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Professor Ray Garcia inaugurated seminars on the "PhD plus" project

One hundred and eleven students, all having top level professional qualifications, took part in this project, which is the first of its kind in Italy

Ray Garcia with the studentsThe seminars of the "PhD plus" project were inaugurated in April at the department of Computer Science. This is a new training and practical course that the University of Pisa has created for its PhD students, with the aim of encouraging diffusion of an entrepreneurial spirit among young scholars and the commercial improvement of innovative ideas. The first speaker was Professor Ray Garcia, former professor and mentor of entrepreneurship at the MIT Media Lab, and presently Professor at Baruch College, New York City. Professor Garcia (who, with his activities, has helped the creation of more than 30 start up projects in the internet sector) held the first set of lessons on the theme "New venture entrepreneurship for innovators and inventors."

One hundred and eleven students from all Pisa University PhD programs, mainly scientifically and technologically based, took part in the "PhD plus" project. Almost all had top level professional qualifications. Most spoke two or three languages, had spent some time abroad and could boast publications of international importance. More than half have had experience working in Italian or international companies, while around ten of them have been involved in patenting and spin-off projects.

The "PhD plus" project, set up by the Vice Chancellor for Applied Research and Innovation, Paolo Ferragina, is the first initiative of its kind in Italy and is one of the most advanced projects in the field in Europe. It has three principle objectives. Firstly, to install in the PhD students a basic competence for a definition and achievement of applied and industrial research projects through stimulating their entrepreneurial skills. This is what the European Union firmly hopes for in its European Strategy 2020 document, and what the Tuscan Regional Council urges in its recent proposal for a "re-appraisal of research expenditure."

Secondly, to encourage the creation of new top level technologically innovated companies via commercial improvement of ideas arrived at during the years of post-graduate study. Finally, to create a network of relations so as to make the most promising research (carried out by young scholars from the University of Pisa) known to the world of industry and investors. The aims of the projects are the strengthening of the academic-industrial synergy, and the promotion of job positions in industry for young PhD students.

  • 4 April 2011

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