Milan, 27 June 2022 – Intesa Sanpaolo intends to strengthen its support of university research by taking part in four National Centres for chain research as founding member of the four Foundations linked to important universities, such as the Bologna Technopole together with the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), the Polytechnic University of Milan, the University of Naples Federico II and the University of Padua, which will develop new technologies for the sustainable, green digital transition, in line with the European Union Research strategic agenda and the fourth Mission of the NRRP, which finances the new centres with €1.6 billion.

Intesa Sanpaolo consolidates its commitment with the aim of speeding up the activity in synergy with the public sector, to promote the innovation and dissemination of technologies, fostering the sharing of routes and projects between universities, research entities, enterprises and start-ups. With this intervention, Intesa Sanpaolo, the only banking group of the founding members, will be able to take part together with Research Centres and Universities, in the development of projects, being an active partner in the development of technological transfer models to local enterprises and helping determine the strategic guidelines of research, as well as contributing towards the pursuit of the NRRP.

More specifically, the four Centres are as follows:

-       National HPC, Big Data and Quantum Computing Centre, based in Bologna at the Technopoleguided by the INFN together with the supercalculation systems of ECMW, CINECA, targets emerging technologies, including those for quantum computing, to maintain and strengthen the national HPC and Big Data infrastructure.

-       National Sustainable Mobility Centre based in Milan, guided by the Polytechnic University of Milan, for inclusive, sustainable and low-carbon mobility solutions on a large scale, acts as the catalyst of innovation integrated with Italian and European initiatives.

-       National Agritech Centre based in Naples, guided by the University of Naples Federico II for a transition towards an ecological, innovative agriculture focussed on the sustainable adaptation to climate change.

-       National Gene Therapy and RNA Technology Drug Development Centre based in Padua, guided by the University of Padua for the transformation of scientific knowledge into the development of RNA therapies, a technique used in anti-Covid vaccines to develop safe, effective, innovative therapeutic approaches.

Thanks to the four new Centres, the Bologna Technopole, the Polytechnic University of Milan and the universities of Naples and Padua will act as hubs connecting with numerous other universities throughout Italy, involving an ever greater number of sites, researchers and enterprises with a view to carrying out advanced research on the topics, respectively, of big data, sustainable mobility, agritech and gene therapy.

The new Centres in fact operate through a Hub&Spoke model, in which the hubs, comprising the centres operating in synergy with some of Italy’s most important universities and various private companies, will coordinate and manage the activities of the spokes, represented by entities and other local universities aiming to aggregate public and private subjects interested in making a contribution towards research into specific topics across the country.

Intesa Sanpaolo will be operating directly in 16 spokes, making the professionalism and competences present in the various bank structures involved in these research areas available, as well as technological resources useful to pursuing the objectives.

The main goal is to increase the growth potential of the Italian economic system, through a significant increase in investments in research and development and fostering the technological transfer between universities and enterprises. The new national centres will be able to help reduce or eliminate Italy’s delays in terms of innovation: according to an analysis carried out by the Intesa Sanpaolo Research Department, despite the progress made in recent years, Italy is still a long way behind other European countries, and Germany in particular, in terms of spending in research and development. In this context, the interaction is facilitated between the academic and production worlds, allowing for an improvement in the number of manufacturing businesses that collaborate with universities (8%), considerably below the German figure (18%).

The Intesa Sanpaolo Group has always supported investments by enterprises in research and development, both through the management of public incentives for R&D&I and through direct financing for research and innovation. Over time, Intesa Sanpaolo has assessed approximately 2,000 R&D projects with direct financing in excess of €2.5 billion for SMEs, large enterprises and start-ups: this is flanked by the offer of technological, industrial and financial consultancy services for participation in European Research and Innovation programmes and Intellectual Property. Intesa Sanpaolo also supports innovative SMEs and start-ups with a market share respectively of 50% and 30%, also through specific initiatives, believing them to be one of the main vehicles of innovation for enterprises.

The new initiative integrates with the Group’s global strategy, which, thanks to dedicated structures like the Innovation Centre and the newly-established CENTAI laboratory for advanced research in Artificial Intelligence, is present in the main Italian accelerators and acts as a nationally-important interlocutor in regard to research and innovation.

Carlo Messina, CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo: “Research centres are a great opportunity for both the Italian university research system and the business world and it is essential we support their development. Our adhesion to this initiative is a concrete response by the Bank, which makes new resources available to speed up a structural transition in our country towards new models, closely correlated with the NRRP. We aim to offer a new boost to combine private initiative and public decision-makers, like universities, and help generate a culture of knowledge and innovation, to the benefit of the entire social and economic system”.

Ferruccio Resta, Chairman of CRUI: “The investments and measures implemented by the NRRP acknowledge a central role played by research and advanced training in developing a country that seeks to, and indeed must, grow innovatively. They provide a clear interpretation of the relationship between university and enterprise, which is increasingly close on the essential topics guaranteeing competitiveness in both the public and private sectors. The extensive, shared participation of Intesa Sanpaolo, leading Italian bank, shows the value of a tool (the National Centres), which if used properly can assure a significant change that will be completed well beyond 2026”.


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About Intesa Sanpaolo

Intesa Sanpaolo is Italy’s leading banking group – serving families, businesses and the real economy – with a significant international presence. Intesa Sanpaolo’s distinctive business model makes it a European leader in Wealth Management, Protection & Advisory, highly focused on digital and fintech. An efficient and resilient Bank, it benefits from its wholly-owned product factories in asset management and insurance. The Group’s strong ESG commitment includes providing €115 billion in impact lending by 2025 to communities and for the green transition, and €500 million in contributions to support people most in need, positioning Intesa Sanpaolo as a world leader in terms of social impact. Intesa Sanpaolo is committed to Net Zero by 2030 for its own emissions and by 2050 for its loan and investment portfolios. An engaged patron of Italian culture, Intesa Sanpaolo has created its own network of museums, the Gallerie d’Italia, to host the bank's artistic heritage and as a venue for prestigious cultural projects.

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