More researchers to SMEs – the new challenge of Polytechnic of Bari

“We will bring more researcher to the SMES” – this is the challenge of Polytechnic of Bari. The words of the new Rector of the Apulian University, Francesco Cupertino, 46-year-old, lecturer of converters, machines and electric drives. Every year Polytechnic of Bari graduates almost thousand students and quite 700-800 master’s degree, among IT and management engineers, electrical, automatic, electronic. But they are not enough! The pole of digital technologies arose in Puglia in recent years is increasingly “hungry” for IT engineers.

 Our Region, whose economy is based on the Small and Medium Enterprises needs to reinvent itself. For this reason, it generates innovative start-ups at the rate of 400 every year, especially in the field of scientific research and digital services, which attracts news talents and new investments. Polytechnic is claimed to accelerate this process


Apulian industry and Polytechnic of Bari have a common competitive and decisive lever?

The Polytechnic has an important role and not only in Italy, but in the whole Mediterranean with whose Universities it competes. I look at North Africa, at Egypt, where other European universities have been moving for long time. My gaze goes to the Middle Eastern area, I think of Israel: all of them are universities that have peculiar attention to the technology transfer to businesses. In recent years we worked hard, especially in field of public-private collaboration, with researchers from large companies that developed within them research and experiments but now we must find a model to transfer the gained experience to the Small and Medium Enterprises that don’t have graduates or graduates who are unable to face the digital transformation


What can be the way?

 I’m sure on the potential of industrial doctorates, with researchers trained in the laboratories of SMEs who move to the company and remain here, able to manage the whole innovation process. Apulia Region is available to invest in such initiatives. For this reason, in 2020 we will present two new PhD courses: one in the aerospace sector and another in that of digital technologies industry 4.0 and we will develop them by interacting with the local reality. But other sectors are also working. This is the right path; this is the path towards the future

Translated from an interview article with Rector of the Apulian University, Francesco Cupertino. The original interview article in Italian can be found here: