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Izabel Alfany, new Managing Director of EIT Health Spain

12th September 2023

  • The former Operations Director’s priority is to drive innovation and strengthen collaboration between agents to advance the health system’s transformation.  
  • Supporting female entrepreneurs and innovators in health and fostering female leadership, is another priority in her mandate.  
  • A biologist with a Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Barcelona, Alfany has spent the last 12 years promoting innovation in the health sector. 

The Governing Board of EIT Health Spain has appointed Izabel Alfany as the new Managing Director of EIT Health Spain, a Co-Location Centre (regional hub) of EIT Health, which is part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, a body of the European Union.  

Alfany, who joined the Spanish node of EIT Health in November 2021 as Director of Operations and Business Development, had been performing the functions of deputy general manager since 2022, when the previous director, Cristina Bescós, was appointed EIT Health’s Director of Innovation 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 executive and managing leadership of the organisation to further develop the objective of fostering health innovation and to continue the process of consolidating our partnership to operate as a relevant, referent, and influential organisation in the health system both in our country and at European level“, comments Francesc Iglesias, President of the Governing Board of EIT Health Spain and Director of the Innovation Office and Deputy Director of the Catalan Institute of Health. “We are convinced that Izabel, with her experience and knowledge of the needs of the partnership, will not only maintain the achievements of EIT Health but also reinforce them, leading the evolution of our organisation in the new stage that now begins with the new governance model of EIT Health and the challenges ahead of us,” adds Iglesias. 

Transforming the healthcare system by accelerating the adoption of digital health applications in Spain and boosting the secondary use of health data will be one of Alfany’s priorities in her new role at the Spanish hub.  Another priority, aligned with EIT Health’s strategic areas at the European level, will be to foster new healthcare models in Spain, with a particular focus on value-based healthcare. 

Spain finds itself at a crucial moment in the transformation of its healthcare system. At EIT Health, our mission is to put all players involved in touch with each other so that innovation, public-private collaboration, and digitalisation become the priority axes of this change,” explains Izabel Alfany, Managing Director of EIT Health Spain 

These priorities are linked to another fundamental objective of the new managing director: to promote the role of women in innovation and technology, fostering their leadership, a pending issue 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 all-female teams (7%) (1). The situation is even more complex in our country. According to data from the Entrepreneurship Map of South Summit 2022, only 20% of Spanish entrepreneurs are women (2) and only 6% of the start-ups are led exclusively by women.  

In Europe and our country, women represent a huge and untapped entrepreneurial and leadership potential. Encouraging female entrepreneurship is a priority for the whole of society to be represented in the design and technological development of innovation. A more diverse healthcare innovation environment leads to the creation of better quality products and services, and greater benefits for both patients and society as a whole,” affirms Alfany 

Izabel Alfany is a biologist and holds a PhD in Physiology from the University of Barcelona, a master’s degree in Business Innovation from the UPC and has completed the PROMOCIONA executive programme for Women in Senior Management (CEOE & ESADE). She has more than 16 years of experience in life sciences and health and has dedicated the last 12 years to innovation and international collaboration in the health sector. Before joining EIT Health Spain, as Director of Operations and Business Development and now, as the new Managing Director, she was responsible for the Health Division of the Promotion & Management department of the Technological Centre Leitat, an organisation that is part of the EIT Health partnership.  

Alfany takes over from Cristina Bescós, EIT Health’s current Director of Innovation, who has led EIT Health Spain for four years, positioning the organisation in a prominent position within the Spanish ecosystem, with a very strong and successful partnership, securing significant European funding from EIT Health. 

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