Since 2015, Essilor has been a member of EIT Health, a community of EU-backed health innovators. In partnership with 150 members from universities, research centers, companies, associations, and local authorities, the goal is to drive innovation in healthcare, gather ideas developed by young upcoming entrepreneurs as well as inspire new innovation methods in higher education. EIT Health is organized around three major pillars: Innovation, Education and Business creation.
Every year, EIT Health members are invited to put forward proposals for collaborative projects submitted for selection and evaluation. The selected projects will then be funded for deployment the following year. The general philosophy of all EIT Health projects can be expressed by: “Health innovation based on needs is essential to generate true transformation in the lives of patients and citizens. How can we create innovation that meets the needs of society today while ensuring the future for tomorrow?”
Amongst EIT Health’s ongoing projects, the “Innovation Days” (i-Days) program is the largest in Europe and its last edition, student volunteers from 31 European cities took part in locally organized events held between October and November, to brainstorm on solutions and concepts for assigned challenges. Training in design thinking and pitching were offered as part of the program.
For the first time, Essilor partnered with the Innovation Days program and set challenges for students in three cities: Aachen in Germany, Barcelona in Spain and Coimbra in Portugal. Winning teams from all i-Days events across Europe were then invited to a final Hackathon in Paris on December 1, 2019, one day ahead of the culmination of the EIT Health Summit, during which the three winning teams were recognized for their efforts. To the great satisfaction of both Essilor and their “teams”, the Essilor backed teams – from Aachen and Barcelona – won their respective competitions and went through to the final in Paris. The students were welcomed by Essilor’s R&D team during an event devoted to open innovation within EIT Health, at CI&T Europe in Creteil on December 2nd.
Through these kinds of programs and events, Essilor aims to raise awareness about the importance of visual health within the pan-European networks of health innovators, particularly since Uncorrected Refractive Error is not yet recognized as a major health and wellbeing problem by communities like EIT Health. The Innovation Days program is a fantastic opportunity to engage university students, young entrepreneurs and educational staff around these issues and is completely aligned with the value Essilor places on innovation.
Essilor affirms its ambitions for growth and innovation in China with the opening of its new Center for Innovation & Technologies in Shanghai, the extension of its research partnership with the esteemed Wenzhou Medical University, and its recent success at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) - which drew strong interest from potential partners and stakeholders.
The latest edition of the optical and eyewear industry’s signature trade fair, Silmo, took place in Paris from 27 - 30 September, giving an opportunity to Essilor Group companies to showcase their inherent strengths.