Showcasing and Awarding Innovation in Health Sciences Publishing

Surgeon Andreas Vesalius, the inspiration behind Karger’s annual innovation award, not only revolutionized anatomy when he published “De humanis corporis fabrica” in 1543; his work also took typography and illustration to a new level, laying the foundation for an entirely new view on the human body for many generations.

Fast forward to 2023: health sciences publishing is ready for a new revolution. The movement towards Open Science and the increased use of digital technologies in healthcare are fundamentally changing the way researchers, doctors, and patients create and consume knowledge.

Hence since 2020, Karger Publishers and its partners have set themselves the task of honoring outstanding achievements in health sciences publishing with the Vesalius Innovation Award (VIA).

The Vesalius Innovation Award is an incredible opportunity for publishing professionals and innovative start-ups to connect with like-minded people and thus to get involved in the digital publishing community. The award program is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the best ideas and solutions in digital publishing, offering a unique platform for sharing insights and exchanging ideas. Participants are able to gain an understanding of the latest technology and digital publishing trends, while discovering potential business opportunities and collaborating with industry peers. Participating start-ups present their innovative ideas to a jury of publishing experts and industry leaders, who can provide valuable feedback and insights. The award program provides visibility for innovative projects and solutions.

Finally Meeting Again in Person to Hand Over the Trophy

There was only one slight set-back: the global pandemic. All the planning and preparation to be ready to connect people from the industry with innovators – and overnight we all ended up on video portal online marathons. Now this was all going to change: after two years of anticipation and preparation from the project team, we finally would get the chance to taste the real experience of an innovation event.

It was early morning on the 6th of December 2022 when a handful of members from the project team gathered at the Congress Center (Great Russell Street) in London to prepare the rooms for the event. The door opened and the few brave early birds entered the halls. Would it feel the same after two years of abstinence? Thankfully it did! People were excited to meet other people in the flesh, shake hands, exchange smiles, and hear live and from the horse’s mouth what’s new in the publishing world.

As the sessions kicked off, the room was abuzz. People gathered for the pitching sessions, where start-ups would have only a couple of minutes each to present themselves. There was a certain energy in the air that people had been missing for too long, and that energy converted to great conversations, the beginning of new partnerships, and the thirst for more.

The morning program consisted of a brief speech and the pitches of the start-ups. Each start-up was given a short slot to present their idea in front of a small crowd. At the same time, discussions between potential partners and other start-ups took place. The atmosphere was good and even during lunch there was a lot of discussion.

At four o’clock the time had come. The attendees interrupted their conversations and gathered in the next room for the VIA event. The lights went out and the show began. After our five finalists had already presented their start-up in the morning, they were now asked to answer questions from the crowd. After a pleasant question-and-answer session, the start-ups were allowed to take a breather while Mr. Daniel Ebneter (CEO of Karger Publishers), Mr. Jignesh Bhate (Founder & CEO of Molecular Connections), and Mr. Marc Schindelholz (Head of Strategy, Innovation and Ventures at Karger Publishers) gave a short speech.

Finally, the winner, ImageTwin, and the two follow-ups, ScientifyRESEARCH and SciScore, were chosen. After a short speech and a few photos, the room emptied and everyone gathered in front of the bar to engage in conversation again. To round off the day, the VIA start-ups were invited to a pub where their achievements were celebrated.

Good news: there will be a 4th edition of the VIA coming in 2023 so stay tuned for more information!

Here a few impressions from the event.

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