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By Biocat

The international campus of excellence in health of the University of Barcelona (HUBc) has approved a document that will serve as a foundation to prepare a bid and develop the proposal for Catalonia Region Health Innovation KIC: Barcelona InnoHealth, under which future and current projects would be grouped more efficiently and Catalonia could be placed on the international map of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) in the field of innovation in healthy life and active aging.

This is one of the topics that were agreed upon at the third plenary assembly of HUBc, held on 22 March and presided over by the Rector of the University of Barcelona (UB) Dr. Dídac Ramírez, which featured representatives from the 26 member organizations, plus the Rector’s Delegate for HUBc Dr. Josep Samitier, Vice-Rector of Research Dr. Jordi Alberch, and Campus of Excellence Technical Director Ernest Trias. Biocat is one of the companies that make up the HUBc.

It is expected that in 2014, as part of the EIT and within the European Horizon 2020 programme, there will be a European call to create new Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), which will include innovation in healthy living and active aging as a subject. KICs are innovation webs featuring universities, research centers, companies and regional or local agencies aimed attackling the problems affecting society on a European level, by developing initiatives to increase prosperity through knowledge. Management of these KICs combines education with entrepreneurship, research with innovation, and the public sector with the private, in order to establish partnerships and joint projects to improve the social and economic wellbeing of European countries. The budget for these KICs could reach €350 millions.

HUBc in figures

In its first year and a half, HUBchas set up the nucleus of the campus and has defined the operational procedures and governing model. In total, they have adjudicated funding for 23 projects for a total of €14,860,842, through subsidies and credits from the International Campus of Excellence (ICE) 2010, Innocampus 2010 and Enfortiment 2011 projects, granted by the ministries of Education, Culture and Sport, and Economic Affairs and Competitiveness. The UB manages just over 50% of the budget for the subsidized projects. The rest are led by member organizations that coordinate some of the approved projects, including Biocat, the Torribera Food campus, the Biopol Consortium of l’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Biopol’H), the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), BellvitgeBiomedical Research Institute(Idibell), Barcelona’sHospital ClínicandBellvitge University Hospital.

Noteworthy among the projects being carried out include the construction of the new annex at the Bellvitge campus, a five-story building that will house classrooms, laboratories and other teaching spaces and services expected to be finished by January 2013; the organization of an international congress on public health and healthy ageing in Barcelona in late 2013; and the development of a professional training center, an initiative that responds to the ministerial policy of generating integrated professional training environments at the CEI and will feature participation from Biopol’Hand the L’Hospitalet City Council.

At the assembly, indicators for the 2008-2012 period were also presented. Regarding research, nearly 1,000 articles were published in indexed journals during that period of time, and the impact factor has gone from 3.42in 2008 to 4.83 in 2010. Other indicators refer to research personnel, which has increased by 1,226 individuals mainly due to an increase in pre-doctoral internships. From an economic standpoint, revenue from projects funded through national and international calls for proposals has increased by more than €8 millions. The number of partnerships and collaborative research studies at the HUBchas also increased 74%, mainly due to participation in CIBER projects. Regarding healthcare, the number of surgical interventions and major outpatient surgeries has increased by more than 100,000 cases. With regard to the private sector, nine spin-offs were created in 2010, three more than in 2008. And, although the number of national patents has decreased, nearly double the number of international patents has been registered.

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