“Grasp Again” project presents itself to the Federal President

Several people in blue T-shirts or suits stand in a semi-circle, including one person in a wheelchair.
Bild: Bundesregierung/Guido BergmannPresse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung

Heading for improved healthcare with innovation and courage: Federal President Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier visits Erlangen

Federal President Steinmeier visited Erlangen as part of the series of events entitled “Workshop for change”. In the innovation hub Medical Valley Center Erlangen, five teams from the healthcare sector presented their projects, including “GraspAgain”, a start-up initiated by a research team at FAU led by Prof. Dr. Alessandro Del Vecchio, Department AIBE.

What is needed to successfully transform the healthcare sector and what are the features of a successful transformation? These were the questions Federal President Steinmeier hoped to find answers to during his trip to Erlangen, where he visited Medical Valley EMN e.V. and heard first hand from those involved. The showcased innovations definitely lived up to expectations and proved once again the vast diversity of companies based in the region.

GraspAgain: Research team from FAU

In his welcome speech, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jürgen Schüttler, deputy chair of the Supervisory Board of Medical Valley EMN e.V., explained that “Medical Valley is a place where success stories are just beginning, but it is also home to innovations that have already proven their worth. Together, they form a strong foundation for the innovative spirit that characterizes the cluster.” Two examples that illustrate the point perfectly are the GraspAgain research team and the company VEC Imaging. The GraspAgain team led by Prof. Dr. Alessandro Del Vecchio from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) was presented the Medical Valley Award at the beginning of the year, worth 500,000 euros and aimed at supporting research teams at Bavarian universities who wish to launch a start-up based on their idea. What is the idea behind GraspAgain? To reinstate the hand function of people with neuromuscular impairments. GraspAgain’s research focuses on a non-invasive brain-machine interface and a mechatronic system.

Improving conditions for start-ups with holistic and transdisciplinary exchange

After the presentation, Federal President Steinmeier spent time talking openly with the various teams, as well as with Prof. Jürgen Schüttler, Dr. Florian Janik, mayor of the City of Erlangen, Prof. Joachim Hornegger, FAU President, and Anna Goldsworthy, managing director of Medical Valley EMN e.V. The focus was predominantly on the prerequisites that have to be met in order to facilitate innovations such as these. What resources are needed and what can be done to scout out, encourage and support individuals with talent and potential more intensively than is currently the case? How can we proactively shape transformation in healthcare and take steps to support it in a way that is sustainable in the long term?

To the series “Workshop for change”

On August 30, 2023, Federal President Steinmeier launched his new series of events entitled “Workshop for change” that focuses on far-reaching structural changes within our society and how these impact how we live and work together.

Against this backdrop, the Federal President is visiting companies, research institutions and projects throughout the whole of Germany that provide good examples of how to master transformation with a wealth of ideas, initiative and dedication. The focus is on locations where transformation is successful, locations that may encourage people to seize the opportunities change brings – for themselves and for society as a whole. Further information

More information on the Grasp Again project: Restoring hand function with intelligent neuro-orthoses

More information

Prof. Dr. Alessandro Del Vecchio
Neuromuscular Physiology and Neural Interfacing Laboratory