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University for Innovation (I4U): an inter-university bridge to bring research to businesses

University for Innovation (I4U): an inter-university bridge to bring research to businesses
Friday, 27 April 2018

In this ever-changing world, innovation is one of the most mentioned words in both academic and the business world but its connection with progress is essential. For this reason the research needs to be managed and oriented towards a real impact on society, so turned into new projects, and these projects will be the key to progress. [1]

From this stance, with the aim of spreading the culture of innovation, enhancing research, and attracting major international investors, three Italian Universities (Bergamo, Milan-Bicocca and Pavia) have established the University for Innovation (I4U), the first inter-university foundation in Italy dedicated to technological transfers and to scientific innovation[2]. The U4I Foundation intends to build a bridge between academic research and businesses, “creating a short circuit between scientific knowledge produced by the university and companies capable of enhancing it” said Fabio Rugge, Rector of the University of Pavia [3].

Inaugurated in Milan this April 2018, the U4I Foundation involves more than 2,000 researchers and 40 spin-offs, aiming to open the boundaries of departmental research to ideas coming from other universities, businesses and, as a result of this synergy, encouraging the development of innovative products and services. [3]

Through a "call for ideas" among universities, the most promising research initiatives will receive funding from their experimentation phase. The selected projects will be supported by a team specialized in innovation management, that will facilitate the dissemination of the new ideas from the laboratory to the market, as well as a network of collaborations with foreign agencies dedicated to the enhancement of new research. [4]

In the Italian context, I4U represents a model that can expand and give prestige to Italian interuniversity research and as well as a wave of innovation and progress to the companies at national and international level.