EKFZ for Digital Health: 20 million euros approved for second funding period

After successful interim evaluation, the Else Kröner Fresenius Foundation (EKFS) approves the second funding period for the Dresden Research Center to establish innovative training structures, promote interdisciplinary cooperation and expand a unique research landscape.
Else Kröner Fresenius Zentrum für Digitale Gesundheit: zweite Förderperiode

Continuing the successful path
Four years after the establishment of the Else Kröner Fresenius Center for Digital Health in 2019 at the TU Dresden and the Dresden University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, the EKFS Foundation Board and a panel of external experts were on site for an interim review. The very positive vote of the experts led to the foundation's decision. The EKFS approves a further 20 million euros for another five years. "The whole team is delighted that the foundation has approved further funding for our center. The generous financial support of the EKFS enables us to promote scientific excellence. We will take the constructive advice of the reviewers into account as best we can in the next round of funding and continue our dynamic development. Our goal is clear: We want to fully exploit the potential of digitization in medicine to significantly and sustainably improve healthcare, medical research and clinical practice," said Prof. Dr. Jochen Hampe, spokesperson of the EKFZ for Digital Health. "With the establishment of the Center for Digital Health in Dresden, the Else Kröner Fresenius Foundation has chosen an upcoming field at an upcoming location. This decision was the right one. By continuing to fund the EKFZ for Digital Health in Dresden, we now want to further strengthen the international relevance of the research center," emphasizes Prof. Dr. Michael Madeja, Chairman of the Board of the Else Kröner Fresenius Foundation.

Many minds – one team
This year, the interim review took place at the same day as the EKFZ | InnoDays. The center's annual event focused on the newly appointed professors, the dedicated project teams and the young scientists. All Else Kröner Professors occupy a unique research topic in the German research landscape in the field of digital health research and attract new, international talent to the Saxon state capital. Stephen Gilbert, Jakob N. Kather and Ivan Minev provided informative insights into their research areas and their visions for the coming years: from regulatory challenges for software and AI in medical devices, to the benefits of AI in clinical practice, to bioelectronics, to nanotechnology-enabled medical systems. In addition, Dr. Nora Martens, Clinician Scientist, explained how the EKFZ for Digital Health supports and trains young scientists from the undergraduate to the postdoc phase: "The goal is to train a new generation of physicians and engineers who understand interdisciplinary collaboration from the very beginning. In this way, we build a bridge from medicine to the technical disciplines, which is essential for future medical research."

Innovative research projects on the campus of the Dresden University Medical Center
Interdisciplinary Innovation Projects (IIPs) are the EKFZ's most successful tool for promoting interdisciplinary interactions and productive research to meet medical needs. 32 IIPs have benefited from this support to date. The special feature of the IIPs is that an experienced clinician and a high-tech specialist always work together on one topic. This successful funding instrument is a starting point from which many innovative ideas have emerged that later became third-party-funded large projects. For the interim review, numerous IIP teams presented their demonstrators and prototypes. The interactive exhibition gave visitors, reviewers and representatives of the ECFS the opportunity to experience and test various exhibits live. They gained a comprehensive insight into medical technology innovations and the latest trends in digital health.

"The EKFZ in the middle of the campus of the Dresden University Medical Center is connected with all areas of the university hospital, as practical relevance and patient orientation are the focus of our work. Thanks to the generous support of the Else Kröner-Fresenius Foundation, the Faculty of Medicine and the University Hospital can set standards in patient-oriented research on digital medicine. The goal is the first truly integrated eHealth campus at a university hospital," emphasized Prof. Michael Albrecht, Medical Director of Dresden University Hospital. Prof. Esther Troost, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, also sees the enormous potential of the center for the further development of the excellent research location at the TU Dresden: "The EKFZ allows the researchers creative freedom and opens doors beyond their respective specialties. EKFZ, UKD and MFD are already shaping innovative and patient-oriented research with strong regional and national partners from science and industry. This productive collaboration between all participants shows the innovative potential of tomorrow's medicine."

Else Kröner Fresenius Foundation (EKFS) – Advancing Research. Helping people.
The non-profit foundation is dedicated to advancing medical research and humanitarian projects. To date, the foundation has supported around 2.400 projects. With an annual funding volume of currently more than 60 million euros, it is Germany's largest foundation supporting medicine. For further information, please visit: www.ekfs.de/en.

Else Kröner Fresenius Center for Digital Health
The EKFZ for Digital Health at TU Dresden was established in September 2019. It receives funding of around 40 million euros from the Else Kröner Fresenius Foundation for a period of ten years. The center focuses its research activities on innovative, medical and digital technologies at the direct interface with patients. The aim here is to fully exploit the potential of digitization in medicine to significantly and sustainably improve healthcare, medical research and clinical practice.

Anja Stübner
EKFZ for Digital Health
Public Relations
Tel.: +49 351 458-11379

Bianka Jerke
Else Kröner Fresenius Foundation
Public Relations
Tel.: +49 6172 8975-24