After its official launch on October 1st 2022, at the end of January 2023 the NODES ecosystem, financed by the Italian Ministry of University and Research within the framework of the PNRR (Piano Nazionale di Ripresa e Resilienza - National Recovery and Resilience Plan), brought together the partners of the “Spoke 1” dedicated to Aerospace and Sustainable Mobility for a meeting in the Agorà hall of I3P, the Innovative Companies Incubator of Politecnico di Torino. The aim was to review the progress of activities in view of the launch of business calls for companies scheduled for April 2023.
The meeting was introduced by Chiara Ferroni, General Director of the Hub, and Giuseppe Scellato, Professor of Politecnico di Torino, President of I3P and Coordinator of Spoke 1. Firstly, they outlined the general objectives of the ecosystem, which over its three-year duration aims to create research and technology transmission in different technological and industrial fields:
- Sustainable mobility and aerospace (Spoke 1)
- Green technologies (Spoke 2)
- Tourism and culture industry (Spoke 3)
- Digital and sustainable mountain (Spoke 4)
- Health industry and silver economy (Spoke 5)
- Primary agro-industry (Spoke 6) and Secondary agro-industry (Spoke 7)
NODES is a system that focuses on supporting applied research projects (Research booster), stimulating innovation in SMEs (Innovation booster), improving expertise through up-skilling and re-skilling actions (Competence booster), and supporting the creation of new enterprises (Acceleration booster) using total resources of more than 110 million euros. The main focus of the meeting was the presentations of the three Flagship Projects of Spoke 1 coordinated by Politecnico di Torino, representing the theme paths through which the spoke aims to achieve the objectives planned on the different pillars of the ecosystem: SPACE4YOU, H2Mobility and ELECTRO.
Specifically, the SPACE4YOU project, coordinated by Sabrina Corpino, Professor of DIMEAS - Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Fabio Dovis, Professor of DET - Department of Electronics and Telecommunications (both already involved in the ESA BIC Turin incubation program), aims at the creation of a distributed laboratory dedicated to "small satellites" and the new space economy. On the other hand, the theme of sustainable mobility, achieved through the use of alternative energy vectors such as hydrogen, will be addressed by the H2Mobility project, whose coordination will be led by Fabrizio Pirri, Professor of DISAT (Department of Applied Science and Technology). Finally, the ELECTRO project, coordinated by Paolo Guglielmi, Professor of DENERG (Department of Energy), will contribute to the development of systems and devices for charging and managing electric vehicles, as well as the analysis of new business models for sustainable mobility.
All of these projects will be implemented by Politecnico di Torino thanks to the collaboration with the different partners of Spoke 1 - namely the University of Turin, LINKS Foundation, I3P, Envipark and CIM 4.0, to be joined by Politecnico di Bari, University of Catania and CNR ITM.
After covering the project issues, the meeting addressed how to engage stakeholders, which is essential to ensure the impact of upcoming rounds of calls for businesses in the area. Next, Miriam Pirra of Fondazione Piemonte Innova, coordinator of the activities dedicated to Ecosystems' Engagement and Development actions, illustrated the tools that will allow to listen and map the needs of companies with respect to the topics of interest to actively involve them in the research innovation roadmap.
On the topic of the round of calls, for which the Hub will have about €51.9 million at its disposal, including about €7 million for Spoke 1. Then, director Chiara Ferroni stepped in to present the different funding opportunities that will be provided for companies interested in the ecosystem. These will be different types of interventions that will allow for: grants to implement innovation projects and vouchers to access both training courses and business acceleration support services.