Norberto Malpica and Elfar Adalsteinsson,
M+Visión Associate Directors

With five years of programming under our belt, M+Visión has learned what works, and identified new opportunities for greater impact. So, entering year 6, we have made some changes to our program structure and we are preparing to launch new initiatives.

What began in 2011 as the M+Visión Fellowship in Biomedical Imaging has evolved into something much more potent, with greater potential for healthcare impact. That’s why we’ve renamed it Catalyst. Catalyst Fellows are exceptionally talented people, and the program gives them a transformative experience that prepares them to accelerate and heighten the potential for healthcare impact.

Take just three Catalyst projects for example. Team Eye, formed by Fellows in the 2011 cohort, have formed a startup called Plenoptika. Their first device, the Quicksee, is designed to rapidly and inexpensively provide an eyeglass prescription—a technology that can affect a billion people worldwide living with low vision. Team neuroQWERTY is developing a technology that can detect imperceptible motor impairments through our everyday use of keyboards. This could lead to methods for detecting neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s years earlier than current practices. The team is conducting clinical studies, and has won a significant grant from the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. And then there is team mPET, which aims to compress multiple PET scan visits into one. If they are successful, they will make this important cancer therapy technology cheaper and more accurate.

These projects, like most others in the Catalyst program, involve collaborators, students, and even patients in both Boston and Madrid. Each has identified a compelling unmet medical need, and demonstrated a technology solution that can make a real difference in patient care if they can be fully developed. The Catalyst has been so successful we are developing a follow-on program, Converter, that will help Catalyst teams and similar new projects get closer to healthcare impact and economic value.

Finally, we are grouping our activities of shorter duration and lower intensity under the new umbrella title Ideas Into Action. This portfolio of programs, which includes IDEA2, Hacking Medicine, courses, and events, engages more of Madrid’s emerging innovation leaders and entrepreneurs, complements Catalyst and Converter. Since 2012 these programs have involved over 2300 participants. These activities, along with many short events and courses we have held, are inspiring innovative and entrepreneurial thinking in Madrid, and helping to accelerate its transformation into a world-class knowledge-powered ecosystem.

By refocusing our programs we are optimistic about reaching more people and extending our impact. Look for news about each of these programs in the months ahead.