A new laboratory and scholarships. The role of Regione Lombardia and industrialists

The University of Brescia aims to become one of the main national research centres in the field ofeco-innovation and sustainability technologies. It is in this context, in fact, that the framework agreement signed by the University and ENEA, National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, is inserted.

The ‘collaboration pact’ commits the two bodies to joint research and training activities through the sharing of their respective technological structures and equipment. The agreement also includes the establishment of a new laboratory specifically dedicated to ‘Technologies of Sustainability’, activated in a space granted on loan by the CSMT, the Multisectoral and Technological Service Centre of Via Branze, already a partner of the campus.

First synergies

The synergy with the University of Brescia is a new element of the programme launched in 2018 by ENEA with the aim of opening branch offices in the provinces with the highest industrial density and thus transfer, directly to the territory, skills and technologies. One year ago ENEA took its first steps in Lombardy, activating a first collaboration with the University of Brescia, which resulted in the co-financing of two PhD fellowships in Civil and Environmental Engineering, International Cooperation and Mathematics on specific topics: “Scenarios of industrial symbiosis in the Brescia area: recovery and enhancement of waste from production processes” and "Enhancement of resources from waste in the framework of the circular economy”.

The scholarships were awarded to two chemical engineers, who are already working in the field and in the new laboratory built at the CSMT. Together with the lecturers of the University of Brescia, they developed projects related to the management of industrial waste and contaminated sites.

The need to train high level skills on man-made transformations on the environment, on their impact and on that of the circular economy,has convinced Regione Lombardia and the Industrial Association of Brescia (AIB) to support ENEA. The public body has launched a call for applications of EUR 920,000 to fund new three-year PhD fellowships for the Lombard university centres (we talked about it here) while AIB, recognising how much these job profiles are sought by local companies, will offer company experience to scholars once the PhD is over.

In addition to Brescia, ENEA has launched a second project in Bergamo together with Kilometro Rosso, the scientific-technological district promoted by Brembo Spa, aimed at developing the study of advanced materials 4.0 and technologies for Smart Cities. A third project, at the starting line, once again involves the University of Brescia and ENEA, this time supported by University of Milano-Bicocca and Fondazione Cariplo. This is a research project aimed at the production of biosurfactants for the treatment of soils polluted by hydrocarbons. The novelty lies in the organic origin of the substances used for decontamination, all derived from residues from the processing of oil and wine.

To complete the framework agreement between the National Agency and the University of Brescia - “an alliance that makes us proud” commented the chancellor Maurizio Tira - also the joint commitment to the promotion of technologies available in the form of patents by the two bodies.

“The objective of the involvement of PhD students, for ENEA - explained at the presentation of the framework agreement the President of the Agency, Federico Testa - is the creation of highly qualified figures that at the end of the path can be hired by the Agency and become the local core of the branch offices”.

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