with international teams, mentors, companies, etc. In interactions with the institutions’ administrative bodies, the predominant language is German. But no worries, the DHA team seeks to help overcome any language barriers. We believe that innovation is a universal language.

    Help! I Am Unable to Fully Complete my Application until the Application Deadline. What to Do?

    To apply, the application form needs to be handed-in prior to the application deadline. However, in case of partially missing information and/or signatures by superiors, please inform the DHA team in advance to allow for a conditional submission as long as compatible with the selection process.


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