Health Innovation Fellowship

If you want to make a difference in healthcare innovation, BENEFIT is the programme for you!

The BENEFIT Fellowship is a one-year programme for postgraduates with a background in business, engineering, medicine and design, situated in Belgium and The Netherlands.

The programme brings together trainings in innovation and entrepreneurship in a real life clinical setting following the Biodesign methodology. Biodesign has been developed by Stanford University, and is now a global phenomenon leading to successful healthcare innovations around the world.

Fellows will work in interdisciplinary teams to investigate and develop solutions for real clinical needs. The teams are coached by experts in business, medicine, design and engineering and will experience a full innovation cycle from need to implementation.

During the programme, teams will focus on one clinical area. During a 2-month full-time clinical immersion, teams will systematically identify all innovation needs in this area. The most pressing need is selected to develop a solution to bring to the market.

Do read our blogpost: What kind of Solutions do fellows develop?

General programme overview

The fellowship programme starts with an innovation bootcamp, training the fellows in the Biodesign methodology and equipping them with knowledge and tools in innovation, entrepreneurship, technology, design and healthcare systems and organisation. Afterwards, the teams will experience a full innovation cycle starting with an identification phase in a clinical immersion to identify the most pressing clinical need, followed by invention and implementation phases.


    Programme phases

    0. Bootcamp

    This 4-week full-time training focuses on the Biodesign methodology, innovation, business and entrepreneurship, healthcare systems and organisation, design thinking and lean start-up.
    Team building is a second important part of the bootcamp, leading to successful collaboration and co-creation.

    In detail:

    • Team building mapping the complementary knowledge and skills of the interdisciplinary fellows
    • Lectures in business, healthcare and design thinking
    • Healthcare staff from the clinical departments introduce various medical aspects relevant to the clinical field of phase I
    • Tools acquisition to succeed in phase I


    Clinical Immersion & Needs selection

    The fellows will be present at one of the clinical immersion sites full time for about 4 to 6 weeks and observe all the activities.

    • Immersion into the clinical practices, observing patients, medical teams, their interactions and their contacts
    • Identification of real unmet clinical needs with the aim to develop a medical solution later on
    • Mentoring and coaching throughout this process
    • Feedback to the hosting departments

    Based on these observations the teams will identify all the needs for innovation leading to an extensive need-report.
    Based on the need-report, teams will start to systematically identify the most pressing and promising need.

    In detail:

    • Translate observations into validated needs (typically ±200)
    • Needs filtering: perform various rounds of need research and screening to reduce validated needs (down to typically ±50 and then to ±8)
    • Interaction with healthcare experts and entrepreneurs to obtain feedback


    Concept development & screening

    Based on needs filtering the teams will identify the most pressing and promising need to develop a solution for.

    In detail:

    • Concept generation: generate solution ideas, identify gaps and opportunities
    • Initial concept selection and screening: concept development and elimination of high risk concepts
    • Interaction with healthcare experts and entrepreneurs to obtain feedback
    • Create an implementation plan


    Strategy development & Business planning

    Weekly sessions and coaching support the teams to design, build, test and implement a successful healthcare solution prior to their Graduation.

    In detail:

    • Begin the implementation plan of the team's leading concept
    • Developing first solutions or prototypes
    • Interview potential users
    • Develop R&D strategy and early testing plans
    • Develop a business model
    • Create a plan of operation and a financial model, including funding requirements
    • Present the project to the community

    Outline programme 2021-2022

    The programme will start with local introduction days on 16 and 17 September 2021. Bootcamp will start on 20 September 2021 and the first teams are expected to finish at the end of May 2022. Graduation is foreseen for the beginning of June 2022 with clinical immersions currently foreseen before the end of 2021.
    Teams are currently expected to be hosted by the Oncology Day Ward (University Hospitals Leuven, Leuven, Belgium) and the General Practice (Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands) from October to December 2021.
    This outline was updated on 28 July 2021.

    We are working hard on the curriculum and will update the website as soon as possible.
    Also have a look at our Who's who page which we launched on 21 May 2021?
    Feel free to check our FAQs for more information or leave your contact details if you want to be kept informed.


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