Germany promotes interactive healthcare technology

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has announced the start of a EUR 350 million research grant program to support interactive technology for healthcare, nursing, and improved quality of life. The measure will provide EUR 70 million annually during the next five years.

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At the launch of Miteinander durch Innovation (Together through Innovation) in December, German Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek said, "The corona pandemic has clearly shown how helpful new technologies are for our coexistence. … in the coming years we will promote research into interactive technologies."

In her presentation Karliczek elaborated: "It's about technology that is able to create proximity over distance. It is precisely during the difficult times of the pandemic that we have clearly felt that we need innovative solutions from research. Projects aimed at improving healthcare and nursing will be the emphasis."

Calls for applications have already been posted for research into "hybrid interaction systems for health maintenance, including in exceptional situations." The technological solutions being promoted are those that in crises could replace personal interaction in the provision of health care in the short term and enhance it into the future, with the primary aim being to develop contactless healthcare applications and interactive technologies.

The program is embedded within the German government's High-Tech Strategy 2025. According to the BMBF, the new plan will build upon the experience gained in the previous support program called "Bringing Technology to the People – Research for Human-Technological-Interaction."

With this latest support, the German government is furthering its past promotion of innovation in healthcare. In a recent article,  Germany – Country of Innovation, the Research Minister noted that the country was close to achieving the spending target of 3.5% of GDP on research and innovation by 2025. What is more, using the development BioNTech vaccine as a model, she describes the international openness of the German government in promoting the development of medical innovation.

The Export Initiative for the German Healthcare Industry, HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY, is a key contact for anyone interested in research funding and other programs to promote technological advances in medicine and healthcare in Germany. The initiative has experts in a range of fields who are, among other things, knowledgeable of industry structures, German regulatory and insurance frameworks, and research funding environments.

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