EIT Health: the BioRegion at the heart of the European community of innovation in health

In December 2014, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) selected Innolife (EIT Health) to set up a knowledge and innovation community (KIC) in healthy living and active ageing. Biocat is an associate partner in EIT Health and, since 2008, had been working to promote the bid that was officially submitted to the EIT in September 2014. Biocat coordinated and dynamized the organizations participating in the Catalan/Spanish node in order to ensure that the proposal submitted was in line with the interests of the Catalan/Spanish ecosystem and had all of the elements needed to be awarded the KIC. The proposal establishes that the co-location center (CLC) of the Spanish EIT Health node will have its headquarters in the city of Barcelona.

The EIT Health consortium is made up of a total of 144 leading companies, universities and research centers from fourteen European countries. This initiative, one of the most ambitious carried out in the health arena with public funding, is kicking off with a budget of €2.1 billions and aims to generate roughly 80 new business ideas by the end of 2016 and 140 before 2018. In short, the aim is to create some 70 start-ups per year and get one million students involved in the programs promoted by EIT Health. 

EIT Health is a consortium with nodes in Barcelona, Paris (France), London (United Kingdom), Rotterdam (Benelux), Stockholm (Sweden/Denmark) and Heidelberg (Germany). The University of Barcelona, with support from Biocat, is leading the Spanish node, which is made up of 25 organizations –companies, universities, research centers, hospitals and technology centers- committed to innovation in health and its impact on improving quality of life for society as a whole. The core partners include Ferrer, IESE, the Polytechnic University of Madrid, the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) of the CERCA network, the Biomechanics Institute of Valencia, the University of Barcelona and the Madrid Hospital Consortium. 

The other associate partners in the Spanish node, in addition to Biocat, are: GMV,Premap Seguridad y Salud, Linkcare, PAU Education, Biopolis, Inveniam innovation, "la Caixa" Foundation, Leitat, Sant Joan de Deu Healthcare Park, Servicio madrileño de Salud (SERMAS), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Catalan Agency for Health Information, Assessment and Quality, Sedecal, Other Side Mirror (OSM), Alphasip and Telefónica.


Next challenge: KIC in food

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology(EIT) created the first three knowledge and innovation communities (KICs) in 2009, focusing on climate change, information technology and sustainable energy. The EU decided to expand the EIT’s activity between 2014 and 2020 under the Horizon 2020 Framework Program for Research and Innovation, and to increase the total budget to €2.7 trillions. The call for KICs in health, as well as one in raw materials, was launched in 2014.

In 2016, the EIT will launch a call for proposals for the KIC Food4future, for which Biocat has also been working to promote Catalan participation in one of the European consortia planning to submit a bid.