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Any professional knows the importance of having good contacts. Alumni networks are one of the most useful networking sources and, if the network is Europe-wide, the opportunities multiply.

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), the first European initiative to promote European competitiveness and leadership in innovation, is promoting EIT Alumni to bring together professionals that are doing or have done one of the training programs under the EIT umbrella. One of them is Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona), a groundbreaking program promoted by Biocat to develop future leaders and entrepreneurs in healthcare innovation inspired by the prestigious Stanford Biodesign program.

This October, EIT Alumni held the CONNECT 2017 event in Budapest with more than 100 students and alumni from all over Europe. These included María Fernández, who holds a degree in Biomedicine and, after working at the Max-Planck Institute and at Grifols, is currently doing the d·HEALTH Barcelona program. “For a student that has gone through d·HEALTH Barcelona, being part of EIT Alumni is a unique opportunity to stay up-to-date on what is going on in Europe in terms of innovation, technology and, in our case, healthcare,” Fernández said.

Fernández says that participating in the EIT Alumni event in Budapest was “a unique experience on a personal level.” Just a few weeks from presenting her final business project at the d·HEALTH Barcelona graduation ceremony, she is already thinking about how to take advantage of the opportunities available through this network. “Being a member of EIT Alumni is key for my personal and professional future,” she stresses. “It is the most direct way to stay connected to the European innovation and start-up ecosystem after graduating from d·HEALTH Barcelona.”

One of EIT Alumni’s biggest goals for the coming year is to foster “cross-KIC” communication, getting all of the EIT communities (not only in Health but also the Digital, Food and Energy communities, for example) to work on joint projects and initiatives. The EIT Health community, specifically, is starting to organize an internal structure, mainly volunteers, to launch an online platform and start organizing activities to help grow the community and tackle pan-European projects.


d·HEALTH Barcelona accepting applications for next edition

Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona) is a groundbreaking 39-week fellowship inspired by the prestigious Stanford Biodesign program that seeks to train and guide fellows through the biodesign process. Several business projects have already been launched by fellows from the first three editions and 97% of alumni have found a job in the healthcare sector.

During the program, multidisciplinary teams of four fellows with experience in the life sciences, engineering, business and design undergo a full innovation cycle – from identifying needs in hospitals to prototyping – guided by more than 70 international experts.

Called “probably the most impressive accelerator/fellowship program we've seen emerge in Europe” by Health Startup Europe, d·HEALTH Barcelona works with Hospital Clinic, Hospital Sant Joan de Déu, Institut Guttmann and the Vall d'Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus. The fifth course of the fellowship will begin in January 2018.

As part of the EIT Health consortium, the d·HEALTH teams have the chance to interact with fellows on similar courses elsewhere in Europe: validating the needs identified in other ecosystems (Karolinska, Sweden and Galway, Ireland), connecting with other biomedical and  entrepreneurial ecosystems, and attending meetings with fellows from other programs to share experiences.

d·HEALTH Barcelona is now accepting applications for the next class of fellows, which will begin in January 2018. Find out how to apply here.

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