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Hernâni Zão's story: StarShip opened up a new door of opportunities

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Hernâni Zão's story: StarShip opened up a new door of opportunities

Hernâni Zão was selected to join the EIT Health StarShip programme 2018

29 November 2018
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During this year-long programme, “participants learned a proven, action-based approach to finding a solution to the industry challenges, examining user requirements and identifying potentially unmet needs in the health context, in close collaboration with key industrial players and the leading local EIT Health innovating institutions.” The six-element multicultural team, which Hernani Zão was a part of, was able to successfully develop, through a Biodesign approach, a platform concept which evaluates, on the basis of scales and safety margins, 30 descriptive indicators of athletes’ physical and psychological health status as a way to prevent injuries that may stem from the lack of contact between athletes.

 

The challenge was proposed by GE Healthcare, discussed by consultants from FIFA and validated in real healthcare settings, with the guidance of the StarShip academic team.

The final team also won the workshop’s final pitch and was selected to present their developed project in Paris. Based on Hernâni’s statement, EIT Health is an incredible platform for disseminating, competing and developing work. Hernâni’s participation in the EIT Health StarShip programme also provided him with ideas for the development of methodologies, collaboration protocols, and tools to promote synergies between international projects.

Following the collaboration, Hernâni will also be introduced to the EIT Health Alumni Community, whose mission is "to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the health sector by building a renowned network of students, professionals, entrepreneurs, and executives with multi-disciplinary skills and backgrounds."

But how did Hernâni engage in this area? When studying at the University of Porto, mainly during his master’s degree in Oncology, Hernâni started paying attention to anxiety issues and highly sedentary lifestyle of hospitalised children suffering from oncological diseases. With all the data and concerns in mind, the HOPE project was born in 2013.

HOPE is a video game which promotes physical exercises, enabling the patients to improve their physical condition and respond more effectively to treatments. In 2014, Hernâni Zão founded BRIGHT, a start-up dedicated to the development of technological solutions to increase therapeutic adherence. BRIGHT projects for Breast Cancer and Pediatric Oncology have earned various national and international recognition, e.g. the First Diogo Vasconcelos Social Entrepreneurship Prize, the Santander Innovation Prize, and the Astellas Oncology C3 Prize.

Currently, Hernâni Zão is also responsible for co-coordinating LACLIS, the first Portuguese Creative Lab for Health Literacy at the University of Porto, which was developed during his doctorate studies in Digital Media, a programme in partnership with the University of Texas in Austin.

Hernâni Zão Oliveira holds a double degree in Biology and Communication Sciences from the Faculty of Sciences and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and a Master's degree in Oncology from the Biomedical Sciences Institute. Both institutions belong to the University of Porto. Recently, he has had an opportunity to collaborate with EIT Health as well.