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Global challenges

In a global knowledge economy the formation of strong clusters is crucial in order to establish international competitiveness and thus accelerate innovation and economic growth. An even stronger acceleration effect can be achieved by connecting the local resources and networks of leading clusters through a strategic partnership. 

Four biomedical clusters with a common innovation culture

The biomedical clusters in Leuven, Heidelberg, Maastricht and Copenhagen share a common innovation culture, are comparable in strength and have complementary areas of expertise:

  • All four clusters are centered around internationally outstanding universities with excellent health sciences and a strong tradition in top education and research. 

  • All four clusters have a substantial health industry base and are driven by strong key individuals that are personally committed to foster economic growth and entrepreneurship. 

  • All four clusters are focused on complementary health technology areas covering medical electronics and nanotechnology (Leuven), personalized medicine and cancer research (Heidelberg), high-performance biomedical materials and Regenerative Medicine (Maastricht) as well as pharmacology and public health science (Copenhagen).



The purpose of the Health Axis Europe initiative is to cross-leverage the innovation resources and thus jointly increase the international competitiveness of the clusters in Leuven, Heidelberg, Maastricht and Copenhagen.

  • Facilitate and coordinate EU-funded collaborative R&D projects (H2020, Horizon Europe, EIT Health IMI etc.)

  • Support of cross-border cooperation in the training and further education of talented persons

  • Nurture an international startup culture and attract cross-border investments (European Health Catapult)

  • Mediate international partnering between academia, SMEs and global healthcare companies (Health Axis Europe Partnering)

  • Facilitate scientific exchange in fast evolving visionary health research topics  (Health Axis Europe Visionary Seminar 2018 - Precision Oncology)

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