In the last 15 years, Barcelona has become one of the most important cities in life sciences and technology research. Sustained funding from the Catalan government and many talent recruitment programs brought top-class researchers and research facilities to the city. Currently, Barcelona is ranked 8th worldwide, in the production of high impact peer-review research articles (per capita), and 2nd in the number of the prestigious European Research Council (ERC) grants awarded. Barcelona is — maybe for the first time in history — a global leader in the generation of knowledge and ground-breaking discoveries. It is therefore high time for the region to start capitalizing on this excellent track record and translate the research into new products and services that will benefit the wider society.
To help awaken the entrepreneurial spirit among the over 5000-strong research community in Catalonia the Innovation Forum Barcelona partnered up with IQS Tech Factory to bring the WHAT IF! Accelerator to the city.
This unique program, run across the whole Innovation Forum network of branches is the first truly global competition and accelerator for deep technology early stage ventures.
The WHAT IF! program will help scientists working on projects with translational potential to understand better the commercial opportunities, get free mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs and to network with industry professionals and investors to accelerate the transition from bench to market.
The first round of the accelerator program launching in April 2016 with the theme ‘Improving Life’ is targeting all teams with ideas within the fields of biotech, pharma, e-health, clean tech and other technologies that will help to improve human and animal health and wellbeing.
After the regional phase the best teams from Catalonia will compete with regional winners from other leading innovation hubs globally for the opportunity to pitch at the Grand Finale during the Innovation Forum’s Leaders Conference hosted at the University of Cambridge in the UK.
The WHAT IF! Barcelona is ready for a kick-off so stay tuned for more news and start polishing your business pitches!
* We define deep technology as technology based on genuine, novel scientific idea which has a significant impact on improving human or animal wellbeing (e.g. new medicines, medical devices, new materials or engineering solutions helping to preserve the natural environment in a balanced state).