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Innovation Challenge

OvaCure’s approach to exploring, developing, and initiating new research has, since our foundation, shown successful results and paved the way for the development of the Innovation Challenge, which is the first research hackathon in ovarian cancer in the world. The first OvaCure Innovation Challenge was held in January 2020 in Copenhagen with participation from researchers from all over the world.

The OvaCure Innovation Challenge 2020 was a great success

The reception of OvaCure’s first Challenge was very impressive. Great enthusiasm has been expressed from all participants over the new model, which is the Innovation Challenge. All participants expressed that the event provided unique opportunities for the formation of new networks and collaborations.

  • 100% answered that they would participate in another Innovation Challenge
  • 96% answered that Innovation Challenge improved their professional activities
  • 96% answered that the learning experience through the Innovation Challenge was extremely useful compared with traditional conferences

In 2020, the OvaCure Award had a value of 1,500,000 DKK

Four new project ideas were developed at Innovation Challenge 2020, and the most promising project received the OvaCure Award, which was presented by Minister of Health Magnus Heunicke at an award ceremony with the participation of foundations, press, researchers, and other professionals.

The prize consisted of two elements and the project was awarded:

  1. 750.000 DKK to initiate the idea and to ensure the implementation of the project
  2. Project manager and fundraiser resources from OvaCure for 750.000 DKK

The total prize thus had a value of 1.500.000 DKK.

Who can participate?

The OvaCure Innovation Challenge is held every other year, and there is space for 30 participants, all of whom must be leading researchers in their field. All participants are specially selected to ensure diversity so that many specialties and principle fields are represented.

Since OvaCure was founded in 2014, we have held several Round Table meetings, Innovation Summits, and other events. We thus have recognized experience in creating a space of trust for sharing research ideas and facilitating the process along the way; a valuable element in the work of ensuring the development of new research that can make a difference for women with ovarian cancer.

Results from OvaCure Innovation Challenge 2020

The 2020 Award project was delayed due to COVID-19, but began its start-up phase in October 2021.

In addition, the event initiated several other collaborations and research projects:

  • Improved Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer? A project where 6 participants have come together and established a fully-funded research project.
  • AntigenICity. A project about personalized immunotherapy treatment for women with ovarian cancer. The researchers behind the project met at Challenge 2020. They have now established a broad network across five European countries.
  • Understanding and Targeting Myeloid Populations in Ovarian Cancer. A promising project that has received USD 900,000 from the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance (OCRA). The team behind the project consists of three participants from Challenge 2020, and it was during the conference that they developed the idea.

Based on discussions at OvaCure Innovation Challenge 2020, myself, Anil Sood and Dan Powell submitted a Collaborative Research Development Grant application to the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, which was funded for three years, starting January 2021. We’re all very grateful to OvaCure for providing the stimulus that led to this success.

Martin J. Cannon, Ph.D.,
Professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)

Martin Cannon