Refugee First Response Center honored with international Aspirin Social Innovation Award 2016

December 16, 2016 – Leverkusen/Hamburg ( The Refugee First Response Center (RFRC) is a winner of the Aspirin Social Innovation Award 2016. RFRC was honored as an outstanding social innovation in health and nutrition related areas worldwide – all winners and nominees can be seen at:

The Bayer Cares Foundation is presenting the Aspirin Social Innovation Award to five international initiatives for new approaches in the areas of health care and nutrition. The award winners are initiatives of entrepreneurial social pioneers who are committed to improving living conditions. A panel of experts selected four winners from 25 candidates and one winner was chosen in an online vote in which just under 30,000 people from 91 countries took part.

The RFRC is a medical first response clinic, custom built inside a shipping container. The mobile and high-tech solution for humanitarian health response was developed by a team of innovators in response to the refugee crisis that hit Europe in the summer of 2015. The first pilot was co created by Cisco and MLOVE with partners SAVD and avodaq and is now geared to scale.

The main features of the mobile clinic are connected health video terminals that are used for live translation services in ten refugee accommodations in Hamburg, Germany with 50 languages available to doctors and medical staff just by the press of a button.


Thimo V. Schmitt-Lord, Executive Director Bayer Foundations said: “We have created the Aspirin Social Innovation Award to honor outstanding social innovators in health and nutrition related areas worldwide. We have been impressed by the passion and dedication of the people behind the nominated social impact projects.


As an Award winner, RFRC convinced the jury with their goal to scale the medical container clinic globally, especially during the refugee crisis. The translation features and the mobile character of the connected shipping container – combined with the early pilot projects – shows the inventor spirit of pioneering change makers that we seek to honor with the Aspirin Social Innovation Award.”

RFRC was created with the cooperation of the University Medical Center of Hamburg Eppendorf (UKE), the Hamburg Health Department and the German Red Cross. It just took six weeks, from the first idea and design sketch to the final installation of the first pilot unit. The Otto Foundation supported the funding of ten extended units for $1million.


Recently, the RFRC clinic has been started to be deployed in the hot spots close to the Syrian refugee crisis in Samos, Greece and Beqaa Valley, Lebanon, where pilot programs will be launched in the beginning of 2017 to adapt the container clinic to local needs like telemedicine, translational services and other use cases.


Harald Neidhardt, CEO, MLOVE and Co-Creator, RFRC commented: “We are proud about the recognition of our joint RFRC initiative. We take the Aspirin Social Innovation Award as an inspiration to continue our dream to scale for good and bring 100x RFRC clinics to refugee hotspots where help is needed most.

The Aspirin Social Innovation Award honors a fantastic year of achievements for the RFRC team, with installing ten container clinics in Hamburg and the first pilots to be deployed in Greece and Lebanon.”

Michael Ganser
, Senior Vice President Central Europe at Cisco added: “It all started in Hamburg with an idea from a local ecosystem of innovative partners and passionate friends. Today the RFRC is making a global impact.

We are honored that the RFRC project is receiving the Aspirin Award as a pioneering social innovation. This technology is changing life for the better, supporting people in need and enhancing the working conditions of medical staff. We supported the team from the beginning and salute all partners involved for the continued passion.”


The RFRC team hopes to inspire others to join us to scale to 100x RFRC clinics where help is needed most; or engage in meaningful innovation projects with social impact – whether as entrepreneurs, startups or corporate leaders. A video documentary about the origin of the RFRC and people involved can be seen at


RFRC – Refuge First Response Center
Refugee First Response Center ( is a mobile health clinic in a shipping container that provides ad hoc video translation services to connect doctors and patients with over 750 live interpreters that are fluent in more than 50 languages just at a press of a button.
The RFRC pilot was co-created by Mirko Bass, a business development evangelist at US tech multinational Cisco and Harald Neidhardt, CEO of innovation agency MLOVE. In just 6 weeks, the idea became a reality with the first installation in Hamburg and the support of local partners Andreas Kusch, CEO of avodaq, Dr. Peter Merschitz, CTO of SAVD and their teams. In just five months, over 5,000 medical exams with live interpreter sessions were successfully completed with the medical staff of the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE).
The project creates significant savings in operational costs and provides treatment rooms with privacy and telemedicine services. After the first pilot donated by Cisco, the Dorit and Alexander Otto Foundation provided the funding of $1million for 10 more RFRC units for the City of Hamburg. They are in operation by the German Red Cross in the largest refugee accommodation centers in Hamburg and have served 14,000+ medical exams to date.
Two international RFRC installations are being installed in Samos, Greece and Beqaa Valley, Lebanon – piloting local use cases including telemedicine, translation services, family re-unification, asylum application and others. These pilots are part of the RFRC mission to #scaleforgood and grow to 100x RFRC clinics to be installed in hotspots and along the migration routes of the Syrian refugee crisis. Together with the teams of Cisco Greece & Lebanon, the RFRC team is cooperating with local NGOs in Greece (StartupBoat) and Lebanon (Beyond Association) and other partners to establish successful pilot units.


Aspirin Social Innovation Award 2016


The new Aspirin Social Innovation Award is a further development of the Aspirin Social Award that has been presented in Germany since 2010. Now international, this award supports social innovations in the fields of health care and nutrition that help close gaps in supply and have the potential to bring about systemic change.


The Bayer Foundations has wanted to honor the most powerful social change makers in the world – people with new answers for the challenges of society in areas connected to health and nutrition. Therefore the Bayer Foundation organized the award in strategic partnership with non-profit organizations and leading entrepreneurship networks.


The distinguished international foundation jury selected four winners in a competitive multi-step process with the following selection criteria: Innovative power, Excellence of doing, Opportunity for change, relevance for society and Entrepreneurial spirit.


Bayer Cares Foundation


As the social welfare foundation of the innovation company Bayer, the Bayer Cares Foundation sees itself in particular as an initiator, promoter and partner for innovation at the interface between industry and the social sector. The sponsorship programs are focused on people – their commitment to public welfare, their wealth of ideas in fulfilling social needs, and those that arise in times of emergency.


The foundation’s funding activities are a central element of Bayer’s global social commitment amounting to approximately EUR 50 million annually – with the focus on promoting scientific education and leading-edge research, as well as on providing health care and nutrition and meeting the basic social needs of people who live near the company’s sites. More at


Media Contacts


Harald Neidhardt         MLOVE         +49 160 944 77 555

Mirko Bass                       CISCO            +49 175 260 0081 

Dirk Frenzel                   Bayer              +49 214 3029908