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.

Download the document below for full details.

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: 11 January 2019
  • Submission deadline: 27 March 2019
  • Second application cutoff in Belgium/Netherlands: 12 September 2019 
  • Second application cutoff in Germany/Switzerland: 12 September 2019
  • Project grant agreement signatures: Dependent on selection, expected June-September 2019
  • Grant attribution (total budget): Dependent on selection, expected August-October 2019
  • Intermediate report: Required before 31 December 2019
  • 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 project must begin before November 2019 and the maximum duration of a project is 12 months from the date that the sub granting Agreement is signed. 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. Incomplete submissions, late submissions, or submissions via any other routes (e.g. email) will not be accepted.
  • Applications must be in English.
  • Additional information may be attached to the application. This may include graphs or video links (maximum three minutes’ duration in English language or with English subtitles). Please be aware that the reviewers may not consider these attachments as basis for their evaluation.
  • An existing relationship between the start-up and EIT Health must be established before the application submission. herefore applications must be accompanied by a letter confirming this relationship. This letter must be provided by an EIT Health partner or the CLC BCM from the region the applicant is applying to. The letter serves to confirm a relationship to the EIT Health network and does not constitute endorsement or serve as a certification of validity/eligibility. Please consult your regional BCM to discuss this point if no previous relationship exists through an EIT Health partner. See the list of EIT Health Partners here.

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.

Regional selection specifics

  • Belgian/Netherlands CLC Applicants: second cut-off date in September
  • German/Swiss CLC Applicants: second cut-off date 12 September 2019
  • Scandinavian CLC Applicants: Written feedback from evaluators will only be provided anonymously and upon request.
  • Spanish CLC Applicants: Grant up to €40 000 for their selected start-ups. Winners of the grant will be invited to pitch their project plan to a jury panel and compete for an additional €10 000 grant at the end of the year.
  • French CLC Applicants: Grant up to €40 000 for their selected start-ups. Winners of the grant will be invited to pitch their project plan to a jury panel and compete for an additional €10 000 grant at the end of the year.
  • UK/Ireland CLC Applicants: No additional directions for applicants in this node.
  • Innostar CLC Applicants: No additional directions for applicants in this node.