Researchers or companies, wish to join the REFBIO network?

Refbio, the reference in biomedical research on both sides of the Pyrénées

Refbio is a trans-Pyrenean cooperation network for biomedical research, leadered by Navarrabiomed – Foundation Miguel Servet,  involving 9 institutions from 6 regions on both sides of the Pyrenees.

Its main objective is to promote competitive research at a European level in the following areas: oncology, haematology, cell therapy, neuroscience, epidemiology and public health, cardiovascular health, infectious diseases and clinical trials.

Refbio is part of the Cross-border Cooperation of the Territorial Operational Programme Spain-France-Andorra (POCTEFA) in the field of Health and contributes to the strengthening of the sector, both on the economic and employment levels as well as on research and training.

Thus, Refbio is positioned within the following axes:

  • Improving the interconnection and complementarity of the biomedical research through the intensification of cross-border cooperation and the enhancement of its human capital.
  • Strengthening of research capacity in the area of the health in the cross-border area.
  • Increasing medical care of the population of the participating regions.
  • Developing  exchanges between research centres, universities and companies, through invitations to SMEs and large biomedical and pharmaceutical companies.
  • Stimulating private investment in R&D in the short and medium term.
  • Participating in the establishment and consolidation of training poles.

At the end of Refbio I in 2015, the balance sheet proves to be very positive with:

  • 17 transnational research projects in 10 areas of strategic interest.
  • The creation of a collaborative platform of 2000 professionals.
  • The organisation of 4 specialised forums and 2 summer schools as well as a post-doctoral training course in innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • The optimisation of exchanges between researchers, companies and students through workshops, training courses, summer schools.
  • The exchange of material between biobanks and a pilot test on quality controls in the Basque Country.
  • The establishment of a network cooperation plan and a partnership agreement.
  •  The evaluation report of Refbio I, carried out by an independent company, positively acknowledged the excellent scientific results of the projects achieved.
  • At the end of Refbio I, managers and technicians maintained the link and continued the exchange of good practices and methodologies.

The second phase of Refbio (2016-2018) is defined as the stage in which the biomedical cross-border research network will allow the effective transfer of biomedical R & D results and their development in the Pyrenees area.

The project is co-financed by 65% by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) within the framework of the Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra Program (POCTEFA 2014-2020). The objective of the POCTEFA is to strengthen the economic and social integration of the Spain-France-Andorra border area. Its assistance focuses on the development of cross-border economic, social and environmental activities through joint strategies for sustainable territorial development.

9 partners (research centres, hospitals, business clusters and a university) from 6 regions across the Pyrenees, including the Aquitaine region, participate in this new phase. Navarrabiomed – Foundation Migeul Servet will once again be the leader coordinating the overall process of the project.

This second phase aims to strengthen the established bases, in particular through:

  • The intensification of collaboration between research entities.
  • The stimulation of innovation and the transfer.
  • The exploitation of R&D results amongst companies and clusters of the cross-border territory.

Through regular symposiums and meetings, Refbio II aims to establish a collaborative network to strengthen and facilitate over the period of 30 months the transfer of exploitation of the Research and Development results. Its aim is to contribute to the cooperation by implementing cross-border projects, but also to enable scientific enrichment through the mobility of staff, providing access to the research and training infrastructure.

Priority research lives of the network:

  • ICT1 in the health sector.
  • Drugs and clinical trials.
  • Technology platforms.
  • Therapeutic tests for chronic diseases.
  • Normal and pathological ageing.



ICT1 Information and Communication technologies


Association BIOCRUCES Health Research Institute
BioCruces Health Research Institute is a scientific institution created by the Department of Health of the Basque Government, the Basque Health Service (Osakidetza), The University of the Basque Country, and the Basque Foundation for Innovation and Research (BIOEF). The mission of BioCruces is to promote, bring together and support its research groups enabling them to undertake high-quality translational research and promoting effective innovation and collaboration with other organisations.
Association BIODONOSTIA Institue
This is the leading health research institute in The Basque Country in the areas of neuroscience, cardiology, infectious diseases, bio-engineering, oncology and regenerative medicine.
Basque Foundation for Health Innovation and Research BIOEF
Public body which, since its creation ten years ago, has coordinated and promoted R&D&I public health structures for the continuing improvement of the population’s health and social- economic development.
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse
SA reference centre in Midi-Pyrénées, the Toulouse CHU is a leading institution in complex research areas such as geriatrics, neuroscience, rare diseases, haematology and cell therapy.
Biomedical Research Centre (CIBIR)
CIBIR, of the Rioja Health Foundation and the San Pedro Hospital, undertake translational research in cancer and prevalent diseases. The Centre has the technologies, facilities and professionals to search for therapies and consolidate a biotechnology network of excellence.
Cluster Osasuna
Cluster Osasuna brings together companies and institutions related to health sector. Its main objective is to create a common dynamic to strengthen, structure and develop the health sector in the Basque Country. This link enables the promotion of numerous local, national and cross-border collaborative projects, focusing on the transfer and sharing of skills, know-how and good practices as well as the development of innovations.
Navarrabiomed – Miguel Servet Foundation 
A non-profit institution supported by Navarra Health Department to promote biomedical research within Navarra Public Health Services.
Aragon Institute of Health Science – IACS
This centre promotes clinical investigation, experimental surgery and “innovation in hospitals”, to foster innovation culture in hospitals.
Université Paul Sabatier-Toulouse
A reference university centre for science, health, engineering and technology applied to sport. This is one of the most relevant science research institutions in France.


Networking contributes to strength collaboration, to consolidate partnerships and to increase results though the main purpose is to highlight the idea that every project developed in collaboration and joint reflection, is more productive because it contains the seed to new ideas and future findings.

Therefore, Refbio’s main objective is to develop and establish a continuing collaboration network among Biomedical Research Centres in the Pyrenees area.

The objectives are:

  • Identifying key players of biomedical research in the participating centres by creating an inventory of research groups and areas.
  • Identifying key resources in biomedical research in the participating centres.
  • Fostering mutual knowledge among the centres.
  • Developing research cooperation among the centres, by carrying out training courses and exchange periods for their research staff.
  • Developing exchange periods and cooperation between research support structures at the different centres, by carrying out training courses and exchange periods for their staff.
  • Setting a programme for the joint training of researchers and students in the Network’s centres.
  • Optimising the joint use of the technological infrastructures available, and of the bio-banks.
  • Developing a Cooperation Plan for the short- and mid-term, defining the priority areas to research, cooperation strategies, funding, etc.
  • Identifying other centres in the cross-border area, and inviting them to become part of the Network.


The Refbio project aims to promote networked biomedical research through the creation of R&D+I projects, results of the collaboration set up within the framework of the project.