Running shoes without Achilles' heel
A patented technology has allowed the creation of a heel-less running shoe, improving performances while putting less strain on the body and reducing health risks. Small and micro-businesses joined forces to develop the innovative footwear, thanks to EU research funding.
By replacing the padded heel of traditional running shoes by a shock-absorbing sole plate incorporated under the middle part of the foot, the impact on the heel as well as on knees and ankles is reduced.
The project is the brainchild of Mr Adri Hartveld, a physiotherapist and the founder and managing director of the UK-based Healus Technology company. The micro-enterprise prototyped and tested the concept for 10 years. To turn it into a marketable product, it teamed up with numerous research partners in different European countries many of which are micro-businesses (less than 10 employees) and small businesses (between 10 and 49 employees).
This research consortium received €1.02 million from the EU in grant funding under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) - the 'Research for the benefit of SMEs' theme aims to strengthen the innovation capacity of European SMEs and their contribution to the development of new technology-based products and markets. The funding enabled the research, evaluations and tests, as well as dissemination activities and technology transfer.
In the future, the EU funding programme for research and innovation will also cover commercialisation, helping innovative SMEs to take their products from the lab to the market.
Find out more:
- The EU framework research programme until 2013 - accessible to SMEs (Seventh Framework Programme - FP7)
- Current EU innovation programme until 2013 - specifically targeting SMEs (Competitiveness and Innovation programme - CIP)
- To get more information and advice on EU funding & finance for SMEs, contact the nearest representative of Enterprise Europe Network
- Future EU programme for research and innovation between 2014 and 2020 (Horizon 2020)