• EPIcenter: EntrePreneurship and Innovation summer school on healthy living and happy ageing

    August 19th to August 31st

What is EPICenter about?

EPIcenter brings together promising students to incite change! Small teams work jointly on real-life challenges from companies and non-profit organisations, to develop solutions that enable seniors to live a healthy, active and enjoyable life. Participants go through the full cycle of state of the art innovation methods (co-creation, design thinking, rapid prototyping, business modelling) to develop their innovations and inspire their entrepreneurial mindset.

Whom is it meant for?

EPIcenter is meant for everyone who wishes to make a difference in the healthcare sector. We believe that solutions and innovation in healthy living and happy ageing require a multidisciplinary approach, so no matter what your background is, you can contribute! Ranging from medical and life sciences to social sciences and the humanities, from IT and engineering to communication and design. The summer school is designed for PhD students, dedicated master students, and young professionals. Other motivated individuals are welcome to apply as well.

EPIcenter has English as working language. You need to have skills at least at level B2.

Why should I participate?

EPIcenter is a two-week programme which will give you the opportunity to experience the full innovation cycle. It will provide you knowledge, skills, tools and support to create your own startup. Through challenges that come directly from organisations, companies and users, and with techniques such as co-creation and design-thinking, you will be working on innovations that are needed, wanted and that matter. During the summer school, you will be supported by coaches, mentors and experts. Finally, the international group of participants provide an inspirational and inviting atmosphere to develop yourself and create a network of international peers.


EPIcenter is a Summer School of


international & interdisciplinary


real world


mentors, coaches &




The syllabus of the Summer School EPICenter


The challenges are presented and you choose yours. You get to know your team.

The Challenge

Design Thinking is introduced. Your team will follow this method to understand the intricacies of your challenge.

Talk to experts

To find solutions that matter, you need to understand why and for whom you make it. Stakeholders will visit our site and give you insights.


To further refine or pivot your solution, you will test it together with mentors and coaches.

Deep Dive

Learn new skills in marketing, visual design, software coding, app building or hardware creation in a full day workshop.


Prepare a high-fidelity prototype, which has fundamental characteristics of your solution.

Enjoy Leiden

Foundation and baseline

Create your first business model and iterate it already focusing on your value proposition and key customer segment.

Challenge and change

Use different methods to challenge your business model, get new insights and create a new version.

The financial side

Have a closer look at the revenues and costs of your product or service.

Preparation of Pitch

Develop your final pitch. A pitch doctor will give you feedback.


A prestigious jury joins us and you and your team present the results of the two weeks.

Video of euVENTION

euVENTION was the precursor of EPIcenter and held in Heidelberg/Germany in September 2017.

EPIcenter is organized by



These coaches will support EPIcenter.

Aine Phelan

Aine Phelan


Activity partner Aine Phelan, head of consumer insight and marketing at ISAX, has broad experience in business model training and co-creation methods. Her activities include access to a consumer panel and test bed of up to 1,000 consumers age 50+ called the Smart Ageing Community who are available to test and validate innovations. She is a 3-time marketing innovation award winner and a specialist in consumer and consumer insight analysis, product innovation and development and marketing.

Jeroen Kemperman

Jeroen Kemperman

Achmea Zilveren Kruis

Jeroen Kemperman is senior manager Strategy and Business Development at Achmea Zilveren Kruis, one of the largest insurance companies in the Netherlands. He focuses on strategy, vision, business models, investment and innovation. He has written extensively about disruptive and brilliant business models in care, health and finance. He is a guest speaker at various institutions such as Nyenrode, Erasmus, Sprout and in-company programmes.

Lex van Delden

Lex van Delden

Leyden Academy for Vitality and Aging

Lex’ interests are in designing physical and social environments to promote a healthy lifestyle and social interaction. In this area he runs research and implementation projects and gives advice to various organisations and municipalities. He also investigates the effects of activity programmes at care and well-being organisations. In addition, he is involved in developing and providing education in Bachelor and Master programmes, executive courses, and specialty courses.

After he worked for four years as a physiotherapist with patienst with brain damage, Lex decided to study Cognitive Psychology at Leiden University and obtained his Research Master’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience. Subsequently, he completed his doctoral research on recovery in stroke victims at the Faculty of Human Movement Sciences at the VU University Amsterdam. Lex was a lecturer and course coordinator at the Institute of Applied Neurosciences in Haarlem, before joining Leyden Academy in May 2014.

Organising Team

Jolanda Lindenberg

Jolanda Lindenberg

Leyden Academy

Jolanda Lindenberg is a scientific staff member at Leyden Academy and is researching social networks, group and personal identity within the nursing home setting and in neighbourhood projects. Her contribution to the research programme focuses on social science issues and research methodology in the study of ageing and vitality.

In addition, Jolanda assists various research projects, including elder abuse, the quality of life of the elderly, the perception of the elderly and the measuring instrument ‘Life and Vitality Assessment’. Jolanda is a social-cultural anthropologist and received her PhD from the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany.

Frank Schalkwijk

Frank Schalkwijk

Leyden Academy

During his medicine studies, Frank Schalkwijk became interested in the ageing process. After completing the master’s programme Vitality and Ageing at Leyden Academy, he worked for the Vitality programme of the Medical Delta, a network of life sciences, health and technology partners. The Vitality programme explored future scenarios and developed solutions in the quest for vitality at old age.
Currently, he is working as a researcher at the Leyden Academy on the topic of demedicalization of old age. Also, he is the founder of the start-up Uitbrander, a smart cooking timer that helps independently living elderly with cooking safely.

Raoul Haschke

Raoul Haschke

Heidelberg University

Raoul Haschke has a doctorate in astrophysics. He received all his degrees from Heidelberg University and understands from first-hand experience how educational and research outfits function. After receiving his doctorate, he decided to pursue his interest in the links between science and the economy and to work as a startup manager. Since then, Heidelberg Startup Partners has been benefiting from his organizational talent and his enthusiasm for entrepreneurship.

Raoul Haschke works not only for the startup management of Heidelberg University but also for the Startup Office of Heidelberg Startup Partners. In addition, he is responsible for coordination at Heidelberg Startup Partners. He advises entrepreneurs who are applying for funding and helps establish contact with partners of Heidelberg Startup Partners.

Preparing the Summer School: Healthy Ageing in six steps

  • You have to participate in the MOOC “Healthy Ageing in 6 steps” to prepare you for the EPIcenter Summer School.

  • The MOOC starts on July 1st.


For travel and accommodation costs scholarships will be available.
The final amount will be determined after the selection process has finished. We will contact you after admission to EPIcenter with a formal request for a scholarship application.

For participants from

  • Netherlands

  • up to 250€

  • Europe

  • up to 500€

  • Non-Europe

  • up to 750€


Accommodation (as in hotel or hostel rooms) is not included.

Here we will present you a list of hotels and hostels in Leiden.


different locations
within Leiden


Who is the target group?

We are looking for persons with a variety of disciplinary backgrounds interested in participating. We aim to have multidisciplinary teams as we believe these will be the most powerful to come to solutions.
It is beneficial if you have a finished master degree. EPIcenter is also open to young professionals, who have already left academia. If you are still doing your masters in the field of EPIcenter, please send us your application with your motivation.
If you aren’t sure if EPIcenter is for you, don’t hesitate to send us a message.

Which language will be spoken?

The EPIcenter Summer School is an international event. All communication will be in English. Participants are expected to be proficient in English. It is not necessary to know any Dutch. If needed, we will be happy to support you with your travel arrangements,.

Which kind of food will be available?

The summer school includes free breakfast and lunch. We will always provide a vegetarian option. We cannot guarantee the accommodation of other dietary needs.

Who will own the IP?

The team should discuss, how to proceed with the solutions generated during the event.

To allow continuity, we suggest that the challenge owner keeps the generated ideas, if the team (or parts of it) do not want to continue working on the solution.

Can I propose my own challenge/business idea?

Although we have collected some real world challenges from our partners in industry and academia, we invite you to bring your own challenge. Please propose it together with your application. A prestigous jury will decide on the challenges choosen.

How to get to the venue?

Public transport:
Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing is easiest accessed by public transport. Trains run every 10-15 minutes from Schiphol Airport. It takes about 15 minutes by train to get to Leiden central station.
Leyden Academy is just across the street of the north entrance of the Leiden central station (exit the train station in the direction of the LUMC Hospital). Leyden Academy is located in the ‘Poortgebouw’, an authentic brick building across the street of the north entrance of the station. At the main entrance of the Poortgebouw enter through entrance ‘Zuid’ (south), were you will find the Leyden Academy on the ground floor in room 0.15.

Own transportation:
Coming from The Hague (N44, A44), follow the N44/A44 in the direction of Amsterdam and take exit 8 (Leiden, Noordwijk, Katwijk). At the end of the exit turn right. First follow the signs ‘H-Ziekenhuizen/LUMC’ and later ‘Poortgebouw’. Park in front of the Poortgebouw.
Coming from Amsterdam (A4, A44), follow the A4 and later the A44 in the direction of Leiden-West/The Hague. Take exit 8 (Leiden, Noordwijk, Katwijk, N206). At the end of the exit turn left. First follow the signs ‘H-Ziekenhuizen/LUMC’ and later ‘Poortgebouw’. Park in front of the Poortgebouw.
Coming from Utrecht (A12, N11), on the A12 in the direction of The Hague, take exit Leiden (N11). At the end of N11 turn right. First follow the signs ‘H-Ziekenhuizen/LUMC’ and later ‘Poortgebouw’. Park in front of the Poortgebouw.
The address of the venue is: Rijnsburgerweg 10, 2333 AA, Leiden, The Netherlands.
The directions and contact details are available through this link.

Can I lead a team?

Definitely. If you feel qualified to lead a team, please let us know in your application.

Why did you collect real world challenges?

We believe that our teams will be able to develop solutions in less than two weeks. The challenge owner (i.e. our business partners from industry and academia) might be interested to be your first costumer right after the event, or buy your solution or the team as a whole.

Please contact us

5 + 0 = ?

Imprint and Data privacy policy

About us

EPIcenter is an EIT Health Summer School.
It is organized by Heidelberg University, ISAX, Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing, Leiden University Medical Center and Zilveren Kruis. Together these partners provide the essential expertise on healthy ageing, lifestyle interventions, chronic disease, design thinking, IT-, product-, and business development, start-ups, and user-centredness. The EIT Health leverages the expertise of over a 130 leading organisations in healthcare to sustainably advance the foundations of healthcare and thus promote the future conditions for healthier living and wellbeing of people across Europe.

This website is provided by Heidelberg Startup Partners e.V. (Imprint/Data Privacy Statement)

This activity has received funding from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). This body of the European Union receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

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