Research & Innovation

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions: Politecnico coordinates seven new funded projects

Within the Horizon Europe program, the Politecnico has achieved important results in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) calls, the European Union's flagship program for highly qualified doctoral and postdoctoral training, in all areas of research and innovation.

Politecnico offers dedicated support to facilitate participation in MSCA competitive calls, in particular Postdoctoral Fellowships, Doctoral Networks and Staff Exchange, through a dedicated team.

Under the MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowships 2023 call, which is for researchers who wish to acquire new skills through advanced training and opportunities for international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral mobility, the following four projects were funded, with an average success rate of over 14%:

GENIUS: Next-Generation driver-vEhicle interactioN: real-tIme mUltimodal take-over control System of Arastoo Karimi Maskooni – Scientific supervisor: Marco Bassani

The project aims to improve the transition from autonomous to manual control in conditionally automated driving systems. Adaptation is possible by using biometric sensors to assess the driver's alertness, awareness and physiological state to dynamically adjust the take-over control using interaction modalities. Through the integration of advanced machine learning techniques and comprehensive experiments within a sophisticated driving simulator, the GENIUS project aims to improve road safety and the driver experience in the age of automation.

SMASH: Smart MAterial System to enHance the service life of reinforced concrete structures of Ana Martínez Ibernón – Scientific supervisor: Paola Antonaci

SMASH aims to develop an efficient “Smart Material” system to be implemented in reinforced concrete structures, using a combination of capsule-based self-healing technologies and voltammetric sensor technologies. The implementation of such Smart Material system will enable reinforced concrete structures to detect some external inputs, process the information and respond autonomously in real time, thus eventually leading to the extension of the structure service life. With this perspective, the ultimate goal of SMASH is to contribute to the reduction of the environmental impact of the construction sector, in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals indicated by the UN Agenda.

SYNERGIES: Smart bioreactor-based platform for the multi-phYsical stimulatioN of Engineered osteochondRal tissues towards functional reGeneratIon and advanced diseasE modelS of João Carlos Fernandes da Silva – Scientific supervisor: Diana Massai

The SYNERGIES project combines advanced bioengineering methods (biomaterials, bioreactors, in silico modeling and machine learning) to address the unmet need for functional osteochondral (OC) regeneration upon injury or disease, whose increasing incidence represents one of the major challenges for healthcare systems. The technological aim is to develop a bioreactor-based platform for culturing OC tissue-engineered constructs under physiologically and clinically relevant physical stimuli. SYNERGIES will lead to significant advancements of knowledge in OC tissue mechanobiology and will improve protocols for producing functional OC substitutes, opening the way to new effective therapies.

VIBRATIONCLEAR: Inerter-based vibrating barrier for seismic protection of a cluster of building structures of Predaricka Deastra – Scientific supervisor: Marco Domaneschi

The project proposes the use of an inerter-based vibrating barrier (I-ViBA) for earthquake protection of a cluster of buildings structures. The I-ViBA is unique in that, compared to current technologies, it is buried in the ground and can protect a group of closely spaced structures without being in direct contact with them. The VIBRATIONCLEAR project can be a solution to provide low-cost earthquake protection for existing buildings, as it can be implemented to protect many close structures, answering the need to protect the population from these extreme events, mitigate the damages and losses caused by earthquakes and improve structural and infrastructural resilience.

MSCA Doctoral Networks 2023 call, which, on the other hand, targets faculty and researchers who are interested in building innovative PhD programs through partnerships with academic and non-academic bodies from across Europe and beyond, 8 projects were funded, for a university success rate of 19 %. Two of these are projects coordinated by Politecnico:

CRITERIA: CRItical raw maTERIAl treatment and recovery from mining tailings and waste dumps Scientific supervisor: Mariachiara Zanetti

The development of tailing dams and waste dumps for the treatment and subsequent recovery of critical raw materials is a priority issue for EU states. This activity is linked both to the purpose of reclaiming old mining sites in order to reuse the soil and/or recover critical raw materials, and to the actual development of mining activities. The CRITERIA project wants to approach this issue by analyzing the necessary steps such as geophysical characterization, excavation and processing to recover critical raw materials, and the social and environmental impact of the entire process.

FOURIER: InnOvative ArtiFicial IntelligencE methodologIes for monitoRing and maintaining large scale complex infrastrUctures and obtaining greener, more Resilient and smart societies – Scientific supervisor: Gian Paolo Cimellaro

Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the structural analysis and inspection techniques of buildings and infrastructure in the civil engineering sector. The ability to process large quantities of data, detect damage in infrastructures are making this process increasingly automated and rapid, allowing engineers to make decisions more quickly, allowing for effective preventive maintenance and capable of minimizing potential risks of collapses. FOURIER intends to explore these innovative techniques for monitoring structures and infrastructures using AI and augmented reality (AR) with the final aim of improving the resilience of structures against natural and anthropogenic events.

Furthermore, the university is a partner in a total of 6 additional Doctoral Networks projects coordinated by other universities/research centers in Europe.

Finally, with the call for proposals for the MSCA Staff Exchange 2023, which promotes international, intersectoral and interdisciplinary collaborations in research and innovation through staff exchange and knowledge sharing, three projects were funded for a university success rate of 50%. One of these is coordinated by Politecnico:

GALATEA: diGitAL twin frAmework for TailorEd infAnt nutrition - Scientific supervisor: Marco Agostino Deriu
GALATEA aims at developing a digital twin of human milk for neonatal nutrition. Experts in bioengineering, computational science, nutrition and neonatology will develop an artificial intelligence capable of understanding the intricate composition of human milk to support the formulation of personalised nutritional plans for newborns, particularly premature infants. The international and cross-sectoral mobility of the research programme facilitates the exchange of knowledge, which is essential in a highly multidisciplinary project such as GALATEA. The project targets disruptive technologies supporting the health of newborns and strengthens the scientific community dealing with neonatal nutrition.