The EIT Health Data Empowerment Days – a report

At the end of June, ONTOFORCE joined the EIT Health Data Empowerment Days in Nice, France, where EIT Health and their partner organizations came together to brainstorm in a hackathon-like setting. Besides taking part in the vendor challenge (we won 1st and 2nd prize), our main objective was working with the EIT Health staff and their 100+ partners on specific use cases. Here’s a report from these hands-on sessions and their results.

Two use cases

Our team focused on two data services use cases: 1) a reporting dashboard, and 2) an asset mapping and expert finder.

Use case 1 – “A Reporting Dashboard”

To improve the efficiency of the EIT Health network, insights are essential. During discussions with small workgroups, we defined the criteria to be included in a dashboard: evidence of success, funding awarded, industry engagement and new relationships formed. From this, we derived several actions:

  • Assess the data needed to generate the dashboards.
  • Create a dashboard that contains partner and project related information.
  • Enable proactive support of EIT Health to Partners – and support by Partners to their organizations – on key strategic questions and issues.

Use case 2 – “Asset Mapping & Expert Finder” 

For use case 2, we actually combined two initially separate use cases: “Asset Mapping” and an “Expert Finder”. The rationale was as follows: partner organizations have unique assets, and combining them with the expertise of co-workers within organizations gives a more complete overview of the potential of an organization or an individual.

Assets can be mapped to a taxonomy of standardized terms capable of identifying assets that are hidden at first sight. This is relevant when using very specific terms which can be grouped on a sub-level under more general and sometimes better-known terms. Relying on a more general term can prompt results where the sought-after asset is not mentioned. E.g. searching for ‘artificial intelligence’ might generate hits that only include ‘deep learning’, because ‘deep learning’ is a specific kind of ‘machine learning’, which is in turn a specific type of ‘artificial intelligence’. A similar approach can be achieved with individual expertise. The combination of the two can enhance matchmaking, such as between parties forming a consortium who are looking for specific expertise they are missing.

Some of the activities we developed from this include:

  • Assembling a growing taxonomy of asset terms based on the feedback received
  • Creating an overview of the specific assets of EIT Health Partners based on EIT Health internal data and public data
  • Creating a foundation for added-value activities and projects

Besides knowing about assets and activities, it’s also important to allow users to search for individuals with certain skills or specializations within the EIT Health network/ecosystem. Therefore, we are using the same approach to map terms of expertise. The main goals to achieve are:

  • Allowing users to directly search for individuals with required skills based on their academic output, published patents, involvement in funded research projects, clinical trials, etc.
  • Encouraging users to explore individuals and institutions that have access to these experts

This enabled us to launch the EIT Health DISQOVER version to all partners.


It sure was great to feel the energy and enthusiasm on DISQOVER. But as with every project, we were also confronted with additional hurdles, which became excellent learning moments. For example:

  • We need to keep in mind that new ways of mining linked data require initial training and familiarity with use cases to fully understand their potential. These will be delivered very soon.
  • There are no silver bullets: every solution has its own challenges that need to be tackled. But that also makes the work interesting.
  • Clean data is (and will remain) a key element for success.

We greatly appreciate the input of the partners throughout both the session and  follow-up meetings. We would also like to extend our thanks to EIT Health for their visionary work. We continue to be impressed with how they are changing the way businesses make sense of internal and external data, and combine this approach with an empowering CAN DO mentality. Needless to say, the ONTOFORCE team is extremely motivated to continue this project, and to join them as they go the extra mile.

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EIT Health is a Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) established by the European Institute for Innovation & Technology (EIT), an independent EU body set up in 2008 to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe.

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