This is a strategic project to consolidate Catalonia as a scientific hub in biomedicine and bioengineering and to strengthen its capacity for innovation and knowledge transmission

The city of Barcelona is to host a unit of the Fraunhofer Institute, Europe’s largest and most prestigious organization in applied research, a strategic project for the Catalan knowledge system, consolidating it as a scientific hub in the field of biomedicine and bioengineering and boosting its capacity for innovation and transmission of knowledge. 

The setting up of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Institute in Catalonia has the collaboration of the Catalan Government, the Barcelona City Council, and the Spanish Government.

This historic agreement foresees the establishment of the Fraunhofer Spain Institute as a foundation and the launch of a research center in bioengineering applied to health (Center Fraunhofer for Applied Theragnostics (Fraunhofer CAT), in collaboration with the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC).

Fraunhofer's arrival in Catalonia represents an international alliance based in Barcelona aimed at making a decisive contribution to the internationalization of applied research and improving the link between academia and productive sectors.

Thus, the Fraunhofer-CAT program will promote the knowledge and technology applied towards a new development process, modelling and optimizing humanized biomodels designed to develop improved systems for the diagnosis, prognosis, and selection of therapies to promote precision medicine and advanced treatments.

This is an opportunity to develop a medical bioengineering hub out of Barcelona and Catalonia, with an impact throughout Southern Europe. It will decisively promote the internationalization of the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), a leading research centre in Spain. Through it, it will connect the Catalan research ecosystem with an international ecosystem.

A strategic collaboration that will place Catalonia amongst the most advanced regions in Europe in the field of knowledge and applications of bioengineering in the 21st century.

The international alliance with Fraunhofer via the joint creation of Fraunhofer-CAT will also contribute to a significant qualitative step forward as regards the transfer of knowledge to the industry.

Strategic alliance to create Fraunhofer-CAT

The Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) is a leading research center that has developed pioneering knowledge and innovative technologies applicable to precision medicine and advanced therapies over the last 15 years.

This positive path will take a qualitative leap with the arrival of Fraunhofer. The alliance with Fraunhofer will allow Catalonia to have an entity designed to generate added value to the science developed by IBEC, jointly promote applied research activity, group the industrial property of IBEC with that of the homonymous Fraunhofer center (Fraunhofer IBMT with a total budget of 18.7 million in 2021) under the umbrella of the local center Fraunhofer CAT, and participate in the global network that Fraunhofer currently has internationally.

Benefits of establishing the Fraunhofer alliance in Barcelona

The benefits of the Fraunhofer alliance in Barcelona cover the following areas:

  1. Positioning itself as a catalyst for an innovation ecosystem that connects the academic research and industrial sectors.
  2. Speeding up the shift of existing academic research results to society. Outstanding activities in this area are the development of prototypes and proofs of concept, researching and developing technologies based on bioengineering, and creating new technology companies.
  3. Connection of the German and Spanish industrial, innovation, and research ecosystems (in particular, that of Catalonia).
  4. Accelerating the internationalization of the biomedical technology sector.
  5. Contribute to the development of a medical bioengineering hub centered in Barcelona with an impact throughout Southern Europe.
  6. Development of devices and technology for innovation and biomedical translation projects focused on meeting health needs. With particular emphasis on emerging fields:
  7. Engineering and exploitation of biomodel technology, organs on a chip, and organoids to model diseases and accelerate new drugs trials
  8. Cell and genetic engineering for technologies in cell therapy; Technologies for cell cultures and biomimetic materials for regenerative medicine;
  9. 3D bioprinting for precision medicine and advanced treatments;
  10. Technologies for pluripotent stem cells for advanced therapies; 
  11. Systems based on microfluidics and nanotechnology for encapsulation of cells, drugs, and DNA.

The Fraunhofer Society, the largest in Europe in applied research

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is a German public institution under the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), consisting of 74 applied research institutes, specialized in various areas of knowledge with the common goal of transferring research results to products and services beneficial to society.

It conducts applied research under contract with both the public and private sectors. Currently, it has 26,600 employees10,300 of whom are scientific personnel. Its annual budget is 2.6 billion euros, of which 2.3 billion euros come from research contracts from competitive sources. The primary funding, approximately one-third of the total, is provided by the German federal government and the federal states where Fraunhofer centres are located.

Its areas of knowledge, always focused on the needs of people and society, are:

  1. Health and environment
  2. Security and protection
  3. Communication and knowledge
  4. Mobility and transport
  5. Energy and resources
  6. Production and supply of services

Fraunhofer runs a global collaboration program, with a presence in Europe, America, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, always in collaboration with local partners. 

Fraunhofer has centres collaborating with entities from Austria, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, and Sweden in Europe.