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Promoting mobility and exchange among students is one of the objectives of EIT Health, the most important health consortium in Europe. One of the initiatives aimed at achieving this goal is the EIT Health Innovation Fellowships project, led by three biodesign and health entrepreneurship programs: Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona), an initiative of Biocat, Bioinnovate Ireland at the University of Galway (Ireland) and Clinical Innovation Fellowships at the Karolinska Institute (Sweden).

For the first activity in this project, fellows from the d·HEALTH Barcelona master visited Galway from 25 to 27 May to learn about the ecosystem in the region, exchange experiences with fellows from the Bioinnovate Ireland program and get feedback on the needs the d·HEALTH fellows are working to identify. During their stay, the fellows attended the closing event for Bioinnovate Ireland on 27 May (the program ran from August to June). At the symposium, the Galway fellows presented the product or service they are working on, as well as a study on the target it is geared towards and the potential market.

This year, the Bioinnovate Ireland teams, made up of four people with a senior profile, did the clinical immersion to detect needs in otorhinolaryngology, dermatology and cardiothoracic health departments.

In addition to these presentations, former fellows explained the progress of their projects. These included the start-up Embo Medical, which has already launched two products to market. The other four are in the clinical development phase.

After the symposium, there was a gala dinner to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the program. Today, there are 14 active biodesign projects that have come out of the Bioinnovate Ireland program, one of which has been purchased by an investment fund.


Immersion in the Galway ecosystem

During their visit, the d·HEALTH Barcelona fellows met personally with Bioinnovate Ireland fellows, first in a roundtable where they all shared their experience in general and later in separate groups.

“Our students haven't chosen the medical need they will work on yet, but they know which ones they are most interested in and took advantage of the meetings to get feedback on their preferences,” said Biocat Head of Innovation and Talent Development Raquel Riera.

To round off the visit, the group held two additional meetings. The first, with Brendan Boland, former fellow from the 2014 edition and CEO of AltSurgical, the company he founded through the Bioinnovate Ireland program and where he continues to work with one member of that team. Boland explains his path after leaving the program.

The second meeting was with John Linehan, a member of the Bioinnovate Ireland advisory board and professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University (California). In his inspirational speech, Linehan gave the d·HEALTH fellows some advice and explained how to break into the US market and what type of aid there is for start-ups. Linehan collaborated very actively from Stanford to create Bioinnovate Ireland.

In fact, Bioinnovate Ireland is one of just four programs in Europe working to the Stanford biodesign methodology, which it is affiliated with. The other three are d·HEALTH Barcelona, Clinical Innovation Fellowships Karolinska and INNO-X Healthcare in Denmark. After this first experience, the aim is for these programs to continue collaborating to do exchanges in Europe. 


d·HEALTH Barcelona 2017

The next edition of the d·HEALTH Barcelona masters program will start in January 2017. The pre-inscription period is now open for applicants with degrees in business, design, engineering or the life sciences who are interested in going into business in the healthcare sector. The deadline for applications is 11 November and anyone who signs up before 29 July 2016 will get a special "Early Bird" rate, with a 10% discount.

For more information on d·HEALTH Barcelona and how to submit an application:


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