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Digital healthcare innovation comes to Sheffield

Forty enterprising young people from across Europe are in Sheffield to kick-off a series of EU-funded workshops, aimed at training and developing innovative ICT entrepreneurs.

The delegates, from 19 countries, are using their time on the Startify7 project at the University of Sheffield to work on entrepreneurial ideas around digital healthcare. After spending last week developing concepts in teams, they will do further refinement and pitch to a panel of judges on Thursday.

Three teams who are deemed to have the most innovative ideas then attend a follow-up workshop in Brussels in September. Professor Tim Vorley, Chair in Entrepreneurship at Sheffield University Management School, is leading the project which was funded by a European Commission Horizon 2020 grant. He said: “It’s so inspiring to see budding entrepreneurs explore the complex but burgeoning world of digital healthcare innovation. The international nature of the project ensures that we’re considering cultural and budgeting factors and all attendees are benefitting from a global exchange of ideas.

“This is the first in a full programme of workshops to be held all over Europe, at partner organisations in Italy, Germany, Spain, Greece, Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands. I have taught on this programme, alongside my colleagues Dr Robert Wapshott and Kate Penney, and it’s been amazing hearing the initial ideas coming from teams, exploring areas such as innovative delivery through the use of drones, and digital products such as apps for vulnerable groups such as the elderly or disabled.”

Held at the Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS), delegates are working with staff from relevant University of Sheffield research teams such as CREED (the Centre for Regional Economic and Enterprise Development) and ScHARR (the School of Health and Related Research) to build on their ideas and benefit from academic expertise in the fields of healthcare and innovation. They also visited the Digital Catapult Centre in London to hear about the work of technologists working at the frontiers of digital healthcare.

A visiting tutor on the workshop, Jorge Gonzalez from partner project GET Health, summed up the timely nature of Startify7: “Events like this are integral to challenging and developing the future of digital health in Europe. It is vital that we engage a bright, technically minded generation in innovations for this area of research as, given the pace of digital, their ideas may be changing lives in just a few years’ time.”

Find out more about Startify7 and its up-coming European workshops here: www.startify7.eu

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