EIT Health Headstart Funding Programme 

UK-Ireland winners of 2018 Headstart funding.

Joy Cürten
Business Creation Manager
EIT Health

The EIT Health Headstart Programme provides funding of up to €50 000 to support early stage companies and SMEs in developing new products and services. Selected companies will work on their product launch project with support from the regional managers to access local and EIT Health networks.

The purpose of the EIT Health Headstart Funding Programme is to:

  • support applicants in realising next steps to teaching the market and shorten time-to-market for innovative products and services;
  • verify the need/benefit of the product/service for users/customers/payers/partners;
  • increase the possibility of attracting further private investment

Is it for me?

A company must be incorporated/registered to apply. The EIT Health Headstart Funding Programme is suitable for micro and small enterprises (according to the EU SME definition) spin-offs, and start-ups that have a well-developed prototype and are ready to launch a product. In rare circumstances not-yet-incorporated companies may apply, however they must be incorporated upon selection. Ideal applicants have an estimated company valuation of  less than €1 million. Applicants above this valuation are more suitable for SCALE! programmes.


  • The project or product must be within the scope of the main challenges in EIT Health: Healthy Living, Active Ageing, and Improved Healthcare.
  • The applicant(s) or company must own or have rights to the intellectual property that is the basis for the project or product (if applicable).
  • The project or product has to be at least at technical readiness level (TRL) 4.
  • Companies that apply for this funding should be seeking to develop projects that fit the overall EIT Health objectives of healthy living, active ageing and improved health care. In addition they should be geared toward EIT Health’s Focus Areas:

    • Towards holistic care pathways
    • Creating the enabling environment for healthcare transformation
    • Harnessing the power of real-world data (RWD)
    • Bringing care home
    • From the workplace to the health place: employer leadership in improving health
    • Fostering healthy lives by introducing behavioural change.

Important dates

Application opens:  January 2020
Submission deadline: 16 March 2020
Project grant agreement signatures: Dependent on selection, expected June-September 2020
Grant attribution (total budget): Dependent on selection, expected August-October 2020
Intermediate report: Required before 31 December 2020
Final report: Required at the end of the project

About the funding

A maximum EIT Health contribution of €50 000 can be requested by each start-up or SME. The funding is non-dilutive. It must be spent according to Horizon 2020 guidelines. The funding may be used for any activity necessary and relevant to reach the project’s objectives but cannot be used for pure basic research activities.

How to apply

Applications are submitted through the EIT Health Optimy Registration platform. 

Applications will open in January 2020.

Eligibility requirements

  • Applications should only be submitted to one EIT Health region.
  • Applications should only be submitted to the region the applicant self-identifies with. EIT Health regional distribution information can be found in section 10.
  • The regional Director and EIT Health Headquarters (KIC LE) are entitled to have the final decision in any disputes.
  • Applicants are only allowed to participate in one of the following programmes, either EHC or Headstart Programme.