Effective ignition program to promote seed projects and start-ups in the health sector, transforming innovative ideas into business ventures and value creation.
In the last decade, Portugal invested significantly in R&D, which was followed by complementary measures in the areas of technology transfer and entrepreneurship. As a result, progress metrics such as the number of PhDs, patents and new technology based companies registered significant improvements. However, according to the Innovation Barometer COTEC 2014, the final results fell short of the expectations, as measured by economic impact and innovation. The missing link in this inconsistency, also known as the ""valley of death"", relates to obstacles in the transition from an existing or emerging technology to the creation of a compelling new market-driven business. The Program’s vision is to overcome these obstacles, supporting the progress of knowledge from the laboratory bench to the point where it provides the basis of a commercially successful business.

RESOLVE briefly consists of these actions:
- Select seed and technology-based projects in the health sector of the North of Portugal;
- Provide the selected projects with targeted support, maximizing their consolidation and commercial potential, namely through: End-users Forums, Validation of Prototypes and Proofs-of-Concept, Fast Track for Clinical Studies, Meeting with Investors, among others.

The main stakeholders are University, research labs and companies and the main beneficiaries are projects and start-ups in the health sector.

Resources needed

The amount of financial resources depends on the number of projects to be supported and after their implementation the need decreases. A 700k fund for 2 years for the project’s execution.
But roughly, there’s 1 to 2,5 full-time people (to support max. 8 projects at the same time).

Evidence of success

So far, within only 2 years, there’s several successful hallmarks:
16 projects were raised and supported;
3 spin offs have been concluded;
7 new patents were successfully inscribed within Resolve's projects.

Difficulties encountered

The financial sustainability is the main barrier, mostly because these programs receive public funds and it’s sustainable development is complex.
Within a portuguese scenario, there’s some hardship on getting a health specialized venture capital with an adequate ticket for these projects.

Potential for learning or transfer

This program was basically implemented considering the existing gaps on the innovation and entrepreneurship system, on an health focused international level.
The problems you can find on this context are common on other european countries’ background and therefore possible to be transferred as potential solutions. Some of them are: funds for proof concepts and legislative support, and these are common needs to others sectors, besides just health.
The call for projects might be interesting for other regions because it is a new and innovative supporting instrument for start-ups and projects. The fact that the applicants develop their projects with the guidance and support of MBAs and investors ensures a high level of quality of the business plans and therefore of the participating start-ups.

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Main institution
i3S - Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde da Universidade do Porto
Norte, Portugal
Start Date
May 2016
End Date


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