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Biomaterials for energy and health, Industry 4.0: the projects of Pavia and Bergamo

Region funds infrastructure and innovative laboratories for these universities with 1.7 million each

redazione open innovation

redazione open innovation

Regione Lombardia

Sustainable energy and health are at the heart of the agreement between the Lombardy Region and the University of Pavia to turn the university into a European centre of excellence for nano- and biomaterials on the one hand, and to create innovative approaches to the study of cancer and the brain on the other. 

A similar agreement between Palazzo Lombardia and the University of Bergamo centres around robotics and workers' welfare in Industry 4.0.

These two initiatives were approved by the Regional Council on 29 March on a motion by the Councillor for Education, Universities, Research, Innovation and Simplification, Fabrizio Sala, as part of the 'Collaboration agreements for research, innovation and technology transfer’ entered into by Palazzo Lombardia with eight public universities in Lombardy, each of which is granted up to EUR 1.6 million funds.

Our universities," said Councillor Sala, "are important centres for promoting the spillover effects of research and innovation on Lombardy’s productive fabric. First and foremost, the post-pandemic economic recovery, but also the quality of life of citizens.

A project with a European scope: infrastructure for Pavia

The breadth of the scope is apparent when you look at the topics covered by the agreement with the University of Pavia for a two-pronged project, financed with almost 1.7 million by the Region and slated for completion in June 2023.

The first line of action will place the university and its Centro Grandi Strumenti among the top five Italian institutes for nanoscience and technology and turn it into a true European centre specialising in sustainable bio-nanomaterials

In detail, the first part of project 'Bio/nano-tech @UniPV for Sustainable Energy and Health' involves the development of a platform of excellence for the characterisation of synthetic and biological materials, nano-structured and composite materials. The project lies within the framework of the EU Green Deal at the intersection of chemistry, physics, engineering, sustainable economics and the development of business models relevant to Lombardy’s economy.

The project will reinforce the existing infrastructure in research laboratories where research on these topics is already under way with prestigious international (5 ERCs) and 

national grants (2 PRIN). On the other hand, it will also enable the Pavia university to develop two microscopes that are unique in Europe (for their high optical resolution, wide-field 'light-sheet') for the characterisation of biological and synthetic nanomaterials. 

The applications: precision medicine, new drugs

These infrastructures will benefit frontier research, including application research, such as additive manufacturing (based on 3D printing techniques) in the biomedical field and the conservation of cultural heritage.

In the short term, the agreement between the Region and the university will help speed up the transfer of innovative products from academic laboratories to the local industrial network, creating intellectual property that can also produce patents and spin-offs.

The second line of action of the approved project aims at advancing biomedical research towards Precision and Personalised Medicine through interdisciplinary studies on cancer and brain biology, an innovative high-performance cluster for the calculations required by modern machine learning algorithms, and the design of new drugs.

Digital factory techniques and services in Bergamo

The project of the University of Bergamo is called "Smart Living in Manufacturing". 

Financed with almost EUR 1.7 million (49% of the total estimated cost of over EUR 3.4 million), it envisages two projects: a small-scale manufacturing line with latest-generation automatic units and robots, including some collaborative robots; and a sensorised environment for testing and developing new technologies and new services, such as devices for tracking people's movements and data processing with data security techniques to prevent the onset of occupational diseases and possible accidents while respecting workers' privacy. 

More specifically, there will be three manufacturing lines: one for additive technologies and 3D printing, one for packaging and one focused on quality control.

The focus of the project is the development, integration and demonstration of technologies and processes for the digital factory that are also oriented towards the well-being of workers.

In addition, the two projects – production lines and a sensorised environment – will provide useful environments to train various players such as manufacturing companies and companies operating in the occupational medicine and prevention sector, to experiment with and use the proposed solutions at first hand; as well as a demo centre and technology transfer centre, as a reference point for the entire region.

A magnet for innovation and technology

"The Lombardy Region's support to the University of Bergamo is tangible and responds to the needs of a university that continues to drive innovation," stressed the Regional Councillor for Infrastructure, Transport and Sustainable Mobility Claudia Maria Terzi, coordinator of the Bergamo ‘Territorial Table'.

"The Bergamo campus, under the helm of Rector Remo Morzenti Pellegrini, is in fact becoming increasingly attractive to students not only from Lombardy. We will never fail to provide the necessary support," he added. In this regard, I am thinking, for example, of the funding provided for the renovation of the former Montelungo-Colleoni army barracks. “Bergamo,” concluded Terzi, “must be proud of its university, which is an added value and a driving force for the growth of the entire territory”.

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