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Biocat and the Barcelona Science Park (PCB) hosted an event to resolve any doubts about the calls, funding mechanisms and pathways to access funding.The hybrid online/in-person session on October 6 featured Mariona Sanz, general director of European Funds for the Government of Catalonia, and Ramon Maspons, director of Innovation at AQuAS. The event was led by Biocat Scientific and International Relations Director Montserrat Daban and inaugurated by PCB Director Maria Terrades.

Here we'll go over the five key points innovative startups and companies in the BioRegion need to remember if they want to get funding:

1. What are the Next Generation Funds?

Many times, we refer to Next Generation as if it were one fund, but it's really several with different purposes and procedures, with a total of €750 billion that the member states will receive between 2021 and 2026. 

Two of these funds are the most relevant:  

  • The Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), with €672.5 billion (90% of the total funds), which will help fuel recovery in sustainability, digitalization and re-industrialization. From this package, Spain will receive €140 billion, €70.472 billion of which will be in loans (not yet activated) and €69.528 in grants.

  • The REACT EU funds, with €47.5 billion (6% of the total), to fight the effects of the pandemic on the traditional cohesion policy. In Spain, we will end up getting €12.436 billion to fund employment programs, investment in products and services for healthcare systems, SMEs, investment in facilities that provide basic citizen services and economic measures for regions hit hardest by Covid-19.

The difference between these two funds is that the State is the only body with the authority to manage RRF funds. Autonomous communities can only manage actions involving REACT EU funding. 

2. How are these grants from the RRF funds being rolled out? 

Mainly through state calls. The Ministries are rolling out most of the actions through calls geared towards fueling the recovery of the whole economic, social and business fabric. 

3. What are the best opportunities among the calls published so far?

So far, the Spanish State has published 55 calls backed by the €7.82 billion from the RRF funds. And, about these, Mariona Sanz had a message for the audience: “Submit your proposals to these calls because they are the main opportunity for resources for companies. Especially in terms of research and healthcare.” Nevertheless, the General Director of European Funds for the Government of Catalonia reminded participants that the Horizon Europe funds “are still available and it is important to consider them as well.” 

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation has published the most calls (52.8% of the total), ahead of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (12.79%), the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism (10.86%) and the Ministry of Science and Innovation (8.43%). 

4. How does the evolving fund management affect projects on emerging therapies and personalized medicine? 

The ‘Health 2030’ project, which encompasses 295 transformative Catalan projects related to health that various sector stakeholders (including Biocat) took part in to access Next Generation funds directly, has become a strategic project to put each of the proposals in the most appropriate funding instrument. “The projects for Health 4.0 and system assessment using data are covered. However, the ones in emerging therapies and personalized medicine still have to be submitted to the State RRF calls, and that means we have to have a clear view of the system,” warned Ramon Maspons. 

5. What expectations are there for the Strategic Projects for Economic Recovery and Transformation (PERTES) in cutting-edge healthcare?

According to the AQuAS Director of Innovation, management of this project is complex because it falls under the purview of four ministries. “The list will be coordinated by the Carlos III Health Institute but each ministry will work independently on its own calls, which won’t necessarily be coordinated,” he noted. 

In terms of publishing new calls to fund healthcare projects, Ramon Maspons ensured the audience that “no new calls are being created; existing ones are being topped up with European funds.”  

Montse Daban closed the session by explaining the European Boost4Health funding program to support companies’ internationalization. Other organizations from the ecosystem collaborated to make the session possible, including the Catalan Ministries of Health and the Economy, AQUAS, CataloniaBio & HealthTech, ACCIÓ and the Interreg North-West Europe program.


If you want to recover the session, access the video of the day and the presentations of the speakers who participated.

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