Expert Voices Expert Voices – Nicolò Cavina and Chiara Farinelli

We have spoken to over 30 experts on the topic of HEI-SME consortia and funding and created a blog series of expert voices out of it. Two of the experts we have interviewed are Prof. dr. Cavina and Dr. Farinelli, who on behalf of the University-Business Collaboration Unit shared insights about the Green Mobility Research Lab – a laboratory that emerged out of joint collaboration between the University of Bologna and FEV Italia s.r.l. The Lab is dedicated to development of novel solutions in smart and sustainable mobility, innovative transportation and conducts testing and validation. You can find all the blogs in this series here.

Nicolò Cavina is Professor at the Department of Industrial Engineering and Coordinator of PhD Programme in Automotive Engineering for Intelligent Mobility at the University of Bologna. He is author and co-author of over 100 scientific papers mostly published internationally. Professor Cavina successfully participated in the Horizon 2020 funded project “ADVICE – ADvancing user acceptance of general purpose hybridized Vehicles by Improved Cost and Efficiency” (2016-2019). Beside this project, Professor Cavina has implemented many research projects and has long-term commitment to collaboration with other research organizations (Center for Automotive Research, Ohio State University; ETH, Zurich Polytechnic; Powertrain Control Research Laboratory, University of Wisconsin; RWTH Aachen, Germany; Institute for Vehicle Intelligence, Cornell University), and the industry, mainly with major automotive companies (Aprilia, Borghi & Saveri, Ducati, Ferrari, FEV, IAV, Lamborghini Automobili, Marelli, Maserati, Piaggio). He holds BS and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bologna.

Image: Nicolò Cavina

Chiara Farinelli is Industrial Strategic Partnerships Officer at the ARTEC- Industrial Relations, Third Mission and Communication Division of the University of Bologna. After her work as Scientific Officer and later as Research and Entrepreneurship Advisor at the KTO Entrepreneurship Unit, Dr. Farinelli joined the University-Business Collaboration Unit where she directly promotes and supports University’s partnerships with the industry and the society. Dr. Farinelli holds MSc and PhD in Mathematics from the University of Bologna.

Image: Chiara Farinelli

Initially, the collaboration between these two counterparts from the academia and the business sector started through providing internships for students. This collaboration then inspired both sides to further their cooperation and extend it to research as well. This decision was strategic since it meets needs and interests of both partners. The University was developing a prototype of a connected automatic vehicle and needed a commitment of a few years of development before seeing any potential revenue from the project. FEV Italia spends a significant amount of its budget on applied research, making them a logical partner.

Both partners invested significant resources into development and running of the Lab and made a long-term commitment to their collaboration. Such approach helps them to mitigate the risk of excessively long period of time necessary to capitalize on their investments. Bologna is located in the region of Emilia Romagna, the so called “motor valley”, where it is surrounded by several large automotive companies operating in different segments of the automotive supply chain. One of the major recent developments in the automotive industry, particularly in Europe, is the demand for electric and reduced emission vehicles. The shortening of vehicle time-to-market to under two years has allowed development to line up with university research timelines, opening up the possibility for collaborations.

Beside the strategic alignment with the economic ecosystem of the region in which they operate, the cooperation results in direct benefits for both partners. Through the Lab, the University of Bologna provides applied and interdisciplinary education for its students, has access to investment for research projects, including PhD work, and takes part in applied and innovative research; FEV Italia on the other side benefits from the access to university resources and knowledge, talent acquisition and maintains it competitive advantage.

The Lab’s main activity is research. It brings together PhD students from different fields, predominantly mechanical, electronics and informatics engineers, who work together on the entire project at the same time. These students are linked in the lab to industry professionals who use their experiences to push the research forward and share their applied knowledge.


Author: Elma Demir


Photo by Mike Enerio on Unsplash

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