The “la Caixa” Banking Foundation and Caixa Capital Risc, tomorrow on the 1st of February, will launch the third edition of the CaixaImpulse program. This is the only initiative in Spain and Portugal with the objective of promoting the transformation of organized scientific knowledge originated in research centres, universities and hospitals, into companies and products that generate value in society, either in the form of a spin-off or of a transfer agreement.

This year, EIT Health will collaborate with the program. EIT Health is a consortium of over 144 enterprises, universities and research centres leading in the fields of innovation, biomedicine and health. The consortium is a bid by the European Union to promote innovation throughout Europe, and one of the largest government funded health initiatives in the world.

The program will develop at a time when the situation is optimal for research in Spain and Portugal regarding the level of scientific excellence, but does present certain deficiencies when it comes to transferring the knowledge acquired in laboratories into the business market.

According to the report from the European Innovation Scoreboard 2016 (EIS), Spain has pioneering infrastructure, research centres and professionals of the highest level, which translate into an extremely valuable fountain of knowledge for the creation of wealth. But it has a set-back: its valuation and commercialization. Therefore, a paradox is generated in a country where, despite having first-rate infrastructures, appears as number 21 in innovation for the European Union. With the objective of changing this reality, the “la Caixa” Foundation and Caixa Capital Risc, in collaboration with EIT Health, are putting forth the third call for this program.

Call for applications 2017

Spanish and Portuguese research centres that may be interested in participating in the program can submit their proposals from tomorrow the 1st of February, through the Internet on the website, until the 15th of March.

The selection criteria will be based on the five following requirements:

  • Quality of science and assets: level of innovation, development of the asset and the state of protection of the intellectual property.
  • Asset market potential: identification of the need or problem it resolves, and identification of its clients and beneficiaries.
  • Valuation project: objectives and correct approach of the actions to be carried out.
  • Transfer and execution capacity:  dedication and profile of the person that will participate in the program and will lead its valuation, as well as the complimentary team’s.
  • Social impact and responsible innovation: level of contribution towards the improvement of the quality of life of citizens and benefits generated for the whole of society.

The submitted projects will begin a selection process that is constituted in two phases: an initial phase in which all proposals received will be evaluated in peer view by experts and professionals from life sciences and health fields, as well as from the business world; and a second phase, in which the 35 projects with the highest scores will defend their proposal in a personal interview before a panel of European experts from various fields (Pharmaceutical, Business Schools, Healthcare or Biotechnological Engineering).  

Success of previous editions

The advances of the 35 projects that took part in the first edition endorse the initiative. Since the beginning of the program, participating projects have benefited from 495 hours of mentoring and counselling and 200 hours of training. Networking events have also been organized, generating over 150 personal meetings.

The projects participating in the previous edition stand out in view of the implication from the whole industry, which through its different roles has provided knowledge and experience to all of the activities included in the initiative. Additionally, the program’s market orientation has been valued very positively, as it maximizes the potential success of projects, as well as being flexible and personalised, allowing it to adapt to the need of each project.