The Europe-wide INNOVEIT tour will make its next stop in Paris on 21 September 2022 to mobilise the EIT’s innovation ecosystem and tackle the biggest challenges in healthcare today and the future. INNOVEIT Paris will be a chance for participants from across the EU innovation and policy making worlds to showcase the unprecedented wave of initiatives adopted to fight pandemics.
Lisa Shaw-Marotto, Chairwoman of the EIT Health supervisory board, has joined us for an interview to present the valuable services EIT Health provides the EU start-up world and promote more resilient and responsive healthcare systems in the face of current pandemics and the pandemics to come.
EIT: You are the Chairwoman of the EIT Health supervisory board. How would you explain what you do to an industry outsider?
Lisa Shaw-Marotto: I would say that the supervisory board is one of three governance bodies for EIT Health. There’s the partner assembly, the supervisory board, and the strategic management team. The main role of the supervisory board is to supervise the management team.
Now, my role as the Chairwoman of the supervisory board is to make sure that we’re discussing the right topics, and to ensure that we’re doing that effectively.
EIT: The ongoing COVID-19 and the recent monkeypox pandemic have made vaccines a hot topic. What have you learned from these recent challenges?
Lisa Shaw-Marotto: The COVID-19 pandemic, the monkeypox pandemic, and now the re-emergence of polio in some countries, where it had been eradicated, provide a constant reminder that society needs to remain vigilant and agile, both in emergency preparedness and in having well-established pathways for access and administration to the needed preventative vaccines.
EIT: Biotech is a very R&D-heavy industry. Novel R&D results should ideally go hand in hand with intellectual property protection. Is IP protection important in biotech?
Lisa Shaw-Marotto: Absolutely. In short: yes. Having worked in the industry for many decades and personally witnessing the level of investment needed to bring innovative solutions to the market, IP protection is vital. With it, and with a successful development plan, the industry has the best possibility of recouping its investment and, of course, continuing the investment cycle to help meet other societal needs.
EIT: You are a female leader. Today, still, women are underrepresented in executive positions and the STEM fields in general. Have you seen any change in the past few years?
Lisa Shaw-Marotto: Well first, I agree that women are underrepresented in executive positions, though I have seen some improvements over the last few years. For example, our own supervisory board has four extremely talented women (and excuse me for including myself in that) with one as the Chairwoman, one as the Vice Chair, and still another as the Chair of our finance committee. The focus on women in STEM fields and in executive positions will be helped along by the EU Gender Equality Strategy. But really, it’s on all of us to do our part to ensure that we’re seeking out our female colleagues for appropriate executive positions.
EIT: How does EIT Health help start-ups with finding customers, partners, or investors? And how does it help them in further developing their ventures?
Lisa Shaw-Marotto: An easier question might be: is there any area in which start-ups are not supported? Honestly, I could go on forever about this. Perhaps it’s better for me to suggest a visit to the EIT Health website.
On the homepage, navigate to the “What We Do” category, and you can select to filter our programmes by the subcategory of start-ups. There you will see descriptions of the many programmes that support start-ups from developing entrepreneurial skills, to the creation of a start-up, to the scale up of a start-up to commercial success. Check out as an example the Venture Centre of Excellence, Gold Track, Wild Card, and Bridgehead, just to name a few of our programmes. All of them leverage our extensive networks of health partners as well as coordination with other EU programmes in this area.
EIT: What outcomes are you hoping for from the INNOVEIT Paris event?
Lisa Shaw-Marotto: The outcome I’m most hoping for from the Paris INNOVEIT event is that as a result of the over six hundred participants attending, meeting with colleagues and building stronger networks will enhance the sustainability of pan-European health systems. This, in turn, will better prepare us to anticipate and hopefully avoid the worst consequences of public healthcare threats that we seem to be facing with increasing frequency.
Want to hear more about how we can avoid healthcare threats?
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