Biodonostia Health Research Institute


The Biodonostia HRI, the first Health Research Institute in the Basque Country, preferentially promotes patient-focused translational research; it encompasses all research work carried out in Gipuzkoa in the framework of the Basque Health Service (Osakidetza) and aims to improve the health of people by means of its multi-institutional and inter-disciplinary collaborative structure. Its research is arranged into 7 subject areas bringing together more than 350 researchers in 27 groups. With the purpose of boosting scientific advances, the Biodonostia Health Research Institute (HRI) has succeeded in establishing a unique composition that makes it stand out from all other Institutes, thanks to integration of the most important technological agents in Gipuzkoa.

At its heart is the Donostialdea IHO (Integrated Health Organisation) and as is the case with most Health Research Institutes, the University is also an integrated part of the endeavour, which in our case means the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU). Added to this core are the Regional Government of Gipuzkoa, the Euskampus Foundation and the Ikerbasque Foundation, thanks to which the critical mass of research has been increased by incorporating staff of international renown.

The unique nature of the Institute lies in its remaining members. This includes Primary Care, the Regional Hospitals and the IHOs in the province of Gipuzkoa. Also integrated to the Institute is the Gipuzkoa Science and Technology Park, which not only houses the Donostialdea IHO, but also a high number of technology-based centres, among which are those which form the Institute: Vicomtech, Cidetec, Osatek, Matía Instituto Gerontológico, BCBL and Onkologikoa, and recognised centres that do not actually come under its governing bodies: CIC nanoGUNE, CIC biomaGUNE, Tecnalia, CITA Alzheimer and the Dr Carlos Elosegui Foundation at the Policlínica Gipuzkoa. The research subjects addressed are: micro and nano biotechnologies, biomaterials, molecular imaging, audiovisual technologies, e-health, gerontology, cognition, brain and language, among others.

The Institute aspires to be a centre of reference in the field of health research at international level, and preferentially promotes innovation in medical and health technologies to advance in the system’s sustainability.

Innovation Support Unit Team

The Biodonostia Health Research Institute is the first Health Research Institute in the Basque Country to have achieved a unique composition that sets it apart from the other Institutes, by integrating the most relevant technological agents in Gipuzkoa. The Institute is a strategic commitment that is taking shape as the ideal environment to develop excellent translational research.

The Institute endeavours to develop cross-cutting strategies of Specialisation/Differentiation (Ageing) that are aimed at the market and at results for health (Innovation), which mobilise the Institute’s own resources and those of the Donostialdea IHO for the development of R+D+i activities, with the collaboration of the Basque Scientific-Technological and Business System. These activities focus on the patient in particular, and on society in general, making the most of the knowledge obtained by the system applied to health.

In this HRI’s Innovation Support Unit, we mainly work on identifying and evaluating the knowledge that is susceptible to being valued and which is generated not only in its Research Groups, but in the entire Hospital environment, now IHOs (Integrated Health Organisations) in the historical territory of Gipuzkoa.

The Innovation Support Unit’s mission is to foster, boost and disseminate an innovative culture, providing a suitable framework in which to create multi-institutional and inter-disciplinary teams that can come together and collaborate in the joint design of technologies, and so enable them to find solutions to as yet unresolved clinical problems.

The Innovation Support Unit team is lead by Ph.D Julio Arrizabalaga, head of the Medical Technology Innovation Network Platform (ITEMAS) and made up of the following members:

  • Ph.D. Arantza Abad Alba: Innovation Support Unit Administrator: responsible for administration at the Innovation Support Unit.
  • Ph.D. Olatz Arrizabalaga Garde: R&D&i Management and Scientific Coordination.
  • PhD. Amaia Del Villar Álvarez: Innovation Support Unit External Agents Coordination.
  • Ph.D. Ander Izeta Permisán: Head Scientific Officer at the Innovation Support Unit: responsible for the scientific aspects of the projects carried out within the Innovation Support Unit.
  • Marisabel Arzamendi Sesé: Project Unit Manager. R&D&i project administrative management. Competitive fund search.
  • Julián de Frutos Soto: Evaluation-Quality Unit Manager. ISU (Innovation Support Unit) Advanced Technician for the R&D&I Management System certified by AENOR based on the UNE 166002 Standard. Labour Risk Prevention Technician (LRP).
  • Ainize Iriondo Plaza: Head of Technological Transfer at  Innovation Support Unit: advice to researchers on the Subject of Intellectual Property and ollaboration and Exploitation Agreements.
  • Susana López Letona: Innovation Support Unit Support Technician.

The results obtained by the BioDonostia HRI Innovation Support Unit that may be replicated show the Institute model focusing on Innovation:

  1. Establishment of a systematic procedure that is designed to set up innovative initiatives which facilitate its implementation: 166 ideas generated in 2018, all ongoing.
  2. Bottom Up (Intramural Call for Innovation Projects by the Donostialdea IHO): Initiative that aims to promote the design and planning of new products/services to meet the System’s needs. 20-30 applications are submitted every year, of which ≈15-20 are funded with a total budget of approximately 200,000 €.
  3. Innovation Activities aimed at making sure the R+D+i results from public-private collaborations reach society as a whole: 63 Innovation projects awarded in 2018, with the total amount granted in the projects coming to a sum of 2,018,150.44 €.


Technology transfers