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News categories: Honors & Funding

Women TechEU Start-Up Funding for University of Bonn Spin-Off

SmartContrast reduces use of contrast agents GmbH, a University of Bonn start-up that has developed the SmartContrast software, receives funding from the European Innovation Council’s (EIC) Women TechEU program. ImmunoSensation² member Prof. Alexander Effland, together with experts from the fields of medicine and mathematics is involved in the company. Using artificial intelligence, SmartContrast aims to lower the use of contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging of the brain, thus reducing examination costs and potential risks for patients and the environment.

The program aims to support deep tech start-ups led in part by women, as currently only about 15 percent of all start-ups are counting women among their founding members. Even today in the EU only about five percent of risk capital goes to mixed-gender founding teams, while the figure for women-only founding teams (a mere two percent) is even lower. Start-up companies dedicated to innovative technologies are facing an even bigger gender gap.

“We’re very pleased about the funding that enables us to proceed with the next steps in the medicinal product development of our SmartContrast software,” states Dr. Katerina Deike-Hofmann, GmbH co-founder and managing partner and also physician at the University Hospital Bonn’s Neuroradiology Clinic.

ImmunoSensation2 member Prof. Alexander Effland from the Institute for Applied Mathematics at the University of Bonn, also forming part of the SmartContrast team, comments: “The interdisciplinary cooperation has been a very beneficial experience for everyone involved. I’m glad that our mathematical research helps hospitals on the path to becoming more sustainable and reducing the impact on the environment.”

Prof. Alexander Radbruch, Director of the Neuroradiology Clinic at the University Hospital Bonn, stresses the great innovation potential science start-ups carry: “ GmbH serves as a very good example for research leading to the creation of real products and benefitting our patients.”

Selected start-ups receive grants of €75,000 as well as mentoring, coaching and access to an EU-wide network of entrepreneurs. All companies are characterized by their strong power to innovate, excellent results both in research and in development, their impact in the EU and a strong female representation on managing boards or founding teams. Among the successful applicants were a total of 134 companies stemming from 26 EU countries and 16 industry sectors, 18 of which came from Germany.

Supporting women at the University of Bonn not only plays a key role with regards to research but also when it comes to starting a company. The enaCom Transfer Center bundles specific support for female entrepreneurs. Further information is available on the enaCom web page.

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