Enterprise Ireland and HSE invite SMEs to tackle Diabetes challenges

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€200k funding available through Enterprise Ireland’s Small Business Innovation Research initiative to help develop solutions for a global health issue

11th January 2019: A new competition to address health complications that arise as a result of diabetes has been announced by Enterprise Ireland and the HSE through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) initiative. The health and wellness challenges aim to harness innovation and technology to help diabetes patients avoid the development of typical complications associated with the disease and to receive appropriate care at an earlier stage when complications arise.

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This is the first SBIR collaboration between Enterprise Ireland and the HSE which offers a unique opportunity for innovative companies to co-design solutions with clinicians.

Through this SBIR challenge, successful companies are awarded a 100% funded development contract with the HSE, with up to €200K available to multiple winners across a two-phase competitive process. Phase 1 is an initial feasibility study, followed by product development in Phase 2, where companies retain the IP developed.

The diabetes challenges will specifically target two areas: reducing the risk of women developing Type 2 diabetes following gestational diabetes; and screening for diabetic foot disease in all patients with diabetes. Gestational diabetes affects one in six pregnancies globally and these women are at increased risk of developing diabetes after the pregnancy. All people with diabetes are at increased risk of developing complications which can cause damage to the feet such as ulceration and amputation.

The HSE’s Chief Clinical Information Officer, Yvonne Goff said: ‘‘We are delighted to partner with Enterprise Ireland on this Small Business Innovative Research Programme. Technology is a fundamental enabler in the effective and efficient delivery of health services. This initiative represents a significant combined effort to harness the potential of technology to deliver real solutions for diabetes patients."

Tom Kelly, Head of Innovation , Enterprise Ireland said: ‘‘Enterprise Ireland is proud to partner with the HSE on our first SBIR health challenge to harness the best in innovation to address a global health problem.

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Consultant physician and HSE Clinical lead for Diabetes, Professor Sean Dinneen said: ‘‘This is about HSE clinicians working in a unique way with firms to use technology and digital innovation to ensure that fewer Irish citizens develop avoidable complications of diabetes.

Gemma Murphy from Kilnamanagh, Tallaght in Dublin 24, attended the SBIR launch with her baby son, Alex. Gemma developed gestational diabetes during her pregnancy. She said: ‘‘This is a great initiative. I would really welcome any innovation that would help to reduce the risk of women developing Type 2 diabetes following gestational diabetes. I developed gestational diabetes when I was pregnant in 2017 and I know now that I’m at an increased risk of developing diabetes. So any innovation that would reduce this risk for pregnant women would be really welcome.’’            

The SBIR challenge is now live on e-Tenders website. We had a briefing event in Galway on February 5th, 2019.

Please note this SBIR briefing event was streamed live via Skype. If you could not attend in person, and would like to view the meeting via Skype, please email sbirireland@enterprise-ireland.comfor more information.