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SMARTSHAPE: Annual consortium meeting 2024

On 17 & 18 January the SMARTSHAPE consortium met in Basel, Switzerland for its annual consortium meeting. As a partner delivering project management and science communication in the Horizon Europe funded project (grant number 101092242), Catalyze attended to guide and oversee all partners’ Work Package updates, and share progress on the Communication and Dissemination Strategy.

Left: Prof. dr. William Wijns, Principal Investigator and Project Coordinator. Right: SMARTSHAPE consortium members during the 2024 annual meeting.

Creating a novel medical device for hypertension management

SMARTSHAPE is an EU-funded collaboration between seven European partners, dedicated to creating a novel medical device for hypertension management. Over the next three years (2022-2026), the SMARTSHAPE team will work on an IP-protected and innovative microsensor for continuous blood pressure monitoring. The SMARTSHAPE device will consist of two components: a tiny, flexible sensor, and a wearable wrist strap. The sensor will be implanted just under the skin, and the wearable wrist strap will read the data from the sensor and send it to an app.

By developing a medical device that allows patients to monitor their blood pressure levels 24/7, SMARTSHAPE aims to help improve healthcare for people living with hypertension and support the development of personalised – and more effective – diagnostic and treatment plans.

Once a year, the consortium comes together in person to discuss their progress. This year’s annual consortium meeting was held in Basel, Switzerland (as one of our partners, Merakoi, is located there). Every work package presented their updates and shared input for insightful discussions and brainstorm sessions.

“The building blocks are in place…”

Currently, progress is made in the sensor design and manufacturing, as well as the development of the biomaterial to incorporate in the sensor. This biomaterial will make sure the sensor can have its flexible characteristics. Building upon this, SMARTSHAPE is preparing for a first pilot study to test the sensor. Parallel with this, the environmental, economic and societal aspects of the device are examined, and preparations are ongoing for complying with all medical regulatory requirements. First steps are also made in mapping out the different patient journeys of hypertension, identifying where SMARTSHAPE steps in to improve patient’s lives.

During the meeting, Prof. dr. William Wijns, Principal Investigator and Project Coordinator of SMARTSHAPE, commented:

“The building blocks of the SMARTSHAPE blood pressure monitoring sensor project are in phase and on time. The great multidisciplinary SMARTSHAPE consortium is working very effectively to deliver more effective blood pressure monitoring in high risk patients with resistant hypertension or stroke.”

Leading SMARTSHAPE project management and dissemination

Catalyze is in the lead for Project Management of the consortium, as well as the Communication and Dissemination of the project results.

Catalyze Project Manager, Teja Rus, PhD, comments on our role in the project:

“I am thrilled to collaborate with an incredibly well-connected and engaged consortium on this groundbreaking project. It’s truly a pleasure working alongside such a dynamic team of experts. As we gear up for the upcoming reporting period in June, our focus remains steadfast on providing seamless guidance in reporting and financial matters. Our aim is to alleviate the burden on our research partners, allowing them to channel their energy into advancing scientific frontiers.”

Leading Science Communication activities on the project, Vera van de Donk, Catalyze Science Communication Advisor, describes the key aims behind the SMARTSHAPE Communication and Dissemination Strategy:

“Communicating the project goals and results to the main stakeholders is key to advance the SMARTSHAPE project. The main audiences all require a different approach in communication, as they range from fellow researchers and industry, to patients, clinicians and of course the general public. At Catalyze, we take the lead in turning the complex science into a tangible message that resonates with each of these target audiences. A key part of how we do this is by engaging with stakeholders through co-creation of communication materials, for example with SMARTSHAPE’s patient experience panel.

“At the start of the project, we created the Communication and Dissemination strategy, which serves as a basis for all activities throughout the project to increase the project’s impact. Via different channels and activities, such as the project’s website, social media, and infographics, we make sure the science is translated to reach non-specialised audiences as well.”

Through the SMARTSHAPE website, those interested in following the progress of the project may subscribe to the SMARTSHAPE newsletter, and receive project updates every 6 months.

SMARTSHAPE Project Partners

The SMARTSHAPE consortium is an interdisciplinary collaboration of academic partners and small and midsize enterprises (SMEs), each contributing with their unique expertise for the development and implementation of the sensor.

Making up the project consortium are:

To learn more about the SMARTSHAPE partners and their individual roles in the project, visit this page.

 


 

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