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Izabel Alfany (Photo: EIT Health Spain).

Izabel Alfany, appointed new managing director of EIT Health Spain

Izabel Alfany has been appointed as the new managing director of EIT Health Spain, the Spanish hub of the largest network of health innovators in Europe, EIT Health, located in the Barcelona Science Park. Until now, in her former position as Operations & Business Development director, she has made it a priority to promote innovation and strengthen collaboration between public and private agents to advance the transformation of the health system.

Izabel Alfany, who joined the Spanish hub of EIT Health in November 2021 as Operations & Business Development director, has been carrying out the duties of managing director since 2022, when the former director, Cristina Bescós, was appointed director of Innovation at EIT Health for Europe.

“It is with great satisfaction that we announce the appointment of Dr Izabel Alfany as managing director of EIT Health Spain, to whom we entrust the organisation’s executive leadership and management to continue developing the goal of promoting innovation in the health field and to continue the consolidation process of our alliance to operate as a relevant entity, as a benchmark and being influential in the health system in both the state and in Europe”, says Francesc Iglesias, chairman of the Governing Board of EIT Health Spain, and director of the Innovation Office as well as deputy director of the Catalan Health Institute. “We are convinced that Izabel, with her experience and knowledge of the needs of the partnership, will not only maintain EIT Health’s existing accomplishments, but will also reinforce them, leading the evolution of our organisation in the new stage that now begins with the new EIT Health governance model and the challenges we will have to face”, he adds.

Transforming the health system, through the streamlining of the adoption of digital health applications in Spain and the promotion of the secondary use of health data, is one of Dr Alfany’s priorities in her new stage in the Spanish hub. Another goal, aligned with the strategic departments of EIT Health, will be to promote new models of healthcare in Spain, with a particular focus on value-based health.

“Spain is currently at a key moment in the transformation of its health system. At EIT Health we have the mission of contacting all the agents involved so that innovation, public-private collaboration and digitalisation become the main priorities of this change”, explains Izabel Alfany.

These priorities are linked to another fundamental objective: to promote the role of women in innovation and technology, fostering their leadership, an outstanding issue to be tackled within the European Union. According to data from the European Startup Monitor 2020/21, only 36% of start-up founders are women, either in mixed teams (29%) or in exclusively female teams (7%). The situation is even more complex in our country. According to data from the 2022 South Summit Entrepreneurship Map, only 20% of Spanish entrepreneurs are women, and only 6% of start-ups are led exclusively by women.

“In Europe and in our country, women represent a huge and untapped entrepreneurial and leadership potential. Promoting female entrepreneurship is a priority to ensure that society is represented in the design and technological development of innovation. An environment of health innovation with greater diversity leads to the creation of better-quality products and services and offers greater benefits for both patients and society as a whole”, states Dr Alfany.

Izabel Alfany is a Biologist and Doctor of Physiology at the University of Barcelona; she holds a Master’s Degree in Business Innovation through the UPC and she has completed the Promociona Executive Program for Women in Senior in Upper Management (CEOE & ESADE). She has more than 16 years of experience in life and health sciences and has dedicated the last 12 years to innovation and international collaboration in the health sector. Prior to joining EIT Health Spain, previously as Operations & Business Development director, and now, as the new managing director, she was responsible for the Health Division of the Department of Promotion & Management of the Leitat Technological Center, an entity which forms part of the EIT Health partnership.

Alfany succeeds Cristina Bescós, the current Director of Innovation of EIT Health, who has led EIT Health Spain for four years, positioning the organisation in a prominent place within the Spanish ecosystem, with a very strong and successful partnership with regards attracting European funding from EIT Health.