Javier Ferrís Oñate, David Garrido Jaén, Mercedes Sanchis Almenara, Raquel Portilla Parrilla, Irene Hoyos Fuentes, Miguel Tito Malone, Carlos García Molina, Jaime Prat Pastor, Javier Sánchez Lacuesta, Pedro Vera Luna
Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV)
Universitat Politècnica de València
Camino de Vera s/n. Edificio 9C
46022 Valencia, Spain
Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV) is at the vanguard of Valencia’s participation in EIT Health, the largest European body concerned with innovation in healthy living and active ageing. With a total budget of 2.1 billion Euros, EIT Health was selected as a new Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) in December 2014. It will begin to be fully operational as of 2016.
EIT and KIC
Horizon 2020 (H2020)is the new European Union's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation for the period 2014-2020. It has a total budget at its disposal of more than 77 billion Euros with which to finance research initiatives and projects, technological development, demonstrations and innovation that bring manifest added value to Europe. H2020 amalgamates and strengthens activities that were financed during the period 2007-2013 by the 7th Research and Development Framework Programme (FP7), innovation activities in the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), and activities carried out by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).
The EIT is an independent organism of the European Union that was set up in 2008. Its headquarters are in Budapest and it is the first European initiative that fully integrates the three sides of the knowledge triangle: higher education, research and innovation. The mission of the EIT is to increase sustainable growth and European competitiveness, to strengthen its capacity for innovation, to create the entrepreneurs of tomorrow and to prepare for new breakthroughs. To achieve all that, the EIT has created what are known as Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KIC).
KIC are highly integrated and creative associations that bring together institutions of excellence in the fields of education, technology, research, business and entrepreneurship in order to produce innovation and to inspire others. They are public-private consortia that focus on a specific theme to which they make a long-term commitment. They comprise entities from different European regions that act as hubs or co-location centers (CLC). Each KIC has its own legal entity, financial capacity and management autonomy so that it may define its make up, its activities and its structure. They draw up an annual business plan which, together with certain key performance indicators (KPI), serves as the basis for negotiating its annual budget with the EIT. The annual budget of a KIC is around 50 to 300 million Euros, of which the EIT provides a maximum grant of 25% while the remaining amount comes from other sources, including its own members’ fees and resources.
The EIT created the first three KIC in 2009: KIC InnoEnergy, focused on sustainable energy, Climate-KIC, dedicated to mitigating and adapting to climate change, and EIT ICT Labs, which had to do with the information society and communication. During 2014, the EIT created EIT Raw Materials, a new KIC concerned with raw materials, and it selected the InnoLife proposal as the new KIC concerned with healthy living and active ageing, thereafter referred to as EIT Health. The EIT’s strategic innovation agenda for 2014-2020 includes the creation of two new KIC in 2016 (EIT Food and EIT Manufacturing) and yet another in 2018 (EIT Urban Mobility).
EIT Health (eithealth.eu) is Europe’s largest body for health innovation. Designated by the EIT as a new KIC on December 9th, 2014, the mission of EIT Health is to accelerate entrepreneurship and innovation in healthy living and active ageing, providing new opportunities and resources for the benefit of citizens throughout Europe.
The intention of this new KIC is to establish synergies and to exchange knowledge between European experts on health-related research and innovation, entrepreneurship and education. The objective is that we may live longer and enjoy a greater quality of life, that we may grow old with greater autonomy and that we may move towards the sustainability of the healthcare systems. In order to achieve these goals, products, services and concepts will be developed within the framework of collaborative projects among leading companies, research centers, universities, hospitals and other agents.
EIT Health is a consortium of more than 144 entities from fourteen European countries. It has headquarters in Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden and Germany. With a total budget of 2.1 billion Euros, this is one of the most ambitious initiatives in the field of health ever to be undertaken with public funding. The consortium hopes to generate some eighty new business ideas by 2016, and around one hundred and forty by 2018. The intention is to create around seventy start-ups per year and to involve one million students in programs promoted by EIT Health.
The activities of this KIC will focus on dealing with specific societal challenges:
1) Promote healthy living:including self-management of health and lifestyle interventions.
2) Support active ageing:taking into consideration workplace interventions and overcoming functional loss.
3) Improve healthcare:contemplating the improvement of healthcare systems and the treatment and management of chronic diseases.
Three cross challenges have also been identified, by which to resolve the above:
A) Removing barriers to innovation.
B) Leveraging talents and education.
C) Leveraging enabling technologies and exploiting big data.
EIT Health activities will be implemented through three primary instruments:
♦ EIT Health Projects:EIT Health innovation projects must contribute to at least one of the societal challenges. A distinction will be made between solution-driven collaborative projects (Innovation by Ideas) and needs-driven collaborative projects (Innovation by Design).
♦ EIT Health Campus: A virtual learning platform with access to different types of education that will become a brand of excellence in education by implementing the STELLAR approach (Spark, Transform, Embrace, Lead, Leap, Amplify, Reward).
♦ EIT Health Accelerator: The objective of which is to support the exploitation of the marketing potential of the results of research; this instrument will focus on start-ups and SMEs.
Figure 1 shows the challenges and instruments of EIT Health, as well as the expected impacts of this major initiative.
Following the designation of this KIC in December 2014, the consortium has been working throughout 2015 (the set-up year) on establishing the operational, legal and financial aspects, on preparing its portfolio of projects and on creating a brand, all of which is in order that EIT Health may be fully operational by 2016.
Figure 1. Challenges, instruments and impacts of EIT Health
VALENCIA'S PARTICIPATION IN EIT Health
As a core partner of the initiative, the Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV) is at the vanguard of Valencia’s participation in EIT Health. At the same time, the IBV, the Universitat Politècnica de Valencia (UPV), the Universitat de València (UV) and the Valencian Ministry of Health have put agreements in place by which to promote the participation in this KIC of health-related groups and research centers in the Region of Valencia.
It is worth pointing out how important this initiative will be in the years to come. The vocation of the IBV is to serve as a bridge so that companies and bodies in Valencia may take part in EIT Health financed initiatives thanks to the collaboration between the IBV, the UPV, the UV and the Valencian Ministry of Health. Of special significance within the ambit of the Region of Valencia is the perfect alignment between the objectives of EIT Health and the priorities of the RIS3-CV, the Research and Innovation Smart Specialisation Strategy designed for this Region. The harmony between these approaches augurs a special guarantee that our Region’s objectives in the area of health may be achieved.
Our gratitude to the EIT for selecting the InnoLife proposal as the winning initiative for the new KIC on healthy living and active ageing (EIT Health).
The activities of the IBV during the preparation of the InnoLife proposal in 2014 were financed by the Instituto Valenciano de Competitividad Empresarial (IVACE) and by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), within the framework of the IBV’s Non-economic Activities Plan for 2014 (IMAMCJ/2014/1).
The activities of the IBV during the launch of EIT Health in 2015 were financed by the Instituto Valenciano de Competitividad Empresarial (IVACE) and by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), within the framework of the IBV’s Non-economic Activities Plan for 2015 (IMAMCJ/2015/14).