Ever since he was a kid, António Bandeira, claimed he would become a researcher and create something new in a world where everything had already been invented (shortly after the football player phase). Growing up he never skipped an opportunity to learn something, to participate in events or to be challenged, and this mindset brought him to his 5th year as a medical student at the University of Porto, member of his faculty’s student union board, twice winner of i-days, and innovation leader.

After spending a year in Lisbon studying Mechanical Engineering, António missed the human component on his degree and started to think about other professional paths. Passionate about challenges above all, he thought of medicine. He could deal with people, work in teams and the human body is in constant change such as health research, so he would always have to overcome himself. He chose the University of Porto as one of the best in Portugal, and since he has been there he has participated in several activities related to health and innovation, trying to keep up with trends and improving himself.

Innovation days were one of these opportunities. He first heard about it in 2019, when he participated and won the first edition of this event. “I-days make innovation much more tangible. Before, I had trouble understanding how one can look at an object and have an idea that was never thought of. Now I understand that innovation is a process done step by step and that deconstructing the problem and not just the solution is key”, he explains.

One year later, as a member of his faculty’s students union, António was arranging an event about innovation and entrepreneurship in health and invited EIT Health University of Porto to organize an i-day as the final activity. He explains that “it doesn’t make sense that health care professionals are not involved in innovation, it’s like a chef who doesn’t taste his food. The event I was organizing aimed to put students in direct contact with innovation, to open new career paths for them, and that’s where the idea of an i-day came from”.

After “being on the other side” of the event, hearing new ideas and learning different things, Antonio was highly motivated for attending another one as a participant, and so he did in November 2020. Although being a different experience – due to covid-19 restrictions, the event was held online – his team won. As an award, they participated on the i-days Winners’ Event and, despite losing first place, the medical student highlights how much he as learned and gained: “I have an ‘idea buddy’, with whom I usually brainstorm. Since I participated in i-days, our discussions are much more productive because it helps me catalyse ideas. Besides, I now know which are the necessary steps to make ideas come true.”

António says that the tools he learned at the innovation days are not just for his professional life, but have also changed the way he sees the world around him “when I face a problem now, I don’t just think about the immediate solution, I try to understand the reasoning behind it and this is very helpful when dealing with people too”.

Overall, he considers his participation on innovation days a great experience, that opened many opportunities for his future, and does not plan to stop his collaboration with EIT Health here. And we are glad to hear it.