Skip to main content
< Back to news
Dr. Marco Pugliese (Photo: Daniel Portales, Parc Científic de Barcelona).

Marco Pugliese: “EIT Health Spain is a very solid public-private alliance in terms of excellence and capacity”

Less than a month ago Marco Pugliese took over as General Manager of the Spanish node of EIT Health, the Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC), an initiative dedicated to healthy living and active aging and one of the KICs promoted by the European Institute of Technology and Innovation (EIT). EIT Health Spain, based at  Barcelona Science Park (PCB), is made up of 17 public and private leasing institutions in their sector. Pugliese reveals what his management priorities are going to be as head of such a large consortium.


Marco Pugliese has joined the project after a distinguished career as a scientist and his recognized experience in the management of R + D + i in companies specializing in life sciences. Pugliese holds a Masters Degree in Veterinary Science from the University of Perugia (Italy) and a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Barcelona. He is co-inventor of seven patents and has authored 21 international publications in the field of neuroscience.

After a career as researcher at the Group of Neurochemistry UB-IDIBAPS, Pugliese co-founded Neurotec Pharma in 2006, a spin-off of the UB, specializing in the design of new treatments for diseases of the central nervous system. From 2008 to 2014, he held the post of general director of the biopharmaceutical company. During his term there, a neuroprotective treatment for multiple sclerosis was developed up to clinical phase II and the company was recognized with the 2012 “Senen Vilaró Award” for best innovative company. Last year, Pugliese joined the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) as head of Business Development at the Innovation Unit.

This scientist and entrepreneur sees the taking over of the management of EIT Health Spain as a great personal and professional challenge. “I face this challenge, as I always do, with optimism and passion. It is a great opportunity to work closely with people of the highest national and international level in the field of research, education and business. Moreover, I am a positive person that does not surrender in the face of adversity, and I think those are two very necessary virtues to steer an association of this size and quality. “

Towards a new paradigm in open health innovation

EIT Health, created in December 2014, brings together around 140 partners -businesses, universities, research institutes and centers- from fourteen European countries, leaders in their sector and committed to innovation in health and its impact on improving the quality of life of citizens. With a budget of approximately 130 million Euros until the end of 2016, the public-private consortium aims to generate about 70 new business ideas reaching 140 by 2018. It is expected to generate about seven start-ups per year and will involve 150,000 students each year in the programs promoted by the EIT Alumni.

EIT Health Spain –chaired by the dean of the University of Barcelona (UB)– is based at Parc Científic de Barcelona (PCB) and is composed of 17 actors  – leading businesses, universities, research centers, hospitals, technology centers, as well as, public and private institutions- in the field of health. One of these institutions is Biocat. Based at PCB, Biocat coordinates and promotes the sector of health sciences and health in Catalonia.

“The Spanish node of EIT Health is a very solid public-private partnership that has nothing to envy from other European nodes that make up EIT Health in terms of excellence and capacity. Proof of this is the high regard that other European partners have held us in so far”, says Marco Pugliese. In addition, another aspect stressed by the new director of EIT Health Spain is “the complementarity of the different members, which transpires into the involvement and collaborative spirit they display with other members of the national node and, especially, with international partners, two essential elements to achieve the ambitious goals that have been set out”.

The three strategic axes: ‘Business creation’, innovation and education

After the initial contacts, one of Pugliese´s priorities will be to create a management team capable of responding quickly and effectively to the needs of members: “It is true that EIT Health´s proposal has been on the table for years but it has become what it is now thanks to the great voluntary work done by the partners. Nonetheless, it is quite a young enterprise, which just started to function steadily only a few months back. Now all European nodes must fine-tune the mechanisms that allow fluent communication for the optimal development of the various planned activities under the three pillars upon which EIT Health stands: business creation, innovation and education”.

The strategic backbone of Pugliese´s management skills as head of the association will be to create a solid knowledge triangle, which will comprise benchmark national institutions in these three areas, while ensuring that relations among all members take place swiftly and efficiently through interconnected networks. “These three themes: business creation, innovation and education must necessarily go hand in hand because most of the activities planned are cross-sectional and will very rarely be developed separately”. The internal management of the three pillars will have its own staff and will benefit from the experience of the various partners who will continue to be the main players at EIT Health Spain.

“And within this context, the managers of the various European nodes shall be the facilitators of this communication. We need to foster different projects and international activities for business creation, training and innovation in health in order to achieve the expected results and meet the strategic objectives we have set out: to improve health care and to encourage healthy aging of European citizens”, further emphasized Pugliese.

An unprecedented challenge…

Moreover, what does it take to run this operation smoothly? For Pugliese, the answer is clear, “The capacity to interrelate and collaborate will have with other European partners, which is ultimately the essence for the existence of EIT Health”.


 Related News [+]