D-CARE Developing, piloting and validating smart care models in Danube region for supporting social innovation, improving competences and entrepreneurship

Innovation Contest 2021

D-CARE Innovation Contest

Innovative mastermind? Experienced health care expert? Passionate about sustainable societal impact? –  WE WANT YOU!

The Danube Region is looking for innovative solutions and engaged individuals to tackle our most pressing challenges in the health and care area. Demographic change, a lack of qualified personnel and insufficient services particularly in rural areas have put a strain on the Danube region’s health care systems. With our innovation programme we want to engage innovators that tackle the most important regional challenges (link) together with their end users and our experts from businesses, academia, and the public sector to develop effective, fitting, and cross-sectoral products and services.

Therefore, we are excited to launch our innovation contest and are looking forward to your solutions, from ideas to market ready products!

The innovation contest is open to organisations and individuals from the private and public sector whose products and ideas focus on smart health and care solutions.

Each of our Innovation Contest regions has set a regional focus for which they are seeking applications:

  • Romania
    In Romania, the focus is on improving quality of life of older adults with medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, coronary heart disease, dementia) and social conditions (e.g., depression, loneliness, cognitive decline). Expected solutions are assistive solutions for senior care facilities, disease management for hospitals, nutrition and medication, alert, and emergency systems (IoT, AI), increased access to socio-medical services from remote areas, virtual nursing and doctors, memory training apps or VR solutions to interact with objects, prediction and alert solutions, and also oncological patient management therapies.
  • Hungary
    In Hungary the most pressing issues are social isolations, including loneliness, as well as cognitive decline, 1st and 2nd stage dementia. Solutions sought after should directly help assisted and independent living of elderly people (65+). Digital solutions helping the administration load of caregivers especially in homecare. Alert and emergency systems for home care and elderly care homes. More easy and simple solutions are also welcome, which help the everyday life of elders, that can be easily developed and produced by local companies. Solutions for preventing cognitive decline are required as well.
  • Czech Republic
    In Czechia, diabetes, mobility impairments, hearing impairments, palliation care are the selected medical conditions which are challenging in the region. Loneliness, poor quality of life and cognitive decline are the psychological and social conditions to be improved. Solutions sought after are nutrition and diabetes and gluten-free diet (production efficiency, diversity, and choice, measuring of health impact) products,  the reduction of social and healthcare medium- and long-term costs, waste and energy management, economic efficiency), fall prevention, automated or semi-automated emergency systems (nurse-patient system, smart bed solutions), Telemedicine, AAL (assisted technologies, prevention, monitoring), Volunteer engagement management, digital assistants, and digital education (Digital skills, other competences - languages).
  • Slovenia
    For Slovenia, those solutions are required, which help older adults living home alone, unable to self-care; residential care homes; older adults with different types of diseases like dementia, Alzheimer, heart diseases, diabetes, frailty. Also, depression, loneliness, cognitive decline, inability to use e-services. Solutions sought after are digital assisted solutions for older adults which living home alone at minimum least half the day; digital assisted solutions and ICT for senior home; reducing social and healthcare medium- and long-term costs; solutions to facilitate the use of services among the elderly of the national e-health / e-zdravje portal; digital education (digital skills, use of the smart care applications).
  • Germany
    In Germany, one of the main challenges is to harmonise and scale up existing solutions that have remained on a pilot or isolated level. Therefore, the contest focuses scouts both ambient assisted living solutions for smart homes as well as pre-eminently integrative solutions which can combine existing tools to work together and enhance compatibilities along the entire care cycle for both older adults living at home but also potential use in care facilities.
  • Bulgaria
    The focus in Bulgaria lies on improving social inclusivity and community for older adults who are unable to self-care and/or have fallen into isolation due to their remote place of residence. Solutions should provide digital means to engage older adults, help them to acquire digital skills and use the tools to directly improve their daily living conditions.
  • Austria
    In Austria, solutions are sought that target several aspects of the daily lives of older adults with frailty and living isolated either in their remote homes or care facilities. Services and products shall focus on improving social inclusion, engage older adults in the community and prevent accidents at home, monitor medical conditions and alert in case of emergencies. These tools and solutions should be designed to be rolled out on a large scale to reduce healthcare and social costs in the long term with a rising number of older adults in need of care services.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the current capacities for health care for older adults are lacking which can be drastically improved by advancing the digitalisation of health and care services. This is intended to be tackled by implementing digitally based products and services that focus on physical therapy and rehabilitation as well as ambient assisted living solutions in the context of smart homes. The solutions should be fit to be rolled out on a large-scale level and thereby increase the available capacities of care services and reduce costs in the long term by preventing physical decline and accidents.

What you gain?

  • Access to an exceptional transnational network of stakeholders from relevant businesses including potential investors, academia, administration, and end users. This network extends beyond the national context to eight countries over the whole Danube region.
  • The D-CARE Innovation Prize as a recognition of the innovativeness and excellence of your innovation to the region is awarded to the best applications.
  • Advice and counselling from our experts to boost your future impact.
  • Engage in a co-creation process with end users and pilot your product or service in a real-life environment.

Who are we looking for?

Whether you are an individual or a company, you have just had THE idea or already developed a prototype, you are welcome to apply with your solution to revolutionize health and care in the Danube region.

To us, it is important that you care about the issues at hand and are motivated to develop your product in close cooperation with your users. This of course requires some general expertise on your side in the area as well as a second thought about how you are going to implement the co-creation and pilot phase. If that’s all settled, cross-check our detailed eligibility requirements (link) and off you go with your application.

How to apply?

You can apply for the Innovation Contest completely online. To successfully apply, you need to:

  • fill in our Online Application Form and
  • upload a pitch deck (PDF files only) and/or a video pitch presenting your solution

until January 31, 2022. If you have questions regarding the application you can find detailed instructions in our Guide for Applicants or by clicking on the „i“-information-icons in the application form.

For more details on the country specific topics/innovation prizes you can see our detailed analysis table here. All regulatory details are elaborated in the Innovation Programme Regulation and the Terms of Reference (link following shortly).

To access additional documents available for the participating countries click below:

In case of further questions, we are always happy to help.

Your contacts: 

Máté Csukás

Teresa Zauner

We are looking forward to YOUR ideas!


Programme co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)