FreeNovation grant for Vanessa Leung

Dr. Vanessa Leung at the Department of Biomedical Engineering has been awarded a FreeNovation grant of 180,000 CHF to investigate the root causes of shortsightedness (myopia) with intelligent eyeglasses. Myopia is growing to epidemic proportions, with a third of the world’s population predicted to be shortsighted by 2020. Dr. Leung will be the principal investigator of an interdisciplinary effort that includes Dr. Roman Schmied of the Department of Physics and clinical partners at the University Hospital. The project was one of 4 chosen out of 47 submissions in the area of Digital Health.

Novartis launched the FreeNovation program in early 2016 to encourage unconventional thinking and enhance the attractiveness of Switzerland as a center for research, by enabling grant holders to pursue out-of-the-box ideas. Thirteen projects in three subject areas were selected by an international jury headed by Professor Gerd Folkers, ETHZ, President of the Novartis Research Foundation. The selection process was anonymized so that what counted was the originality of the research approach and its potential for breakthroughs beyond conventional strategies.

The DBE congratulates Dr. Leung and her team on their success with this innovative funding concept unique in the field of life sciences in Switzerland.