PNRR: Four new technological innovation infrastructures financed for the Politecnico
The four new Technological Innovation Infrastructures proposed by the Politecnico di Torino were selected from the 39 proposals received by the Ministry of University and Research and financed with a total of €145,596,192, 49% of which will be allocated from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) for Mission 4 (Education and Research), in its component dedicated to accompanying technologies in the transition from research to enterprise, and 51% from funds from a public-private partnership to be established.
Technological Innovation Infrastructures are understood to be those research centres, often constituted as nodes or networks even physically located in different places, which, since they are interconnected, create together an infrastructure that amplifies their impact in terms of the production of cutting-edge research and new technologies, knowledge and technology transfer.
These infrastructures also have important social and economic repercussions on the territories in which they are located, and for the four Infrastructures proposed by the Politecnico, the aim is also to create an ecosystem in which businesses – both large corporations and SMEs – can receive services for innovation, training and support in the establishment of new technologies.
“For the Politecnico, obtaining as many as four Technological Innovation Infrastructures represents a very important achievement. Such substantial funding in infrastructures represents in fact an asset that will be able, thanks to a profitable relationship between the public and private sectors, to guarantee for the years to come a considerable impact on the areas in which the laboratories and centres financed thanks to this call for proposals will be located. The Politecnico will thus be able to equip itself with new equipment and also with an even more efficient network of tools to conduct its research and to accompany highly innovative products towards the market in the most topical sectors of world research: energy, sustainable mobility and future technologies in the automotive and aerospace sectors. Moreover, as emphasised on several occasions by the Minister for Universities and Research, Maria Cristina Messa, in the case of Technological Innovation Infrastructures, Italy will be the model for Europe on how to implement them through public-private partnerships”,comments the Politecnico’s Rector Guido Saracco.
THE TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION INFRASTRUCTURE PROPOSED BY THE POLITECNICO
- INFUTURO - “INFUTURO Innovation Technology Infrastructure”
The automotive sector is facing challenges that will completely change mobility on the road as we know it today, in the direction summarised by the acronym ACES: Autonomous driving, Connected, Electrification, Sharing mobility.
In the Italian context, in order to maintain a presence in the automotive business and acquire skills for the mobility of the future, it is strategic to create new modern and efficient infrastructures that can attract the development and validation of world-class activities.
The INFUTURO Infrastructure is part of this line of research and innovation, with the involvement of two public partners and the expression of interest by international players in the sector.
Activities will be spread over two sites in the Piedmont region: Trino test track (Trino Vercellese) and the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles and Powertrain Laboratory (Turin).
“INFUTURO is strongly integrated with the National Centre for Sustainable Mobility and the other Politecnico automotive initiatives such as the CARS centre. It is the result of the close collaboration between the Politecnico and companies in the automotive sector to create an infrastructure for testing zero-emission autonomous and connected vehicles and the infrastructure for ‘smart mobility’. INFUTURO will be an infrastructure open to companies and research centres that will make unique international development opportunities accessible to companies including SMEs”, comments Professor Andrea Tonoli, from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the Politecnico di Torino and coordinator of the INFUTURO Innovation Technology Infrastructure. Total budget: €38,494,000
- IRSME - “Networked national innovation infrastructure for energy system simulation and monitoring”
As an example of a multi-site infrastructure that will involve all Italian regions, IRSME will be a Multidisciplinary National Laboratory based on an IT platform that connects, on the GARR national network, existing or specifically created national laboratories for the simulation, prototyping and testing of energy systems. The new IRSME infrastructure responds to the challenges posed by the energy transition by enabling analyses and simulations of energy infrastructure models, technologies, both real and virtual components and their interaction.
The aim of the infrastructure is to promote the integration of renewable energy sources into the energy system and the optimised use of resources, both from an energy and environmental and technical and economic point of view, and to contribute to the ecological transition.
Thirteen public and 46 private companies have expressed their interest in joining the infrastructure.
“The project represents a great opportunity for collaboration and technology transfer between companies and research institutions. The expression of interest, which was received from 46 companies, showed that not only large energy players but also small and medium-sized enterprises saw interesting prospects for their competitiveness by taking part in the initiative. We have a great challenge ahead of us that, when won, will make available to the country a powerful and innovative tool to support technical and political decision-makers”, comments Professor Romano Borchiellini, of the “Galileo Ferraris” Energy Department of the Politecnico di Torino, the Rector’s Contact Person for the Energy Centre of the Politecnico and coordinator of the IRSME - Networked national innovation infrastructure for energy system simulation and monitoring.
Total budget: €34,708,000
- ISM4Italy - “Innovation infrastructure for sustainable mobility in Italy”
Europe is increasingly promoting a sustainable and smart mobility strategy. This is the context of the ISm4Italy Infrastructure action, which will strengthen the industrial sectors of smart, electric and autonomous mobility on ground (automotive and rail) and aerospace domains. These sectors will particularly benefit from solutions and methods from the areas of robotics and artificial intelligence as “drivers” for the implementation of autonomous vehicles and aircraft.
Six public and 16 private companies have expressed interest in joining the infrastructure.
“The ISM4Italy project represents the natural evolution of the National Centre for Sustainable Mobility, with the intention of linking an industrial-type initiative with a research and development project with a lower TRL. The cohesion of intentions with a high TRL between companies and universities and research centres represents an absolute novelty on the national scene”, comments Professor Giorgio Guglieri, from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the Politecnico di Torino and coordinator of ISM4Italy - Innovation infrastructure for sustainable mobility in Italy.
Regions where the infrastructure is distributed: Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Campania, Apulia. Total budget: €39,994,192
- IS4Aerospace - “Technological innovation infrastructure for knowledge transfer within the new Aerospace challenges”
The aerospace industry will go through a paradigm shift in the coming years, due to the “green” strategies imposed by the European Union (electric and hybrid aircraft, new lightweight materials that save energy).
The new infrastructure will be dedicated to the development of technology transfer and service activities in the aeronautical and space fields, with integrated laboratories and test facilities to cover all phases, from development to certification of materials and components, including through the use of real and simulated elements that can be interchanged in a process aimed at achieving the desired performance.
In this case, the infrastructure will be developed on a single site: the Aerospace City in Turin, where it will become an essential component of the up-and-coming research and technology transfer ecosystem dedicated to these topics in the sub-alpine capital.
Large multinational companies in the sector have shown interest in the infrastructure’s activities.
“IS4Aerospace is a strongly integrated project between industry and university, in complete connection with other PNRR measures and with the territory’s lines of strategy. Companies and Universities have had a significant role in its conception, in determining its objectives and the methods to pursue them. Ultimately, this infrastructure represents a real challenge in the achievement of a public-private partnership in a technologically advanced sector such as aerospace, which will undergo significant evolutions in the next few years towards disruptive solutions that require tested and certified technological maturity”, says Professor Massimo Sorli, of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of the Politecnico di Torino and coordinator of IS4Aerospace Technological Innovation Infrastructure for knowledge transfer within the new Aerospace challenges. Total budget: €32,400,000.