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2023 Spring Meeting

Education and training


Entrepreneurial mindset in materials

Local and global wellness is increasingly the result of technological entrepreneurs able to translate new ideas, technologies and inventions into economic and social value, through innovative and knowledge-based business models. In this sense, it is crucial to increase the entrepreneurial spirit of STEM students through elaborating entrepreneurial learning processes and creating entrepreneurial ecosystems made up of key stakeholders, resources, knowledge assets, services, competencies and relationships amongst the different innovation actors.


The EU paradox - perceived failure of European countries to translate scientific advances into marketable innovations - is also the result of a scarce attention of the EU training system to entrepreneurship education (EE). In fact, entrepreneurship is a process of learning, so entrepreneurs can be interpreted as being permanent learners that need to be continuously trained. Besides, at corporate level, managers also need to transform themselves into knowledge intensive entrepreneurs, able to create and pursue new growth opportunities for their business. Efforts then have to be taken to develop EE courses so to create knowledge-intensive entrepreneurs in materials science. Such initiatives should not remain isolated and fragmented, but need to have a holistic, integrative and systemic approaches that have the potential to cultivate entrepreneurial learning mechanisms in materials science that go beyond simple knowledge acquisition. In fact, students have to develop mixes of entrepreneurial attitudes and skills such as risk propensity, persistency when dealing with problems and barriers, team building, leadership as well as strong focus to the development of successful innovation journeys and capability to “strategically” engage and attract stakeholders and understand the market needs.

In this symposium, we will discuss both at policy, theoretical and experiential levels how to promote the setting of an entrepreneurial mindset in materials science. In particular, we will have lectures by innovation trainees, but also by entrepreneurs, innovation managers and researchers that tried, with or without success, to exploit their materials science research results into products. By inviting speakers along the whole value chain of the materials innovation journeys, ranging from design of materials through computational modelling up to the scaling up and market update of advanced materials, we will provide a complete picture. Furthermore, we will present some examples of fundraising strategies for materials science, discuss the basics of innovation intelligence usefulness in materials science and show some best practices on training paths trying to set up the entrepreneurial mindset. Last but least in the final roundtable we will discuss - aiming to prepare a white paper on this topic - with the main EU materials science ecosystem actors – researchers, professors, entrepreneurs, innovation managers, venture capitalists, policy-makers – how to offer to as many students as possible a real-life experience of what it means to be entrepreneurial in materials science in today’s world.

Hot topics to be covered by the symposium:

  • entrepreneurship education courses in materials science
  • entrepreneurial attitudes and skills
  • entrepreneurship education EU and Member states policies
  • fundraising for innovation journeys in materials science
  • innovation intelligence for materials science research results exploitation
  • policies for entrepreneurship education



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Symposium organizers
Francesco MATTEUCCI (Main organizer)European Commission – European Innovation Council (EIC-EISMEA)
Gian Marco RIGNANESEUniversity of Louvain, Belgium
Johannes BÜNZ (Main organizer)European Commission – European Innovation Council (EIC-EISMEA)
Roberto GIANNANTONIOUniversity of Milan

Dept. of Chemistry, Milan, Italy.
Valeria NICOLOSITrinity College Dublin

School of Chemistry, Ireland