Fostering innovation in health technologies and life sciences in Calabria

EU funding for the Biotecnomed Pole of Innovation in Health Technologies – a network of institutions in Calabria, southern Italy specialising in health and life sciences – has enabled it to provide high-level services for companies, universities and research centres. A production site has been built with floor space of 400 m² and fitted out with the latest equipment. It houses bioinformatics, biomechatronics and bioelectronics laboratories, offices, a conference room, spaces for use by small firms and start-ups, and a fab lab – a workshop for digital modelling and fabrication.

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Collage of images from the Biotecnomed production site © Giovanni Cuda Collage of images from the Biotecnomed production site © Giovanni Cuda

" Biotecnomed has been an important catalyst for innovative ideas in the biomedical sphere, many of which have been used by Calabrian SMEs in setting up, developing and bringing to fruition industrial research projects. These have generated process and product innovations which have been useful for increasing the presence of those firms on regional, national and foreign markets. "

Prof. Giovanni Morrone, Università degli Studi Magna Graecia di Catanzaro

The main achievements of Biotecnomed include strengthening of 11 existing technological laboratories and the creation of eight new ones. Four research and development (R&D) projects have been implemented by the network, which has created 50 jobs.

Biotecnomed has also developed advanced research and innovation services. These have been supplemented with horizontal services such as provision of scientific and technical information, networking and support for R&D programmes, technology transfer, and promotional and marketing activities.

R&D projects carried out by Biotecnomed cover the areas of advanced diagnostics, rehabilitation diagnostics, regenerative medicine and nutraceuticals – products derived from food sources with extra health benefits. The project has been supported by training, which involve lessons and workplace-based activities catering for some 40 specialists.

Tackling long-standing regional challenges

Composed of 13 members, Biotecnomed also leads a wider cooperation group made up of 40 companies, two private research bodies, two universities and Italy’s national research council. Members’ laboratories are located throughout Calabria and aim to meet the needs of customers within and outside of the network.

One of the main challenges Biotecnomed was set up to overcome was a regional environment that suffered from a lack of openness to innovation and structural weaknesses in terms of productivity. Indicators show that Calabria has tended to lag behind other Italian regions in economic development.

Biotecnomed has helped to change mind-sets among local business people. It focuses on enhancing elements which support innovation in the region and increasing interdisciplinary know-how within the network. It also aims to capitalise on the region’s strong points and promote the potential of research.

Research and technology transfer

Laboratories in the network carry out scientific and technological research, disseminating results through teaching, publications and technology transfer. By strengthening the processes of technology transfer to local businesses and creating conditions for economic competitiveness, the network helps to attract investment and enhance Calabria’s scientific resources. A number of technology transfer and marketing managers within Biotecnomed work to further reinforce connections between laboratories and the market.

Through the establishment of solid working relationships between universities, research centres and businesses, Biotecnomed has helped to better integrate Calabria’s health and biotechnology research and innovation infrastructure and increased scope for synergies and cooperation between academia and business. It also boosts the region’s economic growth and development by creating business and job opportunities and added value for firms, and by providing incubation support for innovative ideas.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Biotecnomed: Centre of innovation in health technologies” is       EUR 8 842 590, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 3 315 971 through the “Calabria” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.


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