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The European Union confers 7 million euros on Barcelona to develop the first international PhD in Fetal and Perinatal Medicine

The rector of UB, Dr Dídac Ramírez; Dr Eduard Gratacós and Dr Claudi Alsina on the presentation that took place at the Aula Magna of the Faculty of Medicine of UB.

The rector of UB, Dr Dídac Ramírez; Dr Eduard Gratacós and Dr Claudi Alsina on the presentation that took place at the Aula Magna of the Faculty of Medicine of UB.

Presiding table.

Presiding table.

Dr Eduard Gratacós, director of BCNATAL —the Fetal Medicine Centre of Hospital Clínic and Hospital Sant Joan de Déu— and lecturer at the University of Barcelona.

Dr Eduard Gratacós, director of BCNATAL —the Fetal Medicine Centre of Hospital Clínic and Hospital Sant Joan de Déu— and lecturer at the University of Barcelona.

A moment during the presentation.

A moment during the presentation.

13/05/2014

Acadèmic

The European Union concession of the first international doctorate in Fetal and Perinatal Medicine has strengthened Barcelona and Catalonia leadership in materno-fetal medicine. The programme will be led by the University of Barcelona (UB) and partnered by the University of Lund (Sweden) and the University of Leuven (Belgium). With a 7 million fund, the Fetal Medicine Research Center —affiliated with UB, Hospital Clínic and Hospital Sant Joan de Déu— will develop this Erasmus Mundus programme in order to train international students in the most modern materno-fetal medicine techniques, an area in which the centre is an international model.

 

The PhD programme has been set up this year; eleven international researchers from countries such as Cuba, Russia, India, Iran, Slovenia, United Kingdom and Turkey participate in it. They were selected among more than three hundred applicants. The number of students will increase up to 60 students in 2021, when public funding ends and other funding pathways are expected to be found. During the four-year doctorate, researchers will make stays at host universities and use pioneering techniques in materno-fetal medicine, medical imaging, genetic diagnosis and fetal therapy in order to innovate in the different areas in which the Fetal Medicine Research Center has attained one of the highest rates of productivity in the world: fetal programming, fetal growth restriction, prematurity and new fetal surgery treatments.

 
International leadership

Dr Eduard Gratacós, director of BCNATAL —the Fetal Medicine Center of Hospital Clínic and Hospital Sant Joan de Déu— and lecturer at the University of Barcelona, leads the centre which has become a national and international referral. For the last ten years, more than 1,600 fetal interventions have been made —two hundred per year—, that means 80% of the total number done in Spain.

The Fetal Medicine Research Center is pioneer at an international level in fetal disease description and diagnosis, as well as in the application of complex fetal surgery techniques. It has an innovative health care structure because it considers the fetus as a patient and conceives fetal and postnatal life as a continuum that enables to go deeper into the problems that start during fetal life but have repercussions during the rest of one person’s life.

This perspective is completely beneficial for patients as it offers the best possible transition from fetal life to postnatal life and the highest survival and quality of life rates for patients, in an environment where research progresses are immediately applied in order to achieve excellence in medicine.

 

Erasmus Mundus programmes

Among the forty-two Eramus Mundus programmes conferred by the European Union —ten in the area of health—, the programme of Fetal and Perinatal Medicine is the only one coordinated by Catalonia and Spain. The Erasmus Mundus Programme aims to enhance the quality of higher education in Europe and promote dialogue and understanding between people and cultures through academic cooperation with non-EU Third Countries.

This international project is a great opportunity in university and medical fields for Barcelona. European Union assessors considered that the group in Fetal Medicine of UB, Hospital Clinic and Hospital Sant Joan de Déu was “excellent in education, science, Technology and innovation”, so the project was worth to be funded and made Barcelona the perfect candidate to coordinate it.

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