OREANDA-NEWS. November 03, 2015. Mauro Moretti, Finmeccanicas CEO and general manager and Giovanni De Gennaro, company chairman, appeared alongside Stefania Giannini, the Italian Minister for Education, Universities and Research to present the Finmeccanica Innovation Awards for high-tech projects and patents. For the first time, the awards were open to entries from university students, new graduates and PhD candidates from scientific disciplines.

The number of projects competing for the Finmeccanica Innovation Award has tripled in the last 10 years.

Half of the projects submitted this year come from foreign universities.

15% of the Finmeccanica Groups current patents originated from the Innovation Awards.

Finmeccanica invested over 1.5 billion euros in research and development in 2014.
Being competitive requires a new approach that allows the movement of ideas between research institutions, universities, large companies and start-ups.

In a highly competitive global economy that is seeing ever-quicker technological development, it is essential for a countrys economic system to maintain its capacity to innovate.

This was the theme of Finmeccanicas conference, entitled Future Horizons: Investing in Talent and High Technology, held today at Expo Milano 2015. In attendance were the Italian Minister for Education, Universities and Research Stefania Giannini and the President of the Lombardy Region Roberto Maroni. During the event, which was supported by the European Commission, Finmeccanicas Chairman, Giovanni De Gennaro, and the Groups CEO and General Manager, Mauro Moretti, awarded prizes to innovators inside and outside of Finmeccanica. Some winners came from the groups in-house Innovation Award, which has acknowledged the most innovative projects developed by the Groups employees for more than a decade. For the first time, awards were also presented to the winners of the Young People Innovation Award, chosen from among university students, new graduates and PhD candidates enrolled in engineering, mathematics, physics, computer science and chemistry departments at Italian Universities.

"Investing in Research and Development is essential to making Italy more competitive. Governments, of course, play an important role, but it is essential that companies become more aware of the importance of such investments, remembering that innovation starts in the minds of people and, therefore, the talents that we are able to cultivate" Minister Giannini said

Innovation and technology are in Finmeccanicas DNA said Finmeccanica CEO and General Manager Mauro Moretti, adding In 2014 we invested more than 1.5 billion euros in research and development, as we are convinced that they are the key factors behind competitiveness. A continued exchange between the world of research and academia enables the transfer of breakthrough experience, solutions and requirements. This is the only way of tackling international competition, including that from newly industrialised countries, as the key to success lies in the protection of intellectual property. The role of big industry in this system is two-fold: Mr Moretti went on to say, on the one hand it generates demand for new technologies and innovation, stimulating the industrial sector to improve its competencies, and on the other hand it encourages partnerships with research institutes, universities and start-ups, thus offering an outlet for innovative solutions.

The debate included the participation of Giuseppe Abbamonte, Director of the Directorate Media & Data DG CONNECT European Commission, Amalia Ercoli Finzi, Professor emeritus at Politecnico di Milano, Federico Testa, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) Commissioner, and Luigi Capello, CEO of LVenture Group and LUISS ENLABS Founder.

Finmeccanica Innovation Award

This year the Finmeccanica Innovation Award features two important new initiatives, both aimed at recognising the talented people who can help guarantee the sustainability of current business and boost future growth. The first is a new evaluation criterion for in-group proposals that aims to reward innovation at all levels of development; incremental innovation, radical innovation and new ideas. The second new initiative was to open up the awards to students through the Young People Innovation Award.

Winning projects:

  • Incremental innovation: 3D real-time acoustical imaging system, to enhance the performance of underwater acoustic cameras, presented by WASS (Pozzuoli facility, Naples). This innovation also envisages the use of underwater drones for seabed surveillance.
  • Radical innovation: SuperHawk Infrared Detector, developed in the Southampton (United Kingdom) facilities of Selex ES. SuperHawk which combines superior performance in resolution, small size and reasonable cost.
  • New idea: INDIA, Innovative Non Destructive Inspection Architecture, presented by Alenia Aermacchi (Pomigliano dArco facility, Naples). INDIA inserts graphene-based integrated circuits in the composite materials used in building aerostructures which enables in-depth analysis of the condition of a structure while avoiding destructive procedures.
  • The prize for the best patent was awarded to the Aircraft Engine Turbine Residual Power Visual Display System by AgustaWestland (at the companys Cascina Costa di Samarate, Varese facility), which provides pilots with a simple, real-time synthesis of critical helicopter flight information.

Moreover, with the Young People Innovation Award, Finmeccanica launched a challenge to the students enrolled in engineering, mathematics, physics, computer science and chemistry departments at Italian Universities. The projects submitted are required to apply to the business sectors targeted by the Group, such as 3D/Additive Manufacturing, Autonomous Systems, Cyber Security and Technologies to reduce the observability of aerial platforms. The award-winning students were from the University Roma 3, the Turin Polytechnic, the University of Milan, the University of Naples-Parthenope, the University of Sannio-Benevento and the University La Sapienza of Rome.