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Ecosystems of innovation, supported by NRRP: "THE - Tuscany Health Ecosystem" is born, the only one in Italy on Life Sciences. Project proposal of the University of Florence, Sant'Anna School leader of the "spoke" Population health

Funding of 110 million euros from the Ministry of University and Research, with reference to mission 4 (Education and Research) of the NRRP and, in particular, component 2 "From Research to Enterprise"

Publication date: 04.07.2022
THE - L'ecosistema delle Scienze della Vita in Toscana
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"THE - Tuscany Health Ecosystem," an aggregation of scientific, technological expertise and research infrastructure in the Life Sciences sector, is born. It is one of 11 nationally supported innovation ecosystems within the NRRP, the only one dedicated to life sciences. It will receive funding of 110 million euros, allocated by the Ministry of University and Research, with reference to NRRP's Mission 4 (Education and Research), specifically Component 2 "From Research to Enterprise."

The presentation was held at Regione Toscana on Monday, July 4, with Region President Eugenio Giani, University and Research Councillor Alessandra Nardini, University of Florence Rector Alessandra Petrucci, Sant'Anna School's Rector Sabina Nuti, University of Pisa Rector Paolo Mancarella, University of Siena Rector Francesco Frati, University for Foreigners of Siena Rector Tomaso Montanari; representatives from Scuola Normale Superiore, Scuola IMT Alti Studi Lucca, Italian Institute of Technology, CNR National Institute of Nuclear Physics, Toscana Life Sciences and Confindustria Toscana. In connection, CNR President Maria Chiara Carrozza.

THE originates from a project proposal submitted by the University of Florence, as lead partner, in coherence with one of Regione Toscana's strategic lines related to life sciences. Innovation ecosystems, according to the NRRP, are in fact generated in areas of technological specialization aligned with the industrial and research vocations of the territory of target, promoting and strengthening collaboration between the research system, the production system and territorial institutions.

As required by the public tender released by the Ministry of University and Research in February 2022, the structure of the ecosystem is organized according to the hub & spoke model: the hub function (coordination and management of activities) is carried out by a consortium company specially established on June 9, 2022, which has 12 members:

  1. University of Florence,
  2. University of Pisa,
  3. University of Siena,
  4. Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies of Pisa,
  5. Scuola Normale Superiore,
  6. IMT Scuola Alti Studi Lucca,
  7. University for Foreigners of Siena,
  8. Italian Institute of Technology,
  9. National Research Council,
  10. Toscana Life Sciences,
  11. National Institute of Nuclear Physics,
  12. Confindustria Toscana.

A total of 22 entities will participate in the THE ecosystem: 7 universities, 6 public institutions and public research organizations, and 9 companies or private entities. THE's activities will be divided into 10 research sectors or nodes (spokes), all related to advanced life science topics and assigned to the responsibility of one of the members. Population health Sant'Anna School is leader of the Population health spoke, which has as affiliated partners University of Florence, University of Pisa, University of Siena, University for Foreigners of Siena (Dedalus).

THE ecosystem sectors are as follows:

  • Advanced radiotherapies and diagnostics in oncology (spoke leader CNR; affiliated partners University of Florence, University of Siena, National Institute of Nuclear Physics);
  • Preventive and predictive medicine (spoke leader University of Florence; affiliated partners University of Siena, University of Pisa);
  • Advanced technologies, methods and materials for human health and well-being (spoke leader University of Florence; affiliated partners University of Pisa, University of Siena, CNR, Sant'Anna School, Scuola IMT Alti Studi Lucca, Esaote, Museo Galileo);
  • Nanotechnologies for diagnosis and therapy (spoke leader University of Pisa; affiliated partners University of Florence, University of Siena, CNR, Scuola Normale Superiore, Italian Institute of Technology);
  • Implementing innovation for healthcare and well-being (spoke leader University of Florence; affiliated partners University of Siena, CNR, University for Foreigners of Siena, Toscana Life Sciences, DIH);
  • Precision medicine & personalized healthcare (spoke leader University of Siena; affiliated partners University of Florence, University of Pisa, FPS);
  • Innovating translational medicine (spoke leader University of Siena; affiliated partners University of Florence, University of Pisa);
  • Biotechnologies and imaging in neuroscience (spoke leader Scuola Normale Superiore; affiliated partners University of Florence, University of Pisa, CNR, Sant'Anna School, Scuola IMT Alti Studi Lucca);
  • Robotics and automation for health (spoke leader University of Pisa; affiliated partners University of Florence, University of Siena, Sant'Anna School, Medea, Orthokey, IUVO, QB Robotics, Wearable Robotics, WEART);
  • Population health (spoke leader Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna; affiliated partners University of Florence, University of Pisa, University of Siena, University for Foreigners of Siena, Dedalus).

THE's challenge is to make Tuscany the "health region" by pushing research toward applications and companies to grow technologies dedicated to health and wellness. Operationally, the ecosystem will devote part of the funds to the provision, on the basis of special public calls for proposals, of funding for applied research to companies and spin-offs as well as to the temporary hiring of about 300 new young researchers. The ecosystem has a time horizon of three years from the start of its activities, according to the timeframe defined by the NRRP.