Design Health Barcelona launches, the first biodesign programme in Spain

In 2013, Biocat launched the Design Health Barcelona (d·HEALTH Barcelona), the flagship programme of Moebio, an initiative whose main objective is to develop entrepreneurial talent in the health and life sciences sectors.

In particular, d·HEALTH Barcelona is the first postgraduate programme in biodesign in the country. Inspired by the prestigious Biodesign Fellowship at the University of Stanford (USA), the programme creates innovators and promotes entrepreneurship in the hospital environment, each accompanying their fellows from the detection of clinical needs and business opportunities to the start-up of their projects. The goal of d·HEALTH Barcelona is both to train agents of innovation and accelerate the arrival of new products and services on to the market.

The design and preparatory work for the programme was carried out in the first half of 2013, and was presented to society in a public ceremony held on 13th April, 2013, in the presence of Anurag Mairal, director of Global Exchange Programmes of the Biodesign Fellowship at Stanford University. The course was officially launched on 13th September, 2013 with the inaugural lecture given by Dr. Josep Amat, an industrial engineer, Emeritus professor of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and an entrepreneur.

The launch of the programme became a reality with the conclusion of agreements with the collaborating organisations, the design of the academic programme and the selection of the teaching staff (more than 50 experts in science, business and entrepreneurship, from a dozen countries); in addition, a wide communication and marketing campaign was carried out to raise awareness of d·HEALTH and attract students through information sessions, public presentations and the development of various communication materials.

Particularly notable among these tasks was the formation of the Moebio Advisory Council (Advisory Board) which has worked together in defining the development strategy for the training programme.

The Advisory Board is made up of renowned professionals of the calibre of Yossi Bahagon (Health Insight, Jerusalem, Israel); John Collins (CIMIT, Boston, USA); Hala Fadel (Comgest and the MIT Enterprise Forum for the Pan Arab Region, Beirut and Tripoli, Lebanon); Salim Ismail (Singularity University, Silicon Valley, USA); Neo Kok-Beng (Singapore-Stanford Biodesign Faculty, Singapore); Anurag Mairal (Stanford University, Silicon Valley, USA); Lluís Torner (Institute of Photonic Sciences, ICFO, Barcelona); Menno Van Dijk (THNK. The Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership, Amsterdam, the Netherlands); Xavier Verdaguer (entrepreneur, Barcelona and Silicon Valley); and Christer Windeløv-Lidzélius (KaosPilot, Aarhus, Denmark).

After a rigorous process, 12 participants (Fellows) were selected for the 2013-2014 course, from the United States, Germany, Italy and Spain, and who, between them, have a total of 105 scientific publications, 6 patents and 18 professional awards. Their training and experience in design, engineering, economics and science was combined into three teams which have created the first class of d·HEALTH Barcelona. Among other activities, the teams carried out a period of clinical immersion in a hospital. In the first edition there were three Catalan reference centres as partners of the programme: the Hospital Clínic, the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu and the Institut Guttmann.

In addition, Biocat has also gained sponsorship from companies and entities such as Sanofi, Accenture, AGAUR and HUBc.


Boost to the candidacy for the EIT Health and Nutrition KICs

The d·HEALTH Barcelona programme forms part of a series of activities that Biocat has carried out in recent years to strengthen the position of Catalonia as a node for a future Health KICS (Knowledge and Innovation Community) of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). At the same time as the launch of this training programme, in 2013 Biocat, in conjunction with the University of Barcelona, has led the task of putting together a strong bid for the Healthy Lifestyle and Active Ageing KIC under the umbrella of the InnoLife international consortium.

The main tasks have been the identification and involvement of research and education companies and organisations that will form part of the Spanish node of the KIC, and the active participation in the executive committee and the various working groups of the consortium, which includes agencies from Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden. The thematic priorities, innovation strategy and the governance model have been outlined for the KIC to coincide with a winning proposal for the selection which will be made by the EIT in 2014.

Furthermore, Biocat, with the support of the Barcelona City Council, has taken part in the working group which is coordinating the Catalan contribution to one of the consortia competing for the Food4Future KIC. The EIT intends to select the managing consortium for this KIC in 2016.