Ascensia diabetes challenge

Do you have a digital solution for the global epidemic of type 2 diabetes?

Ascensia Diabetes Care has partnered with yet2 to launch the Ascensia Diabetes Challenge – A GLOBAL INNOVATION COMPETITION. We are seeking submissions for innovative digital solutions that can genuinely change behavior and improve the lives of people with type 2 diabetes. We want to support companies who are developing the next big leap forward in digital solutions for self-management of type 2 diabetes. 


Winner, Runners up and Finalists

Whisk win2


graph 0000 Inteligentny obiekt wektorowyWhisk is an artificial intelligence powered Digital Dietician that connects people to the world’s leading grocery retailers. It is being developed to help type 2 diabetes patients easily find the food and recipes they love, and is nutritionally tailored to the user, with the aim of driving sustainable behavior change. By combining a users’ personal taste preferences, time constraints, goals, budgets, dietary restrictions, avoidances and allergies, Whisk aim to make it easy to find and trust the right, nutritionally tailored recipe and then shop for the ingredients in-store or online. Whisk will connect nutritionists to people with diabetes which will, in turn, train the AI as they set goals and make suggestions.


Whisk, the world’s smartest food platform, enables businesses to build integrated, smarter, and more meaningful digital food experiences. Today, Whisk powers tools on 100 million monthly recipe interactions and 500,000 shopper actions. It’s extensive food ontology, The Food Genome™, incorporates macro and micro nutritional data, flavor compounds, store availability, price and promotions – which means Whisk is uniquely able to build an AI-powered digital dietician.

xbird run3


graph 0004 Inteligentny obiekt wektorowyxbird is a medical artificial intelligence software that analyzes micro-movements, collected by smartphones and wearables worn by people with diabetes, and cross references them with historical blood glucose data in order to predict and detect potential hypo- and hyperglycaemic events. xbird’s Continuous Activity Monitoring (CAM) recreates a patients day, depicting activities conducted, and potentially identifying micromovements that could indicate an oncoming diabetic event. This happens fully automatically, without any need for manual logging from the wearer. The solution creates actionable insights for both doctors and patients.


xbird is a medical AI company that uses the most advanced technology and employs the latest in data science and machine learning to improve diabetes therapy. They believe that technology can radically improve the chances of surviving preventable diseases. xbird uses millions of data points from smartphone sensors, wearables and medical devices, combining them with environmental and digital biomarkers to identify patterns leading to critical health events.

qstream run2


graph 0005 Inteligentny obiekt wektorowyQstream is a team-based mobile game developed at Harvard Medical School that can prompt meaningful behavior change in people with type 2 diabetes. Qstream is proven to generate significant and sustained improvements in blood glucose control among patients who use it. Qstream works by letting patients and clinicians play a “game” on the their phone or tablet for minutes a day. It is delivered from the cloud to any mobile device, is easy to use and can be deployed at scale.


Qstream use mobile, science and gamification to provide powerfully simple solutions that help patients and healthcare professionals reinforce the knowledge and skills that matter most. It engages patients and clinicians in fun, challenging competitions they enjoy – and delivers the real-time insights that clinicians depend on – to improve patients' behaviors and outcomes. The Qstream platform has been clinically proven in more than 20 large scientific trials to boost learning retention and durably change behaviors to improve patient outcomes.


by Holmusk


graph 0001 Inteligentny obiekt wektorowyGlycoLeap is a digital health program that is a simpler way to lose weight and lower A1c. It accelerates the journey for patients to achieve clinically significant weight loss and improvements in glycemic control through lifestyle change, thus reducing the risk of health complications and improving the quality of life for people with diabetes. It combines expert human coaching with smart mobile technology to empower people with type 2 diabetes to live a healthier life. GlycoLeap is powered by a scalable, engaging and effective technology platform for data-driven, personalized health coaching.


Holmusk is a digital health company, focused on solving complex problems in healthcare. Holmusk build innovative, scalable and cost-effective digital behaviour change programs that combine cutting-edge clinical research, technology and design to guide people toward sustainable changes for better health. They develop powerful predictive algorithms that offer actionable insights for personalized care and population health management.

My Diabetes Coach

by Macadamian


graph 0002 Inteligentny obiekt wektorowyMy Diabetes Coach is a voice first diabetes management platform that uses Amazon’s Alexa to help people with type 2 diabetes better manage their care. The data captured through an integrated wearable device, a mobile phone, and dialogue with the patient, provides a personal and empathetic virtual coaching experience that is enabled through artificial intelligence. This coaching facilitates treatment adherence and makes care management less overwhelming. The platform also enables participation from all members of the patient’s circle of care (caregivers, family, peers, and clinical team) via a mobile app, Amazon Alexa skill, and a patient portal.


Macadamian is a full-service user experience, software design and development consultancy that specializes in creating digital and connected health experiences. As leaders in digital technology development for over 20 years, Macadamian aim to develop thoughtful and intelligent digital solutions that will spark the greatest advances in population health, reduce hospitalizations, cut healthcare costs, and most importantly – improve the overall health and quality of life of people.

Path Feel

by Walk With Path


graph 0003 Inteligentny obiekt wektorowyPath Feel is an active feedback insole that provides a vibrational, or haptic, feedback to the user during walking. This can aid people with diabetic neuropathy in being able to feel the ground and achieve balance. Path Feel provides vibrational feedback to the soles of people at risk of falls, such as those with peripheral neuropathy, who are unable to feel the ground properly due to a sensory deficit, or those with general balance issues. Path Feel is a connected digital solution and integrates data from the insole, which can be used to personalise and enhance care.


Walk With Path is a health tech company focused on injury prevention, improved mobility and user-centric design and intervention. Its products offer opportunities within therapeutic intervention as medical devices to prevent falls. Not only will this reduce the risk of injury, but also improve confidence when walking and ultimately help individuals maintain their independence longer and improve their quality of life. By amplifying the sense of touch of the feet to the ground, users are able to identify accurately when their feet touch the ground, thereby reducing the sense of imbalance as well as incidence of falls.

What's new

Whisk named as winner of Ascensia Diabetes Challenge

22 June 2018

Today, at the American Diabetes Association’s 78th Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Florida, it has been revealed that UK-based Whisk have been selected as the winner of the Ascensia Diabetes Challenge. Whisk’s winning submission is a Culinary Coach that uses artificial intelligence to provide personalized food recommendations for people with diabetes. The competition also awarded two runners-up prizes to US-based Qstream for their mobile learning platform, and xBird, a Germany-based medical artificial intelligence software company. 

For more information, read our press release.

Challenge Finalists Announced

03 April 2018

The six entries that will progress to the finalist stage of the Ascensia Diabetes Challenge have been announced. The six finalists were selected from 116 submissions and chosen by a panel of external experts and members of the Ascensia Medical, R&D and Commercial teams. The selected entrants will receive 10,000 Euros for reaching this stage and are due to present their solutions at the finalist event in April to determine the winner. For more information, visit:

Challenge submissions now closed

24 February 2018

The Ascensia Diabetes Challenge has now closed for entries. Thank you to all the startups and entrepreneurs that submitted. Our judges will be reviewing the entries and selecting up to six finalists who will each receive a cash prize and be invited to our finalist event. Please check back later in March to hear who has reached the finalist stage.

Submissions deadline now February 23, 2018

18 January 2018

Entrants now have until Friday February 23, 2018 to submit their innovative, patient-centric, digital solutions to support diabetes management. Submit your entry for the Ascensia Diabetes Challenge below.

New Judges for Innovation Challenge

02 November 2017

Two new judges that have been announced for the Ascensia Diabetes Challenge. Healthcare innovation experts Dr Neal Kaufman, USA, and Dr Sidney Yee, Singapore, have both joined the judging panel for the competition. This comes as the competition is due to expand into more markets by opening for entries from the Americas and Asia Pacific on November 6. 

Submission Highlights

Our View of the Problem

Diabetes currently affects more than 400 million people across the world and is projected to reach more than 640 million by 20401, with type 2 diabetes reaching global epidemic levels. Although management and therapies for type 2 diabetes have greatly improved, they have not yet solved the burden it places on the individuals, healthcare systems and society. We need to find innovations in this field that go beyond medication and empower people to change behaviors and better manage their condition themselves.

For an individual, a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is a life changing event. Patients become increasingly burdened with managing day to day aspects of their disease from their blood glucose testing and medication to food choices and exercise. Putting all their treatment goals into action is very challenging and contact with healthcare professionals is limited in terms of hours per year – most of their disease management is managed alone.

Emerging technologies and digital solutions have a critical role to play in helping people with type 2 diabetes to better manage their condition. So far digital technology is helping patients capture their data more easily, and there are solutions that allow blood glucose data to be transferred into apps effortlessly and sent on to healthcare professionals as needed. Steps can be counted, coaching can be provided and online communities can give encouragement. Yet despite these advances, diabetes remains a very significant burden for most patients. 

Ascensia is seeking new ways of thinking about type 2 diabetes management. There is lots of room here for innovation, as many of the latest advances have been targeted towards type 1 diabetes. We want to rethink how digital technology can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their day to day lives. That is why we have partnered with yet2 to launch the Ascensia Diabetes Challenge. 

This challenge is about supporting companies who are developing the next big leap forward in self-management. Solutions that go beyond the helpful app. We are seeking solutions that will take a more significant part of the burden of diabetes away from people and empower them to become just regular people again. We want submissions of innovative patient-centric digital solutions that can genuinely effect long-term behavior change, improve outcomes and enhance the patient experience for people with type 2 diabetes.

Submit your proposed solution via this portal and join us in helping to uncover the next big leap forward in type 2 diabetes self-management.

1 IDF Diabetes Atlas, 7th Edition (2015)

  • EU submissions opendotOct 1
  • Americas and Asia Pacific submission opendotNov 6
  • Finalists announceddotearly 2018
  • Finalist eventdotspring 2018
  • Winners announceddotJune 2018

The Ascensia Diabetes Challenge is designed to support the next big leap forward in diabetes self-management and help advance digital solutions for the future of type 2 diabetes.

We want to encourage innovation in our field and help deliver on our mission to empower people living with diabetes through innovative solutions that simplify and improve their lives. We want to drive the agenda in diabetes innovation. This challenge demonstrates our ongoing support for the diabetes community as a trusted partner and our commitment to supporting continued research, innovation and development of new solutions.

This competition will seek submissions from Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas. Entry submission for the Ascensia Diabetes Challenge will open on October 1, 2017 for Europe and November 6, 2017 for Asia Pacific and the Americas. All entries should be submitted via this portal by clicking on the “Submission” button.

Our partner yet2 is managing the submission process and initial review of entries for the Ascensia Diabetes Challenge. yet2 will use their experience with open innovation challenges to facilitate the review of entries, manage intellectual property screening and support the judging process, to help protect both the submitters and Ascensia. 

Upon submission of an entry, it will be shared directly with yet 2. yet2 will perform the initial review of all entries for compliance with the entry requirements and Terms and Conditions prior to sharing them with Ascensia and the judging panel. This is designed to avoid sharing any confidential information or unprotected intellectual property included in a submission with Ascensia or the judging panel.

Finalists and the winner will be determined by our judging panel, which consists of independent experts from diabetes, digital health and patient advocacy from across the world, as well as members of the Ascensia Medical, R&D and Commercial teams. The judging panel will review the submissions and the judging criteria that will be used to determine the finalists and the winner of the challenge are outlined below.

From the entries submitted, we will select up to six finalists who will receive a cash prize and be invited to a finalist event. Finalists will be announced shortly after the submission period closes.

After the finalist event, we will select a winner and up to two runners-up for the challenge, each of whom will receive a cash prize to put towards further development of their solution. The winner will also have the opportunity to work with Ascensia on the development of their solution, using the expertise and resources from Ascensia to help bring their solution to market. 

  • User Experience

    degree to which the solution engages people with diabetes, measurably improves the patient experience and demonstrates ease of use

  • Innovation

    degree of novelty or uniqueness vs existing solutions

  • Efficacy

    degree to which the solution improves patient outcomes
    Outcomes could be clinical (HbA1c, trends in glucose values, weight changes) or non-clinical (successful engagement with a program, behavior changes, medication tracking, diet, exercise)

  • Sustainability

    degree to which the solution supports long-term improvement in patient outcomes

  • Scalability

    degree to which the solution could reach millions of patients


  • judge1

    Dr William Polonsky, USA

    Dr Polonsky is an Associate Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego and the President and Founder of the Behavioral Diabetes Institute, the world's first organization wholly dedicated to studying and addressing the unmet psychological needs of people with diabetes. A licensed clinical psychologist and certified diabetes educator, he is an expert on the subject of behavioral diabetes. His most recent research projects have focused on quality of life in diabetes, diabetes-related distress and depression, hypoglycemic fear, blood glucose monitoring behavior and attitudes in people living with diabetes, physician and lay attitudes towards insulin and oral medications, group-based behavior change programs, the influence of continuous glucose monitoring on quality of life, and emotional and behavioral responses to the diagnosis of diabetes. Dr Polonsky is a strong advocate of using digital solutions to support behavior change in diabetes management and has consulted for various companies on the topic of app development in diabetes.

  • judge2

    Dr Masood Nazir, UK

    Dr Masood Nazir is a GP at Hall Green Health in Birmingham who is passionate about improving services for patients and making it easier for colleagues to deliver healthcare. He has over 15 years of experience as a GP and has a special interest in diabetes and clinical informatics. As the National Clinical Lead for the Digital Transformation of General Practice, Dr Nazir has been instrumental in introducing new ways of empowering and communicating with patients. Dr Nazir is the National Clinical Lead for the Patient Online Programme, which has helped over 95% of practices in England offer patients online record access. Dr Nazir is the Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO) and Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO) for NHS Birmingham CrossCity Clinical Commissioning Group, the fourth largest CCG in the UK. He is also the Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) for the Your Care Connected programme, which has brought together 18 organizations and started to successfully enable local record sharing for 1.8 million patients across Birmingham, Solihull and Sandwell. Previously, Dr Nazir was informatics advisor at NHS England. 

  • judge3

    Robin Swindell, UK

    Robin Swindell, known to his friends as Bob, is an experienced reinsurance practitioner who writes about the mutual insurance sector, reinsurance, running and diabetes. He was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in May 2013, and manages the condition with diet, exercise and oral medication. He is a keen runner, occasional cyclist and can usually be found at Oak Hill parkrun at 9 o’clock on Saturday morning. He is one of parkrun's Diabetes Champions and joined the board of Diabetes UK in June 2017. Bob runs the blog and tweets as @fractis.

  • judge4

    Dr Neal Kaufman, USA

    Dr Kaufman is Chief Medical Officer at Canary Health, a transformative healthcare company that provides evidence-based, digital self-management programs which aim to halt the progression of chronic diseases. These programs include diabetes prevention, chronic disease self-management, and family caregiver support. He is an expert on how technology enables lasting behavior change and improves business and health outcomes. Through his roles as clinician and digital health executive, he has provided care to diverse populations, and led efforts to plan, implement, evaluate and evolve health and social services approaches at the individual, family, clinic, community and governmental level. He is Adjunct Professor of Medicine & Public Health at UCLA.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, M.D. from Chicago Medical School, pediatric training at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and Masters of Public Health from UCLA.

  • judge5

    Dr Sidney Yee, Singapore

    Sidney is CEO of Diagnostics Development (DxD) Hub and Executive Vice President of Incubation and Startup Management (ISM) division at ETPL. Her team of diagnostics and medical device specialists in DxD Hub focuses on accelerating productisation of innovative diagnostic technologies.  Sidney leads ISM to strategize and support start-up activities related to technologies and innovations, including setting up A*STARTCentral, a pioneering deep tech open innovation lab.

    A serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in R&D, starting companies and investments prior to joining A*STAR, Sidney continues to be actively involved in med-tech and innovation activities. She is non-executive board member of several medtech companies, is a member of SPRING Singapore’s Network of MedTech Advisors, and serves as a reviewer on various diagnostics and medtech funding schemes.

    Sidney was a researcher with A*STAR’s Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, and a research scholar at The Scripps Research Institute.

FAQs for Challenge Submitters

How is yet2 involved in the Ascensia Diabetes Challenge?
yet2 is facilitating the Ascensia Diabetes Challenge by managing the submission process and initial review of entries. yet2 will use their experience with open innovation challenges to facilitate the review of entries, manage intellectual property screening and support the judging process, to help protect both the submitters and Ascensia.
What are the benefits of yet2 being involved in the Challenge?

There are multiple benefits to having yet2 manage the submission process and initial review of entries. Firstly, it ensures that all submitted responses are reviewed and dealt with in a consistent and timely manner, and that conform with the entry requirements and Terms and Conditions. Secondly, Ascensia understands that solutions can be provided by a variety of sources, some that may require support in describing the solution in a way that enables more clarity on how it solves a need. yet2 can use their significant experience of managing challenges to support submitters, where necessary, to describe their solution in a way that enables more clarity on how it solves a need and provides the best chance of success. Finally, it is important that only non-confidential information is received to protect submitters and eliminate the risk of jeopardizing Ascensia’s ongoing research programs, projects and development concepts in connection with related solutions and technologies.

Is only non-confidential information required in the submissions?
Throughout the submission process, we ask for only information that imposes no obligations of confidentiality for Ascensia or yet2 and does not breach any confidentiality obligations that you, the submitter, owe to others. If confidential information is later required, we will negotiate a separate Confidential Disclosure Agreement prior to sharing of any confidential information.
Why is it important that only non-confidential information is included?
It is possible that Ascensia may be developing similar concepts to those that are being submitted. Therefore, by sharing only non-confidential information it protects the intellectual property position of Ascensia and submitters.
What will happen if confidential information is submitted?
If confidential information is included in an entry, the submitter will be contacted by yet2 to discuss potential revisions to their submission or their submission may be rejected. Information marked as confidential will never be passed on to Ascensia, and inclusion may prevent your submission from progressing.
How do I make a submission?

Once the Challenge is open for entries, click on the "Submission" button to begin making a submission. You will need to read the Terms and Conditions first to ensure you agree with them. To make a submission, you will be asked to complete a "Submitter Information Form" that includes your contact details and a non-confidential overview of your solution. You will also be asked to agree to the Terms and Conditions of submission. Once your entry is submitted, yet2 will review your details and conduct an initial evaluation the solution on behalf of Ascensia, prior to the detailed review of the entry.

What information does my submission need to include?

Contact information is essential for us to follow up. The submission form must also include a clear, non-confidential overview of the proposed solution. You only need to send us an outline of your innovation at this stage, describing how it works in a general technical sense and the benefits your solution would bring to the consumer. Of course, the more information that you are able to provide the better, as long as it is not confidential information. If you have a published patent application or granted patent, that will normally be a sufficient description, and you can simply provide us with the details of the published application or patent. For a more detailed description of submission requirements, please refer to the Terms and Conditions.

Can my submission include attachments?
Yes, submissions can include attachments and accompanying documents (maximum 5 MB). We encourage applicants to provide whatever additional documents they feel will support their submission, as long as these documents comply with the submission requirements.
Do I have to be at least 18 years old to submit an innovation?

Yes, this is the legally-accepted age for agreeing to Terms and Conditions for this activity. For a more detailed description of eligibility requirements, please refer to the Terms and Conditions.

Who decides if my submission is of interest to Ascensia?
Upon submission of an entry, your "Submitter Information Form" will be shared directly with yet 2. yet2 will perform the initial review of all entries for compliance with the entry requirements and Terms and Conditions prior to sharing them with Ascensia and the judging panel. yet2 will also review your "Submitter Information Form" in relation to criteria provided by Ascensia to decide whether your solution meets the brief for the challenge, as outlined in our view of the problem. yet2 will follow up directly with you via email or phone to inform you of the status, which may include no further action, more details required, or of interest for further discussion.
How long will it take for my submission to be reviewed? What are the stages?

Upon submitting your "Submitter Information Form", you will receive an email confirming receipt of your submission, and you will be provided with a unique submission identification number. Contact will then be made within five working days to inform you of the status of your submission.

  • Reject - solution does not meet challenge criteria
  • Under further review

Following further review, the following stages may apply and depending on which stage you are at, you will then be contacted directly by yet2 for discussion:

  • Further details are required to clarify information provided
  • Solution is under review by Ascensia and the judging panel
Is there a reward for submitting my innovation?
There will be no reward for your submission to the challenge in the initial stages. Finalists will be selected from the entries submitted and there will be a winner and runners-up selected from the finalists. Finalists, runners-up and the winner will all receive cash prizes. In addition, the winner will have the opportunity to work with Ascensia on the further development of their solution. Ascensia hopes to provide its expertise and resources in a collaboration to help towards bringing the winning solution to market. In this situation, a mutually agreed contract would be negotiated on a case by case basis. This could include for example (but not limited to) product supply, license, joint venture, technology or patent acquisition, or similar arrangements.
Do I have to accept the Submission Terms & Conditions?
Yes, these not only outline the rules of the challenge, but they are designed to protect you and your rights, and to eliminate the risk of jeopardizing Ascensia’s ongoing research programs, projects and developing concepts.
Can I make more than one submission? If I have more than one submission, will I have to agree to the Terms & Conditions for each submission?

Yes, more than one submission can be made, as long as each submission conforms with the submission requirements. Each time an individual submission is made, the submitter must agree to the Terms & Conditions.

Who do I reach out to with any further questions?
If you have any questions, please contact