AI is changing the healthcare sector: How Swedish innovation actors can make a difference

Are you a Swedish or Indian company, research institute or other innovation actor working on MedTech or do you wish to explore new business ideas and partnerships within this area? We need your help to create the healthcare solutions of the...

Are you a Swedish or Indian company, research institute or other innovation actor working on MedTech or do you wish to explore new business ideas and partnerships within this area? We need your help to create the healthcare solutions of the future!

All around the world healthcare systems are experiencing extreme pressure because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The acute consequences of the pandemic actualize the question of everyone’s right to affordable, modern healthcare, as well as the need to develop our healthcare systems with the latest technology to improve quality, efficiency and safety for health workers.

If you want to spearhead the use of AI to enabling tomorrow’s healthcare solutions, there is now a very interesting funding opportunity for you. The Swedish Innovation Agency, Vinnova, and the Indian Department of Biotechnology (DBT) have recently announced a funding opportunity for Swedish and Indian innovation actors such as start-ups, companies, county councils and university hospitals to join forces and use their complementary strengths to improve public health, nursing or care in both countries.

Projects may focus on such things as disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, improved medicines and vaccines, nursing or processes. Projects should be able to add economic value either by: 

  • bringing about new products and services, which can be commercialised, or 
  • by other means such as improved healthcare or streamlining of nursing or care. 

Applications shall be summited no later than the 28th of August 2020 (2 p.m. in Sweden and 8 p.m. in India). The project duration may be up to three years and should start no later than 26th of February 2021.

The growing market for MedTech

AI is already transforming healthcare. It can play a crucial role in improving preventive healthcare, early detection of diseases, disease management and care delivery. Patients are also expected to gain increasing access to health-related information through various applications such as smart wearable devices and mobile electronic medical records. With a huge amount of data from these devices, AI can help optimizing care and promoting personalized healthcare.

Vision E-health 2025 is a national goal set by Sweden to be the leader in utilizing digitization and e-health opportunities by the year 2025. The call by Vinnova and DBT is an important contribution to Sweden’s national vision. Like Sweden, India has a strong position in life science and MedTech. For India, a country with over 1.3 billion people and an acute shortage of doctors, AI can’t be just a novelty but is likely to prove essential. A discussion paper floated by Indian government’s Niti Aayog places healthcare among one of the focus areas for AI intervention.

India’s healthcare industry is one of the fastest growing sectors and it is expected to reach $280 billion by 2020. The country has also become one of the leading destinations for high-end diagnostic services with tremendous capital investment for advanced diagnostic facilities. As an emerging economy and with the third highest start-up pool globally, India is ideally positioned to be the leader of MedTech innovation. In fact, healthcare companies are riding India’s startup boom. India should therefore be a natural R&I partner for Sweden.

Why should Sweden and India co-create?

India’s health care challenges and tech workforce make it fertile ground for collaboration and co-creation. There is probably no better place than India to find a problem in need of a creative solution. Around every corner is a new gap to bridge – a skill gap, geographical gap, an infrastructure gap, an urban-rural divide or a spending gap. The diversity and potential scale of the Indian healthcare system present unique opportunities for MedTech companies to provide new solutions.

Interested? Here is what you can do next

If you are based in Sweden and looking to find an Indian partner, we have six tips for you:

1. Contact Christofer Littorin at Business Sweden in New Delhi explaining your business and what kind of partner you are looking for in India.

2. Attend Vinnova’s upcoming Partnership Development Webinar related to the bilateral call on Health and AI planned for the 5th of May at 09.30-10-30 CET/13.00 IST. To attend the Webinar, please contact Malin Petersen at Vinnova.

3. Visit Vinnova’s website to see a webcast from an information meeting about Vinnova and DBT’s joint call. The meeting also informs of other funding opportunities for cooperation with India.

4. Attend Vinnova’s digital information meeting on cooperation with India on the 13th of May at 1 p.m. A special guest will be invited to the meeting to share information, about for example the business climate in India, which will be helpful if you are planning cooperation with India. During the meeting, you may pose questions on the call on AI and Health and learn about an upcoming call for proposals with India within the area of Smart Cities, Digitalisation, Internet of Things as well as Safe and Sustainable Transport Systems. At the meeting, participants can also sign up for matchmaking. If you are interested in attending the meeting, please contact Malin Petersen.

5. Visit the webpage of Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE) to learn more about the Indian health ecosystem and innovation actors. ABLE is a not-for-profit pan-India forum that represents the Indian Biotechnology Sector. It was launched in April 2003, after industry leaders felt a need to form an exclusive forum to represent the Indian Biotechnology Sector.

6. Finally, apply for funding for a joint project no later than the 28th of August! You’ll find more information about the call at Vinnova’s website.

As leaders within life science, Sweden and Indian can help saving lives and improve public health as well as help reinventing and reinvigorating our healthcare systems. Let’s start co-creating!

Greetings from Malin Petersen, Country Manager India, Vinnova & OSI Team

Ps. Thank you Malin Petersen for guest blogging with us! OSI India is very happy and proud to be a close partner to Vinnova. Make sure to read our next blog on how Indian science is responding to the challenge of managing Covid-19!