Last December, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) constituted the Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) in health, EIT Health. It is the most important European initiative to promote entrepreneurship and develop innovations in healthy living and active ageing. The co-location centre in Spain, EIT Health Spain, headquartered at the Parc Científic de Barcelona (PCB) and led by the University of Barcelona (UB), is composed by 25 leading organizations —universities, companies, research centres, hospitals and technological centres— committed to health innovation and its impact on the improvement of citizens' quality of life. Today, the EIT Spain is presented at the PCB.

The event has been chaired by the rector of the UB, Dídac Ramírez, and attended by the secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation in the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, Carmen Vela, and the secretary for Universities and Research of the Government of Catalonia, Antoni Castellà, as well as other institutional representatives. The presentation aims at describing the general objectives of EIT Health and the particular goals of EIT Spain.

EIT Health is a consortium of more than 144 leading businesses, research centres and universities from fourteen European countries. With a total volume of 2.1 billion euros it is one of the largest public funded initiatives for health worldwide. In 2016, the consortium expects to incubate approximately eighty new business ideas, rising to 140 in 2018. It aims to create seventy start-ups per year and have one million students taking part in its educational online programmes (EIT Alumni).

EIT Health co-location centres are in Spain, France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden and Germany. Barcelona headquarters will provide access to European funds for education and innovation projects.
Spanish partners are: University of Barcelona - Hospital Clínic, Atos, IESE Business School, Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), Biomechanics Institute of Valencia (IBV),Technical University of Madrid (UPM), Ferrer International and Abbott Laboratories.

Associate partners are: Biocat, Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia (AQuAS), Biopolis, Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Fundació Bancària la Caixa Gallina Blanca, GMV, Inveniam Innovation, Leitat Linkcare Health Services, Other Side Mirror (OSM), PAU Education, Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, Prevención Fremap, Sedecal, Servicio Madrileño de Salud (SERMAS) and Telefónica.

About the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

The EIT is an independent body of the European Union set up in 2008 to spur innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe to overcome some of its greatest challenges. It brings together leading higher education institutions, research labs and companies to form dynamic cross-border partnership —Knowledge and Innovation Communities, KICs— that develop innovative products and services, start new companies, and train a new generation of entrepreneurs.

The first three KICs were set up in 2009: KIC InnoEnergy (centred on sustainable energy), Climate-KIC (focused on climate change mitigation and adaptation) and EIT ICT Labs (centred on the society of information and communication). Then, the European Union decided to boost EIT activities between 2014 and 2020 within the research and innovation Horizon 2020 and it increased its budged to 2,7 billion euros.

In this context, on 14 February 2014, the EIT set up a new call to select two new KICs: one that becomes a model of innovation in healthy living and active ageing, and other focused on raw materials, sustainable exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution, EIT Raw Materials. Moreover, the EIT plans to make another call to create a KIC on food, Food4future KIC, in 2016, and other centred on urban mobility in 2018, Urban mobility KIC.

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