A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for. Please reach out!
The Biodesign innovation process was originally developed by Stanford University which founded it on “the belief that innovation is a process that can be learned, practiced, and perfected. It’s hard work, takes lots of time, and requires multidisciplinary teamwork, but it’s not magic.”
The Biodesign process has since become a global phenomenon, active in e.g. Asia, Australia and Europe. BENEFIT is part of the EIT Health Needs-led Innovation Fellowships project which is supported by EIT Health - the network of best-in-class health innovators backed by the EU. Needs-Led Innovation Fellowships (NIFs) in that project actively target the key challenges in healthcare.
It is no longer possible to apply for the inaugural edition. If you wish to contribute to the programme in any way, you can describe your ideas by filling in the contact form, however. The About page gives a brief outline of the programme in 2021-2022 as well. The online bootcamp started in September 2021 and the clinical immersions run from October through December 2021 in Leuven or Rotterdam. The implementation phase is expected to run from January 2022 onwards. Graduation is foreseen at the beginning of June 2022.
The programme is designed to deal with the realities of the coronavirus crisis and we will update this answer as more information becomes available.
This answer was updated on 25 November 2021.
For the inaugural edition 2021-2022, we selected 8 fellows. Meet them on our Who's Who page.
- You will be trained at top notch European institutions, by leaders in health technology innovation.
- You will receive Biodesign innovation training and develop a validated healthcare solution within a real clinical setting.
- You will be coached by experts in health, innovation, technology, ...
- Your will create real impact with a health solution based on real needs within one year.
- You will build global connections thanks to our extensive Biodesign network in Europe and beyond.
- You will be able to expand your career opportunities or embark on new career adventures, unimaginable at the start of your journey.
- You will work in a real clinical setting full time for about two months, coached by experts in health and technology, and observe daily practices while you search for innovation needs.
- You will work in a highly skilled multidisciplinary team learning to understand each other’s views and complementary expertise. You will contribute your own strengths and skills to the team.
BENEFIT is the first programme of its kind in Belgium and the Netherlands. Here is how it differs from other programmes.
- the training you receive is experiential rather than theoretical: you will learn primarily by working on your project and interacting with experts rather than sitting in a classroom.
- this health innovation fellowship provides you with an overview of the early stages of the innovation process. From identification through clinical immersion and needs finding over invention and implementation planning, you will gain hands-on practice navigating critical risks and opportunities across a broad range of activities.
- the fellowship is interdisciplinary and team based. You will finetune your teamwork skills and learn from interacting with peers.
- the skills and connections you build are practical, targeted, and immediately applicable to a career in health technology innovation.
- the fellows earn a certificate rather than a diploma or degree.
- the fellowship does not work with ECTS-credits and does not require a graduation thesis.
Please do keep an eye on this website or sign up for our mailing list so that we can keep you informed about our activities and future calls for applications.
If you feel you fit the candidate profile and are excited about joining the programme, preparing a stellar motivation letter and updating your curriculum vitae is the best way forward.
There is no real need to prepare for the programme in any other way unless you feel you could benefit from improving your Dutch skills. If that is the case, this information from TU Delft and KU Leuven may be useful to you.
Definitely. The requirements will be listed on our application page when we launch a call for applications.
Yes. Visit the application page for further details when we launch a call for applications.
Yes. You will be responsible for arranging your own residence permit plus Schengen visa as required. Since our programme does not offer credits and does not fund you, you will need to arrange this independently although we are happy to send you a confirmation letter if you are selected as a fellow.
During the clinical immersions, the main language for interaction with patients and staff at the clinical immersion sites in Leuven and Rotterdam will be Dutch. That is why we list 'understand Dutch' as a requirement when we open the call for applications. If you do not know any Dutch, you can still apply but we ask you to explain how you think this will not hinder the rest of your team.
BENEFIT is offered free of charge since neither KU Leuven nor TU Delft will charge a tuition fee. For 2021, fellows are only expected to cover the costs for the programme and study materials as well as incidentals. Incidentals include the occasional travel and accommodation expenses to and from Belgium and the Netherlands, when required, but also meals and insurances when not covered by KU Leuven, TU Delft or Erasmus University Medical Centre.
In addition, we will provide administrative support to fellows who are applying for local or international grants that cover this training programme.
We are actively looking for partners interested in supporting the fellows financially and will update the website as soon as we have more news.
Meanwhile, we have compiled a non-exhaustive list of useful links that may be useful to cover your participation. If you have more suggestions, let us know via the contact form.
- Erasmus+ programme
- FAST - Funding for ambitious students from TU Delft
- Nuffic - the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education
- Overview list in Dutch for grants, prizes, interest free loans etc. on the KU Leuven Faculty of Medicine website (Belgium)
- Overview page in Dutch on the website of Erasmus University Rotterdam
- RVA in Belgium - overview of various forms of leaves of absence for professionals
- Wilweg (the Netherlands)
As we explained in this blog post, we do not steer you or your team members towards a solution in advance, nor do we have expectations towards your career path once you graduate. We post alumni stories on our blog to inspire you but - again - there is no preset path for you to take.
What we do know, however, is that we wish to stay in touch with you and other BENEFIT alumni through e.g. our Linkedin page and the EIT Health alumni platform.
The BENEFIT programme will train you and your team members in the Biodesign process of innovation from scratch. We will ask you to work on needs, solutions and technologies that you and your team members identify and invent together as part of the journey described on the About page.
As we explained in this blog post, we do not steer you or your team members towards a solution in advance.
While the skills you will learn during the BENEFIT health innovation fellowship may be useful for your project or project idea, you should not expect to be working on it as part of our training.
BENEFIT will provide information on funding as part of the fellowship programme but is not a funding programme.
For the inaugural edition of 2021, teams were assigned a main site for the clinical immersions. You can mark your preference as part of the application process. During the programme, our 2021 fellows are expected to travel to the ‘other site’ on occasion and cover the costs related to it.
Considering the various online communication options, we expect that we can leverage such experiences also during the coming years. It is difficult to assess in advance how often that will be but we realise that team dynamics and brainstorming are hard to be replaced by online activities.
This answer was updated on 25 November 2021.
While we will have a schedule set up by the start of the programme, you should know that meetings and sessions are scheduled (by us or your team members) as the needs arise so we cannot describe a typical day or week in advance.
In general, we ask you to be available on weekdays during the entire programme. During the clinical immersion, you should expect to be present onsite fulltime as well. Outside the clinical immersion, you will not have to be present full time but you will have to be available to follow sessions, meet with your team, conduct research, speak to experts, travel to the other site, …
We plan 2 weeks’ vacation during Christmas and one week for Easter. Dutch and Belgian holidays are observed too.
It is a team project and your team will come up with one joint solution. After the project has ended, however, it may be that all, none or only a few members are interested to turn the ideas into a real business and/or continue working towards a solution that will lead to patient impact. This is perfectly acceptable. In our blog you will find some alumni stories as examples as well as an explanation as to why we do not have preset expectations towards the solution.
Maarten and Armaĝan lead the educational programme and teach as well as coach you. BENEFIT relies on the expertise of other lecturers from the partner institutions as well as from other programmes within our network. Fellows have a team coach and receive coaching from other professionals, e.g. medical professionals during the clinical immersions. In addition, we will bring onboard experts who will share their experiences with you and give you advice.
We list everyone on the Who's who page which we launched on 21 May 2021.
Certainly, check our blog for alumni stories and links to the pages of the other networks. Many of our colleagues (e.g., Denmark, Ireland, Spain) list the current fellows and alumni on their websites.
Of course, each programme is different as are people's personal experiences. Since BENEFIT is the first programme that covers two countries, we are quite unique.