Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Engagement with Industry in RI and CF


  • Introduction to the course: 15th of June from 13:00 to 15:00 (online)
  • Full course: 11 to 15 September from 13:00 to 17:00 everyday (online)

Learning model: Lectures, showcases, testimonials, group works and a final assignment. 20 hours, including frontal lectures, testimonials and active learning activities

This course focuses on the interplay between research and entrepreneurship when creating innovations with a societal impact. The aim is to give participants more insight into establishing relationships with the industry and deepen their understanding of how to best align interests with the industry and assess innovative projects. It will combine theoretical aspects, showcases and testimonials from invited speakers, and practical sessions that take into consideration and draw inspiration from the diverse backgrounds of the participants. Basic concepts will be first introduced in traditional lectures, after which the participants get to demonstrate their understanding of the subject through showcases, exercises and teamwork assignments.

The course is divided into two Sessions: Innovation and entrepreneurship and Engagement with industry.  

Target Audience

To qualify for admission to the course, the participant must be registered as a PhD student in the Third Cycle of the University or they are Managers and operators of CF and RI.

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes

Session 1 – Innovation and Entrepreneurship

This session will cover the topics of intellectual property strategies, innovation strategies, patents, and general concepts and frameworks around entrepreneurship. It will also discuss questions like “what is an invention” and the interplay between research and entrepreneurship when creating an innovation that might have an impact on society. 

After completing this session, the participant will be able to 

  • Have an understanding of innovation and entrepreneurship in general and from the CF & RI perspectives
  • Describe processes and tools for stimulating innovation and value creation: what is innovation, prerequisites for utilization and value creation of research results, design thinking
  • Describe the art of transferring the potential value of an invention into a working facility 
  • Describe the art of transferring the potential value of an invention into a working business based on recent real examples and of your own project work.
  • Describe the role of RI and CF as “innovation hubs” 
  • Describe and understand the interplay and connected challenges between invention and entrepreneurship, that is, how to transform an invention into a useful product for society.
  • Identifying and understanding user and customer needs
  • Design a business plan and effectively communicate and “sell” new business concepts to other people.
  • Describe how to protect your ideas” (intellectual property, patent strategy, licensing, contracts, patent search), 
  • Describe how to present your ideas, as well as give and receive feedback (”Elevator pitch”. The last day of the course is organized as a “value creation forum”) 
  • Describe how to communicate an invention to different stakeholders in society and write a popular science text
Session 2 – Engagement with Industry

This session focuses on ways to build relationships with the industry. What are the industry and the facility looking for when establishing a working relationship (service vs collaboration/method development)? How can we better align our interests for a successful relationship? The session also discusses various funding opportunities for projects that involve both academia and industry and the importance to have a testimonial from the industry. 

After completing this session, the participant will be able to 

  • Describe the importance of industry engagement for public stakeholders and the main barriers to industry/RI engagement
  • Describe different industry stakeholders based on characteristics such as sector, main activity, company size or service needs to define a tailored engagement strategy
  • Describe modes and channels of engagement with the industry
  • Describe the key actors in the strategic partnerships (intermediaries and innovation hubs)
  • Explain how to segment industries to define a proper engagement strategy:
    • Size of the company
    • Sector of application/activity
    • Tailoring the service-offer 
  • Explain Co-creation and collaborative ways of working
    • Collaboration vs service mode: how to define
    • The exploitation of public funding to support industry/RI-CF collaborations
  • Understand the actors of the reference value chain 
  • Describe different ways and approaches of how to engage with industry and establish RI/CF – industry relations
  • Describe the importance of the offer of continuous updates (offer life cycle analysis)
  • Explain the main drivers, motivations, constraints and cultural differences in organizations and how they influence collaboration
  • Identify strategic partnerships (intermediaries and innovation hubs)
  • Describe and understand how to leverage public funding to support industry/RI-CF collaborations
  • Explain how to present scientific matters in a way sure to interest private sector interlocutors
  • Describe potential actions for an industry engagement strategy
  • Describe the diversity of needs and potentials when approaching the private sector
  • Distinguish between activities to be carried out by a RI/CF and others that can be supported, for e.g. RI/CF members to further explore
  • Develop a tailored service-offer
  • Explain how to negotiate boundaries in industry and academia
The programme

The Programme



How do we define innovation: innovation management Innovation Ecosystems from the RI and CF perspective Valorisation of the infrastructures: Intellectual property and patentsCF and RI as innovators hubsCase studies/ Testimonial/ Exercises: Innovation potential or Core Facilities as methodology/technology transfer

1 half day (total 4h) 

The Startup Leadership Context: Introduction to Entrepreneurial LeadershipHow to promote knowledge exchange and technology transfer and create value, Creating, investigating and evaluating business ideas and opportunities: business planning for the entrepreneurial ventureTestimonial/ Exercises

1 half day (total 4h) 

The role of RI and CF in the overall contribution to InnovationThe role of RIs and CF as “innovation hubs” (“demo-sites”, “test sites”, “application scouts”)The different ways for RIs and CF to engage with industryThe importance of the industry engagement for public stakeholdersHow to segment industries to define a proper engagement strategyMain barriers to industry/RI-CF engagementThe strategic role of the interaction with industry for the socio-economic impact of a RI and CFCase studies/ Testimonial/ Exercises

3 half days (total 12h) 

Group exercises
Hands-on exercises (student showcase)Presenting the exam 
1 half day (total 2h) 
The Faculty

The Faculty

ESRF: Dr Ennio CapriaCoordinatorEnnio gained his PhD in Applied Physics at Cranfield University (UK). In his research career he has worked on the development of nanobiosensors and on nanocomposites. In 2011 Ennio joined Elettra where he worked on manufacturing optoelectronic devices and particularly their characterisation with synchrotron light. In 2013 Ennio joined ESRF as the IRT NanoElec Industrial Liaison Engineer and in 2016 became the Deputy Head of Business Development.
UGOT:Dr Julia Fernandez-RodriguezCoordinatorJulia Fernandez-Rodriguez is the Head of the Centre for Cellular Imaging University of Gothenburg, and Node of the Swedish National Microscopy Infrastructure and a National Unit of the SciLifeLab Infrastructure; Vice-chair of the Panels of Node Board for the Euro-BioImaging-ERIC consortium and President of the Core Technologies for Life Sciences Association (CTLS). Graduated (1989) in Biology from the University Santiago de Compostela (Spain) and received her PhD (1996) in Biochemistry from the University of Vigo (Spain). Her long-established research career in cell & molecular biology, together with her technical expertise in light and electron microscopy, and 20 years of core facility training experience have provided her with an excellent background in multiple life sciences disciplines, and in the development, implementation, management and operation of a multimodal imaging research infrastructure and its training activities at the national and international level. Her main interest has been always to provide expertise and support in correlated multimodal imaging workflows, from experimental design, specimen preparation to image acquisition and analysis, tailored to various research domains within the life sciences to make ambitious imaging studies across scales routine, and to facilitate the use of these resources by biomedical researchers and industrial partners. As a university core facility, she is also strongly involved in the education and training of students and researchers through a series of courses, seminars and workshops, often in collaboration with other universities in Sweden and abroad and with industrial partners. Her responsibility is to organize and lead these events, and to ensure that the scientific community gets the appropriate basic or advanced training on the different microscopy methods. Her overall aim is to foster a deep understanding of the full range of basic and advanced methods used in microscopy to allow for students and researchers to tackle their questions using the most appropriate probes and instruments. Furthermore, she has supervised core internship students in bioimaging, promoting future career possibilities and introducing core facility work as a possible career direction. 
ELIXIR: Dr Despoina SousoniDespoina Sousoni is in charge of implementing and driving ELIXIR’s industry strategy, managing a range of industry engagement activities based on ELIXIR members’ needs and EU-funded projects. These activities include ELIXIR’s Industry and Innovation Forums, support on the Industry Advisory Committee and management of the ELIXIR’s Knowledge Exchange Scheme, a staff exchange programme for ELIXIR Nodes and industry. See ELIXIR’s Industry activities here. Despoina’s expertise includes public-private partnerships, building Industry strategies for research infrastructures, and evaluating the entrepreneurial ecosystems in the life sciences. In addition, Despoina has a background in environmental microbiology and work experience in the European Commission and UNESCO, focusing on open science practices.
UNITN: Dr Fabio Damiano LeddaFabio Ledda has a PhD in Earth and Marine Sciences (Environmental Sciences) and a second level master’s programme degree in Open Innovation and Knowledge Transfer (project work title: “Third mission of Universities: Opportunities for innovation in collaboration with companies”).At the Department of Cellular, Computational and Integrative Biology (CIBIO) – University of Trento, for more than 10 years he was in charge of supporting the strategies of the Institute for research funding under local, national, European and international programmes; support to researchers and Core Facilities in consortium building, proposal development and coordination for collaborative projects; development of practices for knowledge and technology transfer and collaboration with industry. Teaching activities in “Biotechnology Management and Regulations” in the framework of the MSc course on Quantitative and Computational Biology and MSc course on Cellular and Molecular Biotechnologies.He is currently head for Strategic Research Programmes at the University of Trento. Coordinator of the unit of the Directorate in charge of supporting the action of the University in positioning the organization in strategic R&I funding programme such as within the National Plan for Recovery and Resilience (Next Generation EU) and for Health health research. Support in building consortia, proposal development and coordination for collaborative projects.
Dr David EggletonLecturer in Project Management with Innovation Studies (SPRU – Science Policy Research Unit), University of Sussex Business School. He has a PhD in Technology and Innovation Management, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom. He has been a lecturer in project management with innovation studies at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex since 2019. David is also Visiting Faculty at the University of Milano-Biccoca as part of the European Executive Masters in the Management of Research Infrastructures MBA. He has held previous roles as a school tutor, research assistant, and graduate teaching assistant at the University of Sussex Business School. David is a Member of the Association for Project Management (MAPM), a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and a Certified Management and Business Educator (CMBE) with the Chartered Associated of Business Schools (CABS). David completed his PhD in Technology and Innovation Management at SPRU in 2018 examining leadership and project management in the context of ‘Big Science’ projects. This necessitated fieldwork at CERN in Switzerland and at Fermilab in the United States where he held visiting researcher status. David also assisted with the first SPRU Training course that ran in 2018. David’s research and teaching interests include information systems, megaproject management, knowledge-intensive organisations, physics based innovation, project management and evaluation of research infrastructures, and scientific policy. David Eggleton received his initial training in Physics with Management at King’s College London in 2007 before receiving additional Masters training in photon statistics at the University of Sussex in 2011 within the Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics group. During this time David worked in medical physics and nuclear medicine, assisting with performing diagnostic and therapeutic treatments involving radioactive isotopes as well as supporting clinical drug development with colleagues elsewhere in Europe. 
Dr Ed MitchellHead of Business Development at ESRF (The European Synchrotron). We help industry the world over to benefit from the ESRF’s X-ray facilities and skills, and instrumentation know-how.
Julien ColombelliPhysics BSc, Optical Eng. MSc. Core Facility Manager, Advanced Digital Microscopy Facility. The Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Barcelona, Spain. Physicist, Optical Engineer. Research Engineer at CORECOM (Milan, Italy, 2001-2002), EMBL (Heidelberg, Germany, 2002-2008). Advanced Digital Microscopy (ADM) Core Facility Manager at IRB Barcelona (since 2008). Chair of NEUBIAS COST Action CA15124 (2016-2021). Founding member of REMOA (Spanish Society for Advanced Optical Microscopy). Main Inventor of LEGOLISH (Lego lightsheet microscope project). Congress (co-)organizer of LSFM2014, ELMI2015, EuBIAS2013, NEUBIAS (2016-2020), SPAOM (2019-20).
Sebastian TilleSebastian Tille holds a diploma in EE Information & Communication technology from the University of Applied Sciences, Giessen-Friedberg, Germany. Sebastian joined Leica Microsystems in May 2009 covering various management positions. Currently, he is heading Leica’s research and development collaboration initiatives geared towards supporting the company’s technology and product roadmap execution. He is actively involved in the strategy definition process. In addition to identifying Open Innovation partners from academia and industry, he also plays an active role in identifying and assessing M&A targets. Sebastian has over 25 years of experience in the life sciences and healthcare sector, started his career at Carl Zeiss as an engineer in RnD, later moved into product management where he was responsible for the launch of 2 key confocal products. In 2001 he moved to the US, held several product marketing management positions at Carl Zeiss US, focusing on successful market share growth in North America and expanding key opinion leader relationships. In 2007 he joined Veeco Instruments to drive their global life science business within the instruments division (scanning probe microscopy), again closely working with scientific and industrial collaboration partners. 
Norman RzepkaMaster of Science (M.Sc.), IT Systems Engineering of Sciences (M.Sc.),. Managing Director of Scalable minds. Scalable minds builds image analysis tools and services for life scientists specialized in Connectomics. Automate your analysis with collaborative software and AI technology.
Dr Etienne HenryEtienne Henry obtained his Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Rennes (France) in 2007. He became a research engineer at CNRS in 2008. First, at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan (Suburbs of Paris, France), at the head of the biological imaging facility, working on the development of new methodologies based on fluorescence spectroscopy (fluorescence anisotropy, FRET, fluorescence lifetime) and fluorescence imaging (fluorescence lifetime imaging). Since 2014, at the Ifremer – French Institute for Exploration of the Sea (Brest, France), in the deep sea department, he has developed single molecule imaging microscopes and fluorescence-based methods adapted to high temperature or high hydrostatic pressure to study hyperthermophile and piezophile organisms. Mission Officer for “R&D tech transfer” since 2020 for France-BioImaging (French Node of the European Research Infrastructure Consortium Euro-BioImaging ERIC), he has managed an internal innovation funding programme in the FBI National Infrastructure to promote new collaborations between R&D labs and Industry, speed-up transfer R&D to core facilities.
Dr Malte WachsmuthManaging Director and Head of Product Management and Application, Support and Service, IP at Luxendo GmbH, Bruker Nano. PhD and Postdoc in the Division Biophysics of Macromolecules (Head Jörg Langowski), German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg. 2005-2007 Group leader of the Cell Biophysics Group, Institut Pasteur Korea, Seoul, South Korea. 2007-2016, Staff Scientist in the Cell Biology & Biophysics Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg. Since 2005 Co-founder and Head of Applications, Support & Service, Luxendo GmbH.
Dr Markus NordbergHead of Resources Development in a new Unit called Development and Innovation at CERN. He has created IdeaSquare (it is the innovation space at CERN using collaborative methodologies, access to CERN expertise and cross-connectivity to ideate solutions for the future of humankind. A place where people have the license to dream.) 
How to apply

How to apply

Application period starts 3 April 2023 and ends 5 May 2023. Selected participants are informed via email by 15 May 2023. If the participant wishes to cancel their participation, they are required to inform the organisers at least 2 weeks prior to the course. 

Apply by filling in the form and upload your CV (max 3 pages)


The pilot short course is offered free-of-charge and requires the participant’s full commitment during lectures, group work and written assignments.


Info & Contact

To pass the course the participant must attend at least 80% of the lectures.

There will be a written evaluation of the different parts of the course. The results of the evaluation will be communicated to the participants and will function as a guide for the development of the course.

For any doubt or information, please see the FAQs below or send an email to ritrainplus[at]unimib.it


Why should I take this programme?

The programme is aimed at managers, operators and other professionals at Research Infrastructures and Core Facilities.

Who is behind this programme?

The pilot programme is designed by academic and educational experts in the RItrainPlus project who have a long experience working or leading Research Infrastructures or other scientific institutions.

How is the programme organized?

The programme  is divided into seven short courses, each containing sessions.  The short courses take up 16–32 hours each, plus individual work.

How do I take part?

The participants can take up either the whole programme and progress from one short course to the next, or take an individual short course that best fits their needs. For those interested in taking up the whole programme, it should be noted that some activities will be overlapping. Participants are advised to check the course schedules for more information.

What’s expected of me?

The participant is expected to participate in at least 80% of the scheduled activities. The courses are assessed in various ways. 

Do I have to take all the sessions in a short course? Can I just choose what I like?

The participant needs to participate in all the modules in the short course. 

What does it cost?

The pilot courses are offered free of charge

How are the courses taught?

Most of the short courses are offered as online intensive courses that take up 2-6 consecutive days. The courses are taught by experienced academics at RItrainPlus partner universities and institutions with  invited international experts.The courses will be delivered in the period June-September 2023.

How do I apply?

The application period is 03.04.2023 – 05.05.2023. Apply to the short course by submitting a short motivation letter and your CV. The chosen applicants will be informed via email by 15. 05. 2023.

When will I know if my application has been accepted?

Selected participants are informed by May 15th.

What if I realize that I cannot participate anymore after I’ve been admitted to participation?

If the participant wishes to cancel their participation, they are required to inform the organizers at least two weeks prior to the starting of the course

Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Engagement with Industry