Successful closing of WiBEC, a Horizon 2020 Innovative Training Network Project

Ovesco Endoscopy AG partnered in an innovative training network focusing on “Wireless in-body environment communications” while leading cutting-edge research in the gastrointestinal diagnostics. Being an active representative in international research and development environment and initiator of a new team-coaching approach in innovative training networks, the 4-year networking project was a great success.

The WiBEC (Wireless In-Body Environment) project was funded by the EU Commission under the H2020-MARIE Sklodowska-CURIE ACTIONS (MSCA-ITN-2015) from 01.01.2016 to 31.12.2019 and coordinated by Prof. Dr. Ilangko Balasingham, with a budget of €3.957 million. WiBEC is an Innovative Training Network (ITN) for 16 young international researchers, who were recruited and trained in a coordinated manner by the academia, the industry, and medical centers. WiBEC’s main objective was to provide high quality and innovative doctoral training, with the aim to develop wireless technologies for novel implantable devices that will contribute to the improvement in quality and efficacy of patient healthcare. The project’s vision “a battery free, deeply implantable, high data rate communication technology for lifelong operation of selected medical devices”, is applied to two very specific cutting-edge medical device research applications in the field of cardiology and gastroenterology. The added value of the doctoral training network program is to educate these 16 researchers in both, biomedical engineering and medicine in this multi-national, multi-sectoral, and multi-disciplinary doctoral training network.

Figure 1: Ovesco AG hosted a gastrointestinal workshop week with 16 international PhD students in Tübingen (May 2018).

Salman, a researcher from Pakistan, was hosted for the project by Ovesco Endoscopy AG (Ovesco) for 3 years. Within the project, he led the gastrointestinal application group along with Ovesco and was its’ main representative. Keeping this in view, Ovesco hosted a “Gastrointestinal Week” in Tübingen (May 2018) as a part of the project.

This event was a resounding success and provided a broad insight for the 16 international PhD’s into medical devices for use in the GI tract with presentations, hands-on-sessions and a case study presented by a total of seven speakers from relevant medical technology sectors in Tübingen.

Figure 2: Team coaching workshop with Mona Haug M.A. in Paris at ValoTec (February 2018).

Furthermore, Ovesco initiated a new approach within the WiBEC ITN project for team coaching. This was achieved via a combination of individual, live and team coaching sessions by an external business coach, Mona Haug M.A. The coaching consisted of two workshops for the 16 PhD’s, using different techniques to discover various topics in the scope of “workplace success”. These workshops were a successful and complementary add-on to the originally planned trainings in the project proposal. The participants developed strategic leadership skills, power dynamics and strategies and one of them mentioned that these workshops belong to the best part of the project. Through this initiative, a panel session on the topic “leadership” was successfully organized by Ovesco on WiBEC’s IEEE ISMICT 2019 Conference in Oslo, Norway (May 2019). The mission in the panel session was to accelerate intercultural and transnational cooperation, provide tips for success regarding power and leadership, enhance strategic career development and actively promote mentoring and coaching into academic and scientific programs.

In October 2019, the final conference of the ITN project was held in Valencia, marking its closing. According to the PhD’s feedback, team coaching workshops have been the highlight of the project. Ovesco was very pleased with the positive feedback from PhD’s and supervisors on this topic as it was a “first approach” within the WiBEC project. Team diversity as well as gender diversity play a key role at Ovesco as we have employees from 14 different nationalities at present. Ovesco recommends such team coaching trainings that were substantially supported by Prof. Dr. Ilangko Balasingham to other European Network Projects. International follow-up projects with consortium partners are already underway and maintain Ovesco’s international outlook as a leading medical device company operating in the fields of flexible endoscopy and endoluminal surgery.
Salman has decided to continue with Ovesco as a full-time research engineer making a great addition to the Ovesco team. The project has been a successful undertaking by Ovesco paving the way for similar future endeavors.