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Call for proposals: Innovation potential on Nordic patient records

Call for proposals Instrument Deadline 31.01.2023

Apply through e-mail

The project proposal must be labelled <Project proposal – Applied ethical AI on Nordic patient records>

Deadline:31 January, 12:00 noon CET
Funding: 5.800.000 NOK
Project timeframe:2,5 years

In addition to the funding, there will be a co-financing requirement for the winning consortia of at least +50%. 

Purpose and context

The purpose of this call is to demonstrate a concrete application of patient records to one or more specific health care challenge(s) as specified by the winning project proposal. This initiative should help foster Nordic competitive advantage in the area of responsibleuse of health data and through its results, inspire future developments in this area.

The project needs to be within the current legal framework and legislation coming into effect during the project period.

Through this initiative, Nordic Innovation sets out to promote sustainable growth, innovation, entrepreneurship and global competitiveness of Nordic companies.

Together, the amount of health data in the Nordics can be used to develop solutions for more diseases, illnesses and health system challenges. Health data in the form of context-rich patient records is one of the Nordics’ most valuable data resources.

Patient records and the context provided in these have immense innovation potential. Many illnesses and conditions are context-dependent, and health care optimization can be undertaken if you can use patient records. While some companies may already have access to some patient records, the scope of new innovations increases considerably when it is possible to work across the Nordic borders and utilize the full breadth of Nordic health data. This will make a larger amount of Nordic Health data available for analysis and innovation in relation to for instance rare diseases and diseases and illnesses which are heavily context dependent.

This is one of two calls for proposals launched simultaneously. The other, related call is aimed at developing and demonstrating a technical ethical AI-solution capable of processing information in Nordic patient records across systems and languages.

Together, the two resulting projects aim at propelling the Nordic region as leading in ethical AI and responsibleuse of health data, by demonstrating the potential for value creation for Nordic businesses and society in responsible utilization of patient records and applied ethical AI.

Background

The Nordics has a wealth of valuable health data in the form of patient records. Doctors and health care personnel put great pride in taking good care of their patients, partly therefore a substantial amount of information related to a patient’s wellbeing or illness is written down in patient records. While this information is at times sporadic, written by different people in different formats, and can be fractional, there may well be a lot of valuable information in patient records that, while harder to access and utilize than registry data, can yield different kinds of knowledge, information and innovation potential.

Much of the information stored in patient records go underutilized. There is clinically relevant information hidden in the context provided in patient records that has the potential to radically improve healthcare outcomes. Systematic use of qualitative information found in the patient records can help to identify patterns. Detection of, and better understanding of and improved treatments and drug development in the area of rare diseases is an example with great potential for innovation if the context-rich patient records can be leveraged. Prediction and optimization of healthcare workflows such as emergency room flow and remittances are other application areas that hold great potential. Another foreseen area of application could be improved drug management.

There are several barriers to overcome to unlock the potential Nordic health data in general holds, this includes technical, ethical and legal barriers, these barriers also apply to patient records. While registry data is often used in research, this is not as common for patient records. However, in comparison with registry data, patient records potentially give a broader and deeper context than registry data. One of the goals of this project is to demonstrate the societal and business value for the Nordics of utilizing the context in patient records to better tackle healthcare challenges.

This call is deliberately kept very open with regards to what type of solution is hoped to be delivered from the project. The reason is that part of the aim is to verify that there is an innovation potential in the context found in the patient records, and at the same time demonstrate a concrete solution utilizing the context in the patient records across Nordic countries in solving health care challenges.

About Nordic Innovation

Nordic Innovation is an organization under the Nordic Council of Ministers working to promote cross-border trade and innovation, located in Oslo. The Nordic Council of Ministers is the official intergovernmental body for cooperation in the Nordic region. With 26 million inhabitants in the Nordic region, the Nordic cooperation is one of the most comprehensive regional partnerships anywhere in the world.

Read more about Nordic Innovation

Who is behind the call ?

This project is a cross-sectoral collaboration between the two Nordic Innovation programs; Life Science & Health Tech and AI & Data and is supported by the Ministerial Council for Digitalization, which encompasses cooperation between the Nordic countries and Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Read more about the Ministerial Council for Digitalization

The Life Science & Health Tech program and the AI & Data program is two of the eight programs at Nordic Innovation launched by the five Nordic Ministers of trade, innovation and industry in 2021. The programs run 2021 – 2024. The programs represent a determined advance towards a stronger and more sustainable Nordic region and support the vision for the Nordic region to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030.

Read more about the Life Science and Health Tech program

The project combines the Nordic Innovation program visions for Life Science & Health Tech and AI & Data; “the Nordics as the most integrated and sustainable health region in the world”, and “the Nordics as the leading region in digitalisation, ethical AI and responsible use of data.” Thus, this project aims to showcase what the innovation potential is in Nordic health data, more specifically in patient records and propel the Nordics as world leading in responsible use of health data.

Read more about the AI and Data program

The aim is to strengthen the Nordic companies' opportunities in the field of life science and health technology to create new products and solutions for the benefit of Nordic citizens.

Who can apply?

A consortium of minimum three project partners from three different Nordic countries. It will be viewed positively with additional project partners from Baltic countries in the evaluation of the proposal. Startups, cluster organizations/eco-systems, SMEs, larger corporations, R&D institutions, public sector actors, NGOs and civil society organizations are all eligible project partners are examples of eligible project partners.

Deliverables

The project will:

  • Demonstrate the innovation potential of the context provided in patient records. This will be done by focusing on one or several specified identified health care challenges where patient records context can be utilized to improve health care outcomes.
  • The project should focus on one or several clearly delimited areas, for example (but not limited to): an illness or a group of illnesses, drug management and/or distribution, focus on healthcare workflow optimization/healthcare system development, and new solutions (drugs, electronic solutions) for rare diseases.
  • Adhere to highest standard of ethical principles and protection of privacy of individuals and following FAIR principles and existing guidelines, standards as well as forthcoming EU regulations in the area of health data (EHDS, Data Governance Act etc.).
  • The consortium will be required to coordinate a roundtable serving as a formalized stakeholder dialogue twice yearly. This is to ensure relevance and alignment with clinical practice and overall stakeholder interest and developments in the field, as well as knowledge sharing and dissemination of project results. Members of the proposed roundtable will be decided in collaboration with Nordic Innovation.
  • Events, dissemination and communication of project results.
  • Barrier assessment: The consortium must undertake a barrier assessment covering especially the technical, societal and environmental barriers to the implementation of the solution as well as an impact assessment of the resulting solution.
  • Business case for the developed solution.

Eligibility criteria

Project partners must be eligible for de minimis state aid under Regulation 1407/2013 or 360/2012 (de minimis Regulations) of 18 December 2013.

Funding can only go to projects with Nordic and Baltic partners, with the work being undertaken in Nordic and Baltic countries. Contributions (financial or in-kind) from a non-Nordic or non-Baltic partner cannot count as co-financing towards the co-financing requirements of the project.

The winning consortium must have access to or be able to credibly assure access and the right to use patient record datasets from a minimum of two Nordic countries for the purpose of the project.

Selection of winning consortium and project proposal

Nordic Innovation will select the project proposal and the consortium behind it that Nordic Innovation deems best suited to deliver on the tasks described in this call.

The project proposals that meet the conditions set out in this call will be examined and evaluated by an expert panel. The expert panel consists of minimum three external experts and two advisors from Nordic Innovation. Each expert/advisor will individually evaluate each proposal based on the assessment criteria specified in the call text and rank them, with the best proposal ranked highest. All applicants that submit a project proposal will receive a short, written feedback from the expert panel.

Evaluation criteria

In the evaluation, the weight of the three main criteria are as follows: Excellence 40%, Impact 20% and Implementation 40%.

Excellence

  • The overall quality of the proposed project idea and project plan.
  • Novelty of the resulting solution.
  • How well the proposed project utilizes the context provided in the patient records (relative to using e.g. only patient registry data).
  • Quality of the proposed dataset(s): To what extent the proposed datasets exhibit large enough volume and scale to get results that are interesting and clinically valid.
  • Commercialization: To what extent does the consortium exhibit the experience, capability, capacity and complementary competencies and a plan for commercializing (implementing) and scaling the resulting solution.
  • Additional patient record sets: In the overall evaluation it will be viewed positively with additional patient data sets, these can be from either other Nordic countries or from a Baltic country.
  • Additional consortium partners: In addition to Nordic partners, it will be viewed positively with additional partners from Baltic countries.

Impact

  • User benefits and societal impact: The user benefits (stakeholder value chain) and the societal positive impact of the defined application area (e.g. illness, group of illnesses or workflow optimization) for the proposed project.
  • The basis of the business case for the developed solution.

Implementation

  • Feasibility of access to the dataset(s): Does the consortium have legal access to or is able to credibly assure access and the right to use a sizable number of patient records to be utilized in the project from a minimum of 2 Nordic countries and in a minimum of 2 Nordic languages?
  • The consortium composition: How well do the consortium members complement each other and add value through cooperation across the Nordics? Are the consortium members relevant to the project and is it clear what the consortium members add to the consortium?
  • Continuous mapping and assessment of barriers: An important deliverable and part of the project is to undertake a mapping and provide an account of the barriers/bottlenecks and learnings under the project. Here we are referring especially to the legal, technical, societal, economic and diversity/equity & inclusivity and to the extent possible, environmental aspects.How will this be ensured?
  • Dissemination of knowledge: How the consortium plans to disseminate and present the project’s results.
  • Overall feasibility and quality of the proposed project plan – involving risk evaluation, mitigation and contingency plan. How well does the proposed project plan match the deliverables?
  • Cost structure – Do the contribution to the project and the proposed received funding and input of co-funding look reasonable?

Formality Requirements

The project proposal shall be in English and no more than 12 pages long including illustrations and pictures. The project proposal shall be submitted in one pdf file. CVs of core consortium members can be submitted as an appendix to the project proposal but must be submitted in the same PDF file as the project proposal. Please number the pages in the PDF. The budget template can be submitted separately.

In order to receive the budget template, please contact: R.malmborg@Nordicinnovation.org

Signed letters of commitment from all participating partners shall be included. Signed letters of commitment from all participating partners shall be included.

By the end of the project, a formal report is to be written up and sent to Nordic Innovation, describing both results and learnings.

Application deadline and important dates

Deadline: 31 January 2023 at 12:00 CET.

The project proposal must be submitted electronically to Nordic Innovation at all three mail addresses:

The project proposal must be labelled <Project proposal – Innovation potential on Nordic patient records>.

Top project proposals having the highest score on the award criteria may be invited for a digital interview with the evaluation panel and/or to provide answers to potential questions from the evaluation panel during weeks 8-9 in 2023.

Cooperation with Nordic Innovation will be agreed to in more detail in the beginning of the project period.

Important dates:

ActivityDate
Call is open:4 November 2022
Deadline for asking questions: 2 December 2022
Deadline for submission of proposal:31 January 2023, 12:00 CET
Full evaluation process:31 January - 7 March 2023
Potential interviews with top proposals:Week 8-9 2023
Choice of project partners notified: No later than 7 March 2023
Contract award: No later than 15 March 2023

Please note that the dates are subject to change.

Miscellaneous

The submitter of the project proposal is responsible for ensuring that all questions, requirements and clarification points are answered/highlighted and documented in the project proposal. Project proposals and other information received after the application deadline will not be considered. The Applicant carries the risk of errors or delays in the submission/ sending of the Project proposal.

Nordic Innovation may refuse all project proposals if the result of the evaluation process gives a reasonable ground for doing so. If all the project proposals are refused, Nordic Innovation will notify those who have submitted proposals of the refusal.

The decision about to whom the contract is awarded will be published on Nordic Innovations’ website.

Please note that Nordic Innovation’s Standard Terms and Conditions apply to this call.

Read our Standard Terms and Conditions

Contacts

Olivia Rekman - Innovation Adviser

Olivia Rekman

Innovation Adviser
Prior to joining Nordic Innovation in 2022, Olivia has worked for several years as an innovation consultant. In her role, she helped international consortiums of SMEs, start-ups and large companies as well as universities, to secure soft funding for green & deep-tech innovation projects. Olivia holds an MSc in International Business & Politics, and founded a CSR consultancy in 2010. Besides her experience in navigating innovation ecosystems and international business development & public policy analysis, Olivia has lived and worked in all Scandinavian countries.

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Portrait Rasmus Malmborg

Rasmus Malmborg

Senior Innovation Adviser
Rasmus has extensive international experience in complex project management, predominantly within health care system development. Prior to joining Nordic Innovation, Rasmus has been with LHL International for nine years and worked the last four years as CEO.

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