Collaborations between hospitals and startups for innovative pilot projects

Hospitals and startups that participated in the first cycle of the SymbIASIS project shared their experiences.

Hospital clinics and startups that collaborated and implemented innovative technological pilots or achieved business partnerships under the SymbIASIS project took part in the online discussion and networking event Morning Health Talks ‘Startups doing Pilots in Hospitals: A how-to guide', held on Tuesday 23 May 2023 by the National Documentation Centre (EKT), EIT Health's hub in Greece.

The participants talked about their experience of the first part of the SymbIASIS project (year 2022), the obstacles they had to overcome, shared motivation and good practices and tried to identify the secrets of this good cooperation.

The discussion began with a welcome speech by Beata Kurucz, RIS Collaboration Lead, EIT Health Innostars, who presented EIT Health's relevant projects for collaborations between hospitals and start-ups, as well as the fruits of these partnerships.

Noémi Liber, Deputy Director and Innovation Expert at Institute of Transdisciplinary Discoveries, Medical School, University of Pécs & EIT Health HUB Hungary Coordinator, presented Hungary's ecosystem and EIT Health Hub's actions for collaborations between hospitals and startups in her country, and presented the current pilot projects and their results.

Dr. Antonis Livieratos, Assistant Professor at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and scientific advisor at the Archimedes Center for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, detailed the specifications for open innovation, its operation and presented what key players in the market are doing, as well as real examples of how co-creation and testing of technology works.

Panos Vardas, Professor of Cardiology, coordinator of the Heart Division at Hygeia Group, President Supervising Authority of the National Network of Precision Medicine in Cardiology, on behalf of hospitals, presented the reasons for a healthcare provider to cooperate with start-ups and the difficulties that exist. He noted the need for long-term and stable cooperation, regulatory compliance, etc.

Christos Panagopoulos, CEO of the start-up Bioassist, gave practical examples of cooperation with hospitals and explained how it was achieved by his company, while pointing out that Horizon Europe calls can support these partnerships.

Amanda Psyrri, Professor of Internal Medicine - Oncology and Director of the Second Department of Propaedeutic Internal Medicine, NKUA, at the University General Hospital ‘Attikon’, presented the collaboration of the hospital with CureCancer, while Professor Nikolatou-Galitis, NKUA, stomatologist, specialising in oral oncology, underlined the need for collaborative platforms for oncology patients.

Efthimios Avgerinos, surgeon and visiting professor of vascular surgery at the University General Hospital ‘Attikon’ and collaborator in the SymbIASIS programme, explained what motivates him to work with innovative teams, mentioning the need to be on top of new developments, a love for technology, the need to provide the best medical services to patients, while presenting his experience from working with the company Athroa Innovations / Shuttle Catheters and Michalis Boutaris, CEO, and Danae Manolesou, CTO.

It is worth mentioning that the Greek start-up company Shuttle Catheters/Athroa has participated since the beginning of 2022 in the SymbIASIS me implemented by EKT and is the grand winner of the EIT Health InnoStars Awards 2022, the most competitive business accelerator programme in the health sector in Europe.

In the final section of the event, a discussion was held on the advantages and challenges for hospitals, healthcare staff and patients from the implementation of innovations, while the priorities and main objectives, as well as the internal and external motivators of healthcare providers for innovation, were analysed.

The event was coordinated by George Megas from EKT, coordinator of the EIT Health Hub in Greece, who presented in detail the SymbIASIS programme, the collaborations achieved, the pilot projects in progress and the expected results.

EKT was also present at the Morning Health Talks organised by the local EIT Health Hub in Cluj, Romania. There, the coordinator of the Greek node presented the actions and methodology of the SymbIASIS programme, while Petros Papachristou, CIO of Hygeia Group, presented the needs of hospital units in digital technologies.

At the same event, stories of Romanian start-ups from the health and digital sectors were heard, including the first Romanian startup selected by the German Federal Institute for Medicines and Medical Devices (BfArM) for the Digital Apps in Healthcare (DiGA) model for medical device ‘prescriptions’.

For more information about EIT Health and the SymbIASIS project contact George Megas, coordinator of EIT Health Hub in Greece, (210 2204921, and Marios Roidis, innovation consultant at EIT Health Hub (210 2204924,

View the video of the event.

The SymbIASIS project

The innovative SymbIASIS acceleration programme is implemented by EIT Health and coordinated by the National Documentation Centre (EKT) in collaboration with the Archimedes Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

The aim of SymbIASIS (=Symbiosis + Iasis) is to enhance dialogue between hospitals and start-ups operating in the health sector, the exchange of knowledge and experience, networking and exploring collaborations in order to develop innovative products and services.

The initial expectation was that in the first year of the project, the dialogue and capacity building of the startups and ambassadors would be initiated in order to increase their readiness to set up pilot projects (e.g. IP/CE/MDR/Procurement training) and the launch of 4 pre-pilot projects.

However, SymbIASIS far exceeded the initial objectives and established itself as the first accelerator for health startups in Greece.

The project will connect, for the first time in Greece, hospitals and start-ups. A first major success of the pioneering programme for Greek standards is that it has attracted 15 hospitals and clinics and 40 of the most dynamic startups operating in the health sector.

SymbIASIS now includes 15 hospitals and clinics (8 continuing from 2022 and 7 new ones from 2023) that will support startups from Greece and Cyprus.

EIT Health

EIT Health is one of Europe's largest networks for innovation in health. It consists of 280 partners including leading companies, universities, research and development centers, hospitals and institutes. Its role is to build an ecosystem that enables the future development of healthcare, offering European citizens better health and longevity. EIT Health upgrades the skills of investing in Europe's best talent and facilitating the commercialisation of innovative products/solutions within the EU. It is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union. For more information, please visit:

The National Documentation Centre (EKT) is a hub of EIT Health in Greece. Since 2017, it has provided Greek start-ups with the chance to participate in programmes and receive funding, high-level training, consulting services and networking opportunities in the health sector., with information from ΕΚΤ