Since its foundation, the Bellvitge Institute for Biomedical Research (IDIBELL) has made a long journey making ground-breaking and clinically relevant research discoveries while putting together a team of exceptionally talented researchers and clinicians. In this regard, 2019 was a year of celebration that marked a milestone in the history of our center: our 15th anniversary.
Should IDIBELL be a human being, it would now be a teenager equally fascinated and scared about his/her future. For an institute, it is an age of maturity. In any case, the campus where IDIBELL is placed has little to do with the campus back to 2004. The UB has created a new Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences where Medicine, Nursing, Biomedical Sciences, Dentistry and Podiatry are taught, providing us with a continuous stream of curious and talented students that nourish our environment. On the other hand, the two major healthcare providers in campus, the Bellvitge University Hospital and the Catalan Institute of Oncology, have grown and extensively renewed their facilities, encouraging the integration of talented professionals. Without them, IDIBELL would not be as strong, diverse, complementary, and competitive as it is now.
We are about 1300 professionals including researchers, personnel of support and managers. A truly multidisciplinary team mainly focused in four areas: Cancer, Neurosciences, Translational Medicine and Regenerative Medicine. Personalized Medicine, Immunology, and Health Outcomes are key words that will guide our mid-term future further accelerating research with a measurable impact in health.
Focusing on 2019, research carried out by IDIBELL researchers kept translating into a very good scientific productivity, as exemplified by the more than 1250 scientific publications and the opening of 250 new clinical trials. Our sustained effort in technology transfer and innovation also resulted in close to 200 R&D contracts, five active spin-off companies and 26 license agreements.
This year was also when the CMR[B] became fully integrated within the IDIBELL structure. The deployment of the Regenerative Medicine Area of IDIBELL and the Program for advancing the Clinical Translation of Regenerative Medicine of Catalonia (P-CMR[C]) became true 5 years after the endorsement of the integration by the Catalan Government. I am deeply grateful to the CMR[B] leadership for their commitment and support and I am fully convinced that additional synergies between disciplines and scientists will start emerging very soon.
And talking about synergy –Sinergia in Catalan- this was the name for the festival of research and innovation in health of L’Hospitalet city and our very first open day. Hundreds of citizens had the chance to participate in activities ranging from lectures and hands-on workshops to gamified visits to our laboratories. We firmly believe that is our duty to bring new discoveries to the society because these activities are critical to engage citizens with biomedical research, raise the general understanding of science and its applications, and foster scientific vocations among youths.
On similar lines, 2019 also saw the birth of our first flagship fundraising campaign under the name of Saving Lives -from the Catalan Salvem Vides-, including a very successful gala dinner. Our plan is to repeat this action annually and, in this way, keep involving the society in our research projects.
We may be fifteen years older, but we are at least as ambitious as we were in 2004 and even more determined to improve the quality of life of people through our research. IDIBELL keeps growing, rooted on a lucid analysis of its ability to add value to society, and with a decided will of facing the many challenges ahead with its proven perseverance.