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For a life sciences and healthcare ecosystem like the BioRegion of Catalonia, with over 1,200 companies and 89 research centers, the transition to a new economic model is a considerable challenge. This is why Biocat Scientific and International Relations Director Montserrat Daban shared her belief that it is important to manage it together, collaborating with other European regions, at an event hosted by the Finnish region of Helsinki-Uusimaa. This event kicked off the region’s year as “European Entrepreneurial Region 2022” and brought to a close the European project “Fostering collaboration among EER labelled regions”. “We have to work with the best partners, with shared agendas and a common roadmap for all the ecosystems. We have to take action to decarbonize the sector.” 

The life sciences and healthcare sector has a complicated relationship with climate change. On one hand, the direct and indirect (through natural disasters including pandemics like Covid-19) effects of global warming on health are expected to be the biggest health threat and challenge in the 21st century. But, on the other hand, the joint emissions of hospitals, sector services and the medical-device supply chain are highly polluting. “If the healthcare sector was a country, it would be the fifth largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions on the planet,” warned Montserrat Daban at the event. 

Biocat has been invited to represent Catalonia among participants from the European Commission, the European Committee of the Regions, entrepreneurs and stakeholders in innovation ecosystems, and the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, which hosted the “Connect and Rebound” event. The panel featured Biocat, representing Catalonia, as well as the regional experiences from the North-Brabant Region (Netherlands), Region of Central Macedonia (Greece), Pomorskie Regional Government (Poland), Navarra Regional Government (Navarra) and Ecoplus Lower Austria (Austria). 

The Biocat Scientific and International Relations Director also presented the main assets of the BioRegion of Catalonia, highlighting the upward trend in digital health. “Barcelona has moved up to the fifth spot on the ranking of European cities with the most important rounds of investment in digital health, behind only London, Stockholm, Oxford and Berlin, with the number of companies increasing six-fold in recent years.” This digitalization of the system is driving the transformation of healthcare and easing the ecological transition by taking advantage of the opportunities of new technology.  

Participants in the event included leading companies in green technology and the digital transformation, the Finnish innovation fund, and the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency. Apostolos Tzitzikostas from Greece, who is president of the European Committee of the Regions, inaugurated the event and Markku Markkula of Finland, former president of that body and current chair of the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council board, brought it to a close.

European Entrepreneurial Region (EER)

The European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) is a project that identifies and recognizes cities and regions in the European Union that have an outstanding innovative entrepreneurial policy, regardless of their size, wealth or competencies. The regions and cities with the most credible, forward-thinking and promising vision plan are awarded the European Entrepreneurial Region (EER) label for a specific year.

The EER project aims to foster the development and implementation of specific collaborative action plans to support practical collaborations among regions to help businesspeople scale up in the single market. It identifies strategic themes, based on mapping, analysis and interconnections among regions with the EER label. Catalonia received this label in 2012.

The EER project drawing to a close with this event helped map Catalonia’s capacities in medical technology, among other sectors, and it is in this context that Daban launched a specific proposal to continue the collaboration, based on adopting more agile and sustainable technology to tackle the sector’s challenges.  



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