What Catalonia brings to European challenges in health and nutrition
In 2008 the European Commission created the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) as an instrument for the promotion of competitiveness in the EU and provide an answer to a series of social challenges identified, such as health and demographic change; nutrition in all its dimensions (production, quality, safety...); the production and access to clean energy, or the effects of climate change, amongst others. The EIT and it KIC’s (Knowledge and Innovation Communities) have a key role reserved for them in the new European strategy for research and innovation, Horizon 2020, approved in 2011 and will be fully up and running in 2014.
Right now, the EIT counts with three active KIC’s —InnoEnergy (sustainable energy); Climate-KIC (mitigation and adaptation to climate change); and ICT Labs (the information and communication society)— and in 2014 aims to launch a new call for the selection of other KIC’s in the following fields: Innovation for Healthy Living and Active Aging; Food4Future – sustainable supply chain from resources to consumers; and Raw materials – sustainable exploration, extraction, processing and recycling. Since 2009, Biocat has coordinated the work carried out in Catalonia so that entities and companies can be active members of the health and nutrition KIC’s.
During 2012, the two Catalan workgroups have been constituted in both fields and, via Biocat, have been able to become integrated in European consortiums presenting candidates for these KIC’s.
The workgroup constituted by InnoLife (Innovation for Healthy Living and Active Aging) candidate is headed by the Health University Barcelona Campus (HUBc) and Biocat, and counts with the participation of the IESE business school and the Obra Social “la Caixa” bank. Towards the end of 2012 this group joined a European consortium with nodes in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden and Germany, with prestigious bodies such as Imperial College from London, Oxford University, the Karolinska Institutet, the Max Plank Institute, the cluster BioRN the University of Leuven, amongst others.
On the other hand, also in 2012, the workgroup for the promotion of the candidature for Food4Future was also formed, headed by the Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Alimentàries (IRTA) and Biocat, and in which also participate the Universitat de Lleida (UdL) and the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), in collaboration with other State and European entities. This group is working on the constitution of a solid candidature for the nutrition KIC, with a series of local networks from Great Britain-Ireland, France, Belgium-Holland and Sweden-Denmark.