We are here to help! EIT Health Germany Partner Satisfaction Survey 2018

Here at EIT Health Germany we are all ambassadors of the EIT Health mission. That means providing our partners with the best support possible at any touchpoint they may have with EIT Health to help them benefit from this unique, pan-European network.

And although this sounds simple and pretty straightforward, we are always keen to hear our partners‘ views on their experience of and the degree of satisfaction with the support provided by the German CLC, especially our dedicated proposal support offerings during the annual EIT Health Call for Proposals. Thus, in 2018 – as in previous years – we again commissioned a partner satisfaction survey amongst the EIT Health Germany partnership.

With the successful proposal from the BP2019 call kicking off right now, we felt it is about time to reveal the outcome; not just to show you what others think of the support the German CLC provides but also to help you make the right decision and come and see us with your proposal for the next BP2020 call.

The survey comprised four main elements: 1. Motivation to join the EIT Health network; 2. Satisfaction with German CLC support; 3. Value of the EIT Health network; 4. Areas for improvement.

Collaborating across borders for a healthier Europe is the main motivation for membership

Unequivocally, the main driver for all EIT Health Germany partners to join the EIT Health network as core or associate partner is to work together with others to improve healthcare in Europe and thus create a sustainable and resilient European healthcare system of tomorrow. Other drivers are the access to our network itself, our European focus, our unique position in the innovation value chain, and naturally the access to funds.

  1. EIT Health has the network: To a large number of partners EIT Health is the perfect platform to tackle the rising challenges in European healthcare in a broader approach. Many partners emphasised the benefits of being able to speak freely with potential collaborators (and even competitors!) under the EIT Health umbrella. The usual compliance issues are not present and thus not an impediment to holding bilateral conversations as both partners belong to the EIT Health network which is governed by universal rules and frameworks adopted by all partners upon joining the network.
  2. EIT Health ensures a European focus: Many partners see their engagement in the EIT Health network as a consequence of the complete alignment of partners’ and EIT Health’s vision, mission and major goals. The perfect match in terms of strategic thinking is what attracts a large number of partners. One of the main goals is to actively advance ideas and develop products to improve medical care and thereby help European citizens.
  3. EIT Health occupies a unique position within the innovation value chain: Another reason for partners to be part of the EIT Health network is the unique position that EIT Health holds: EIT Health occupies the niche between proof of concept and finished product. Many partners follow a similar path and welcome the support available within EIT Health to support the development of products and services at a decisive stage in the development process, which accelerates the route to market for innovative products and services.
  4. EIT Health gives access to funds: In addition to the opportunity to increase their collaboration with European partners, for a great number of partners the opportunity to access additional funds remains an important motivation. Hereby it is not necessarily the funding itself, but rather the diligent process with which EIT Health selects its projects from the submissions, that give partners the opportunity to subsequently leverage EIT Health funding (and approval) for access to scarce internal funding.

Partners are very happy with the German CLC’s work

Most partners value participation in EIT Health’s call process highly and their satisfaction with the support available from the German CLC is high. More than half of all surveyed members used one or more services (proposal writing, hearing training, external consultants) prior to submitting their proposal. Most partners reported that their proposal was significantly improved after availing themselves of the proposal writing support by the German CLC; and stated that they gained valuable insights from the hearing training sessions provided as preparation for their final pitch. Additionally, the input from external consultants supporting the German CLC team during the proposal writing and the hearing training was highly appreciated by most partners.

Partners are also very satisfied with their direct and indirect contact and communication with the German CLC. They particularly value the incredible accessibility/availability of the team including outside of usual office hours, as well as the prompt responses received during the proposal submission period. Some partners highlighted their amazement at the extent and scope of CLC support and the personal commitment of the staff. This attitude often exceeds partners’ expectations and result in high scores for the performance of the German CLC.

Partners derive value from EIT Health’s network and activities in different ways

Scientific partners indicated that they derive great value from connecting and working within the EIT Health network – around 70% stated that they benefit greatly from networking aspects offered by EIT Health (especially through facilitated matchmaking with other scientific partners, but also business and industrial partners). The majority of industrial partners is still reluctant to engage somewhat, however, and do not yet value networking aspects of EIT Health’s activities as highly as scientific and research partners. A mismatch between the high expectations by scientific partners on the one side and a significantly lower ability to commit resources on the side of the industry partners due to often not very well-defined requests was identified as a major sticking point for this. Some industrial partners (especially during the matchmaking phase) reported being confronted with high expectations from potential partners, which they were afraid of not being able to meet. This is an important learning and gives us the tasks to intensify our communication to the various groups and provide information on what a constitutes well-defined request or need.

A small yet sufficiently large group of partners further indicated that they gain additional value from networking within EIT Health to initiate and build consortiums for non-EIT Health projects. This is exciting news and we invite you to share these stories with us.

Even ‘great’ can get better!

Although the overall outcome of the survey is incredibly positive,partners mentioned a few topics which would make their experience even better. And since we keen on doing everything possible to turn ‘great’ into ‘best’, we will tackle these challenges either through tweaking our own processes where necessary or through liaising with our head office for those issues where we need their help (such as improving the usability of our tools). Challenges arising from having to deal with short project timelines and partner availability during project ideation/initiation are issues that we will need to address together as a team: you and your teams, together with us and our teams here in the CLC and the head office.

As a CLC, we specifically will

  • Maintain our proposal writing support level and keep offering our specific hearing training
  • Keep sustained involvement with external consultants
  • Foster exchange with other CLCs to initiate more international projects
  • Intensify our efforts to facilitate interaction between partners and start-ups
  • Continue to proactively address partner issues as and when they arise
  • Streamline the application process for new partners and project leads through provision of templates and guidance documents
  • Find new ways to stimulate higher participation of industrial partners, e.g., through enhancing the matchmaking experience for them

These are ambitious plans, but we love a good challenge.

We are grateful to all partners who participated in this survey for giving us credit for the for the work we do, and to help us improve our work as ambassadors of the EIT Health mission.

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