Published: 01-02-2022 08:56 | Updated: 01-02-2022 11:29

KI researchers awarded first EIC grants

Two Karolinska Institutet researchers are part of projects awarded grants from the European Innovation Council (EIC), marking KI’s first contribution from this EU funding program since its launch last March. The researchers will receive a total of close to 1.15 million euros (11.8 million Swedish kronor) that will go toward research projects on epilepsy and chip-based nanoscopy.

The fully-fledged European Innovation Council launched in March 2021 with the ambition to identify, develop and scale up breakthrough technologies and game-changing innovations. It is split into four different but linked funding schemes to support innovations throughout their lifecycle; from early-stage research, to proof of concept, technology transfer, and the financing and scale up of start-ups and SMEs.

EIC Pathfinder

Onur Parlak
Assistant Professor Onur Parlak. Photo: Magdalena Lindén.

Assistant Professor Onur Parlak, at the Department of Medicine, Solna, will receive close to EUR1 million as part of a EUR3.7 million project on epilepsy coordinated from Portugal. The project is one of 56 selected to receive the first financing from the Pathfinder program, which is EIC’s fund for early-stage development of future technologies.

“In this multidisciplinary project, we will develop a wearable epidermal bioelectronic device to continuously measure some key biomarkers directly from the skin to predict epileptic seizures before they happen,” says Onur Parlak, who works closely with clinicians on developing medical sensors from his own KI lab. “At KI, we will also seek to develop preventive methods.”

EIC Transition

Professor Ganesh Acharya. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman
Professor Ganesh Acharya. Photo: Stefan Zimmerman.

Professor Ganesh Acharya, at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology, will receive EUR150,000 as part of a EUR2.5 million grant awarded from EIC Transition and coordinated from Norway by Professor Balpreet Singh Ahluwalia, who is also an affiliated researcher at KI. This program supports innovations that are ready to be validated in the lab and application-relevant environments and move toward future commercialisation. It can essentially serve as follow-on funding to projects supported by EIC Pathfinder, European Research Council Proof of Concept, or the former EU grant program Future and Emerging Technologies (FET).

“The aim of this project is to provide a new high-throughput imaging platform equipped with an affordable optical nanoscope that can deliver super-resolution imaging with a large field of view,” says Ganesh Acharya, who is also head of the Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at CLINTEC. “At KI, we will use placental tissue samples obtained after childbirth to validate this new imaging technology and investigate whether it could facilitate and improve the histopathological diagnosis of placental disorders, such as preeclampsia.”

Upcoming EIC funding calls

Preliminary deadlines for the next rounds of EIC funding applications:

  • EIC Transition: May 3, June 29, and September 28
  • EIC Pathfinder Open: May 4
  • EIC Pathfinder Challenges: October 19