Wild Card Programme 2021- Now accepting applications

EIT Health calls on Europe’s innovators to revolutionise Eye & Vision Care and Pain Management.

EIT Health’s open innovation programme, Wild Card, opens today calling on Europe’s innovators to apply to help solve the challenges associated with eye and vision care and pain management.

Continuing its quest to break new ground in health by challenging the status quo in areas of high unmet need, the EIT Health Wild Card programme builds game-changing life science companies. Beginning with two challenges set by EIT Health, the annual Wild Card programme invites talented innovators, teams and individuals from across Europe to respond with their ideas or to put forward their skills and experience.

This year, EIT Health has partnered with leading industry experts from Essilor, for eye and vision care and Boston Scientific, for pain management, to connect innovators with key industry stakeholders and provide support in delivering innovations to the market.

Successful applicants will embark on the journey starting with forming and stress testing their teams and problem-solving. Teams will develop their business model with support of experts and mentors and pitch to secure their place in the final round. Shortlisted teams will continue the journey and pitch their solution to a panel of industry leaders, with two finally being selected to receive EIT Health’s support and investment of up to 1.5 million euros each over 24 months to incorporate their new companies in 2022.

The 2021 Wild Card challenges

Pain management and eye and vision care both represent under-innovated and underinvested healthcare challenges faced in Europe today.

The 2017 Global Burden of Disease Study ranked vision impairment, including blindness, as the third leading cause of years lived with disability. Globally, at least 2.2 billion people around the world have a vision impairment, from which, according to the World Health Organization, 80% could be prevented or cured.2 The eye and vision care challenge seeks ideas to help mitigate, prevent and cure eye conditions and vision impairment.

The pain management challenge is seeking solutions to alleviate acute and chronic pain conditions. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2016 reaffirmed that the high prominence of pain and pain-related diseases is the leading cause of disability and disease burden. Globally, it has been estimated that one in five adults are diagnosed with chronic pain each year. The pain management challenge seeks to find ways to correctly assess and treat pain in its various forms and support patients who are living with chronic pain.

To find out more about the EIT Health Wild Card programme and apply, please visit