Led by the University of Barcelona and promoted by Biocat, Spanish participation in the winning InnoLife project includes public and private organizations from Catalonia, Madrid, the Valencian Community, Andalusia and Aragon.
With a total budget of €2,100 millions, InnoLife is one of the largest publicly funded life sciences initiatives in the world.
Barcelona 10 December 2014. Yesterday the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) announced the winner of the call for a new Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) in health, focused on healthy living and active ageing: InnoLife. This proposal is led in Spain by the University of Barcelona (UB), based around the HUBc health campus of international excellence, and promoted by Biocat. InnoLife will have a hub in Spain, located at the Barcelona Science Park (PCB).
InnoLife is a consortium of more than 144 leading European companies, universities and research centers from 14 different countries. With a total budget of €2,100 millions, InnoLife is one of the largest publicly funded life sciences initiatives in the world. In the first year of activity, 2016, the InnoLife consortium hopes to create roughly 80 new business ideas, and 140 by 2018. The aim is to create 70 start-ups per year and have one million students enrolled in programs promoted by Innolife.
InnoLife will have nodes in Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden and Germany. The InnoLife headquarters in Barcelona at the PCB will provide access to European funding for education and innovation projects.
UB Rector Dídac Ramírez believes being awarded this project is one of the “most important” milestones for the University of Barcelona in the past five years and says, “the Barcelona node of Innolife is an example of the potential the health arena has at the University of Barcelona.”
In the words of Josep Samitier, UB professor of Electronics, director of the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia and one of the main promoters of the project, “heading up a node of the KIC in health will allow us to put ourselves at the core of a European alliance for knowledge and entrepreneurship with clear possibilities to drive the Catalan and Spanish economies by creating new technology, services and jobs.”
For her part, CEO of Biocat and PCB Montserrat Vendrell says that InnoLife being awarded the KIC is “the fruit of a lot of effort by many companies and organizations committed to innovation, which will now have a tool close at hand to fuel their projects.”
UB Vice-Rector for Research, Innovation and Transfer Jordi Alberch believes “it is a unique opportunity to take advantage of our assets in research and lay the goundwork for a new way to do research, with closer ties to society and business.”
InnoLife aims to allow us to live longer, better lives: ageing with more autonomy and moving towards sustainability in healthcare systems. To do so, the project will develop products, services and concepts under the framework of joint projects featuring universities, research centers, hospitals and companies.
Who makes up InnoLife?
The University of Barcelona and Biocat have promoted and coordinated the participation of Catalan and Spanish institutions in the InnoLife bid. Participants include world-renowned companies like Siemens Healthcare, Roche Diagnostics, Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Intel, as well as universities that lead global rankings such as Imperial College London, University of Oxford, University Pierre and Marie Curie (UPMC), Karolinska Institutet and Erasmus University.
The Spanish node –led from Catalonia— is made up of various core partners from the business sector, like Ferrer; academia, like the University of Barcelona, IESE and the Polytechnic University of Madrid; and research, like the CERCA Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), the Biomechanics Institute of Valencia, Hospital Clinic and the Madrid Hospital Consortium.
The other associate partners in the Spanish node, in addition to Biocat, are: GMV, Societat de prevenció FREMAP, Linkcare, PAU Education, BIOPOLOIS SL, Inveniam innovation, La Caixa Foundation, LEITAT, Sant Joan de Déu Healthcare Park, Madrid Health Service (SERMAS), Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Catalan Agency for Health Information, Assessment and Quality, SEDECAL, OSM, Alphasip and Telefónica.
What is a knowledge and innovation community (KIC)
The EIT, which was created in 2008, is the first European initiative to fully integrate all three sides of the knowledge triangle —training, research and innovation— through its knowledge and innovation communities (KIC). There are currently three active KICs: InnoEnergy (focusing on sustainable energy), Climate-KIC (climate change mitigation and adaption) and ICT Labs (future information and communication societies). In 2014, the EIT selected the Innolife project to form a new KIC in healthy living and active ageing and the RawMatTERS project for one focusing on raw materials.
The EIT and the various KICs play a key role in the new European research and innovation strategy, Horizon 2020, which was approved in 2011 and kicked off in 2014.
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