Research and innovation area

Recerca i Innovació

As a research centre, throughout 2022 the University Institute promoted the transfer of research results to the clinic and has promoted healthcare innovation processes to reinforce our commitment to offering the highest scientific and technical level in each of our strategic research lines.

The relationship between the High Specialisation Hospital – Centre of Excellence – and the University Institute of Neurorehabilitation – Centre of Knowledge – allows us to optimise the generation and transfer of new knowledge in this specialist area of science.

As an international benchmark in neurorehabilitation, the Institut Guttmann works to generate and transmit new knowledge and continuous innovation in techniques, procedures and technologies specific to the field of scientific knowledge and neuroscience in general, through the promotion of a network of open cooperation with other centres of excellence, universities, technology centres, companies and organisations in Spain and overseas.


In relation to competitive projects and with external funding, it should be noted that in 2022 we submitted 22 proposals to public calls for funding of research and innovation projects, aimed at various Spanish and international organisations. Although most of them have not yet been resolved, so far we have already obtained a positive result in five of the proposals presented:

At the level of Catalonia, within the framework of public subsidies:

  • Based on the research programme in technologies for sensory-motor rehabilitation and support products, work has been done on a collaborative proposal with the iSocial Foundation, the UPC, the Ampans Foundation and the company Avinent for the call for grants from the Department of Social Rights within the framework of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan funded by the European Union through the Next Generation EU programme, which has been funded. This “RehabLab.cat” project seeks to build a Catalan node of additive manufacturing (by 3D printing) for adaptations, or in other words, support products that are not medical devices and that are needed by people with disabilities to carry out their activities of daily life.
  • We have obtained the revalidation of our recognition as a Consolidated Research Group by AGAUR, the Generalitat of Catalonia’s Agency for the Management of University and Research Grants, with associated funding being granted.

At the level of Catalonia, within the framework of non-profit organisations:

  • Funding has been obtained from the Brain Health research programme for a proposal presented in the call for research grants for projects on mental health from TV3’s Fundación La Marató, coordinated by the Institut Guttmann’s Dr. Gabriele Cattaneo and in which Dr. David Bartrés’ group from the University of Barcelona will also participate as a subproject. The project will work on non-invasive brain stimulation at home to treat depression that is resistant to drug treatment. Its aims are to study the feasibility and efficacy of this home treatment and to identify the neurobiological determinants of the therapeutic response, which would be key to directing more individualised and effective interventions in the future.

At the level of the Spanish State, within the framework of public subsidies:

  • A multicentre project that we are part of, led by the quality team at Hospital Vall d’Hebron, has been approved and awarded a grant by the Carlos III Health Institute, and was presented in the AES’s last call for health research projects. Its aim is to develop and assess the implementation of a co-created tool to identify and to allow patients to notify safety incidents in hospital care, with a preventive and non-punitive approach; this leaves behind current incident notification and management systems that are mainly aimed at health professionals. 21 researchers from 8 different hospitals, including the Institut Guttmann, will participate.

At the level of Europe, within the framework of public subsidies:

  • The STRATIF-AI project has been granted and funded by the European Union, presented in the demanding Horizon Europe call. This is a 4-year project, in which a total of 15 partners from 8 different countries will participate. Its whose main objective is to find ways to stratify both physical and cognitive rehabilitation activities so that they are more useful for stroke patients, improving their prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.

The Institut Guttmann works with 6 strategic lines of translational research and innovation:

During 2022, we have worked on 53 research projects, 26 studies and 8 clinical trials.

The research projects have been distributed across the different programmes as follows:

P1   Technologies for sensorimotor rehabilitation and support products10
P2   Neurorepair and advanced therapies10
P3   Neuropsychological rehabilitation and cognitive stimulation (GNPT®)7
P4   Brain health (Barcelona Brain Health Initiative)        8
P5   Neurostimulation and Neuromodulation  5
P6   Social Research (QVIDLAB)    13

With regard to these strategic lines, during 2022 we would highlight:

Technologies for sensorimotor rehabilitation and support products

  • The Institut Guttmann is dedicated to the Therapeutic Research and Innovation programme in Prehabilitation, Rehabilitation and comprehensive approach to the sequelae of brain tumours, supported by the Joan Ribas Ariquistain Foundation.
  • We have continued working on the project funded by EITHealth for the validation of the ABLE lightweight robotic exoskeleton. We have already been able to include more than 20 participants in the study, carrying out 12 sessions of training with each of them with the corresponding assessment and follow-up protocol.

Neurorepair and advanced therapies:

  • In 2022 we completed the project subsidised by TV3’s Fundació La Marató that studies the electrical stimulation of the spinal cord for the rehabilitation of the upper limb, in collaboration with Professor Reggie Edgerton of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), who is also a scientific adviser to the Institut Guttmann.
  • Regarding the clinical study on the implantation of mesenchymal cells to enhance bone marrow regeneration, we are working on the double-blind extension study of the project that we carried out in coordination with the Blood and Tissue Bank with funding from the Carlos III Institute. In 2022 we recruited and treated more than 10 tetraplegic patients, with two doses for each participant and the completion of planned follow-up visits. Regarding the European trial “NISCI-NOGO Inhibition in Spinal Cord Injury”, funded by the H2020 programme, recruitment has been a success, despite the strict inclusion criteria established by the protocol.
  • We have been awarded the ReGAIT project, funded by the State Plan of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, in the call for knowledge generation. The work of the Institut Guttmann in this project will focus on determining whether the combination of non-invasive spinal cord stimulation with gait rehabilitation reduces spasticity and facilitates the recovery of lower extremity motor strength and gait ability in patients with incomplete spinal cord injury.

Neuropsychological rehabilitation and cognitive stimulation:

  • The momentum of research and innovation associated with the GNPT® programme has been maintained to increase the amount of data on its clinical utility and the incorporation of new elements to provide added value.
  • The project “Tecnologías interactivas para la rehabilitación cognitiva ACTIVE VRain” of the Ministry’s Research Challenges programme, coordinated by the University of Girona, has started its experimental phase at the Institut Guttmann.
  • We have completed the collection of the sample for both the multicentre study coordinated by Hospital Clínic on cognitive rehabilitation and brain plasticity in multiple sclerosis, and the project coordinated by the University of Barcelona on combined therapies in patients with chronic ischaemic stroke.

Brain health

  • In 2022, the Barcelona Brain Health Initiative (BBHI) project completed the second series of face-to-face biomedical assessments for volunteers, in order to assess the changes in their brain health over time. Progress has continued in the promotion of healthy lifestyle habits with the development of multimodal interventions that combine cognitive training, diet modification, physical activity, sleep hygiene and participation modifications. They are monitored from a mobile phone using the application Brain Health Coaching App.

5th Annual Meeting of BBHI Volunteers

On 21 November, the 5th Meeting of Volunteers from the Barcelona Brain Health Initiative (BBHI) was held at the CosmoCaixa Science Museum in Barcelona. The aim was to inform participants of the progress made in the Barcelona Brain Health Initiative (BBHI), thanks to their contribution.
The event, which could also be followed by streaming, was moderated by the scientific journalist Josep Corbella. The day was divided into 3 blocks of the presentation of research results, followed by question-and-answer sessions from the public.

  • The research activity linked to the project awarded in AGAUR’s PANDEMIAS call for papers has been completed, and we have continued working on the project funded by TV3’s Fundación La Marató on the specific call for Covid-19, aimed at researching and promoting mechanisms of brain resilience.

Neurostimulation and Neuromodulation

  • We continued working on the repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation project associated with rehabilitation to improve the functionality of the upper extremity in stroke, funded by a charity campaign organised by BBVA employees. The initial results show statistical significance in some scales and a very positive trend of functional improvement. So far no adverse effects of the intervention have been detected.
  • Regarding the FIS project for the improvement of gait in patients with multiple sclerosis, 2022 started successfully with the recruitment of participants and the complete circuit of tests and visits that follows this.
  • In 2022, the Institut Guttmann completed the research project funded by TV3’s Fundació La Marató in which we used a randomised controlled trial to study the potentiating effect of non-invasive brain electrical stimulation (tRNS) in the cognitive rehabilitation of patients with traumatic brain injury.

Social Research

In relation to the Social Research programme, and in terms of competitive and strategic projects, in 2022 the Institut Guttmann has continued its work on the European-funded projects VIGOUR and Precise4Q, the final results of which have already been delivered at the European Commission; as well as in Qvidlab.

The development of the PARTICIPA research project on social innovation, promoted by the Institut Guttmann together with associations of people with disabilities that are part of the Social and Participation Council, stands out. The PARTICIPA project has made good progress in establishing and consolidating the cohort of participants and the specific study of barriers and facilitators to participation.

The online qualitative studies and the process of building the loyalty of institutions collaborating with the initiative have already begun.

1,898 volunteers
30 affiliated entities
6,910 completed questionnaires
2,110 participants in the forum
693 publications


Have you ever found that the accessible toilets are used as a storage room? Is it impossible for you to use the subway alone, because you never know if there will be a lift or if it will be out of service? Do people speak to your companions instead of you?


An accessible apartment, with wide doors, ramps and lift; a non-paternalistic, peer-to-peer attitude; properly signposted facilities and policies that guarantee access to the employment market are examples of facilitators.


In 2022, the professionals of the Institut Guttmann published 60 articles in indexed scientific journals with an accumulated impact factor (FI) of 236,090 and of which 19 are in journals from the first quarter.

Articles published in indexed publications:

Accedeix als articles publicats durant l’any 2022

Articles published in non-indexed publications

  • El valor de la asistencia personal. Una figura clave para la autonomía de las personas con discapacidad. Ribes Martínez-Márquez, A., Alsina Santana, R., Cegarra Dueñas, B., Saurí Ruiz, J. (2022). Revista de Treball Social, 223, 57-80
  • SETS COMPACTOS, ¿facilitan el sondaje vesical intermitente femenino? Montserrat Morcillo Marín, Anaïs Bassas Parga, María Isabel Serrano Mínguez, Adriana Farré Jiménez. ROL, Revista de Enfermería. Noviembre-Diciembre 2022 // DOI: https://doi.org/10.55298/ROL2022.4573
  • Servicios especializados de Neurorrehabilitación para el paciente con necesidades complejas tras Daño Cerebral Adquirido (DCA). Propuesta de modelo de atención al DCA. Recomendaciones de la Sociedad Española de Neurorrehabilitación (SENR). Diversos autors – Montserrat Bernabeu Guitart, Raúl Pelayo Vergara. SOCIEDAD ESPAÑOLA DE NEURORREHABILITACIÓN – Guía 4. 2022
  • El intervencionismo de Stalin en la fisiología soviética: la Sesión Pavloviana. A. García-Molina, J. Peña-Casanova. Neuroscience and history. 2022; 10: 92-100.
  • Agnosias visuales y trastornos relacionados: más allá de Lissauer. A. García-Molina, J. Peña-Casanova. Neuroscience and history. 2022; 10: 32-45.
  • Institut Guttmann: 40 años de rehabilitación neuropsicológica (1983-2023). A. García-Molina, T. Roig-Rovira, R. Sánchez-Carrión, P. Rodríguez-Rajo, C. Aparicio-López, M. Espiña-Bou, A. Enseñat-CantallopsPraxis Psy. 2022; 37: 7-15
  • Fundamentos históricos de la neuropsicología y la neurología de la conducta. A. García-Molina, J. Peña-Casanova. Test Barcelona Services. 2022.
  • Examen frenológico de Eusebio Güell y Bacigalupi (I Conde de Güell) realizado por Mariano Cubí y Soler. J. Peña-Casanova, A. García-Molina. Neuroscience and history. 2021; 9: 37-46.
  • La apraxia desde una perspectiva histórica, 1860-1935. A. García-Molina, J. Peña-Casanova. Neuroscience and history. 2020; 8: 150-60.
  • Clonal chromosomal mosaicism and loss of chromosome Y in men are risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 vulnerability in the elderly. Luis A. Pérez-Jurado, Alejandro Cáceres, Tonu Esko, Miguel López de Heredia, Inés Quintela, Raquel Cruz, Pablo Lapunzina, Ángel Carracedo, SCOURGE Cohort Group (Sergiu Albu), Juan R. González. MedRxiv preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.19.20071357.
  • A genome-wide association study of COVID-19 related hospitalization in Spain reveals genetic disparities among sexes
  • Ángel Carracedo, Spanish COalition to Unlock Research on host GEnetics on COVID-19 (SCOURGE) (Sergiu Albu). MedRxiv preprint doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.11.24.21266741.