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Innovation For Change 2017

Food and Health, two crucial issues that touch all of us and that will be increasingly central in the coming decades: according to the latest WHO data and the World Food Programme, more than 400 million people who lack access to essential health services, and about 800 million people each day fail to consume adequate amounts of food.

These are matters on which will compete 50 young students and researchers in the second edition of Innovation for Change, an initiative organized for the second year by the Politecnico di Torino, SAFM (Scuola di Alta Formazione al Management) and CERN, which officially started yesterday at IdeaSquare, the experimental structure of CERN dedicated to projects of research and development and interdisciplinary programs.

It is a competition between multidisciplinary teams, which aims to find an innovative solution to some global issues, according to an entrepreneurial startup program that uses breakthrough  technologies. The edition of 2017 will see eight teams of MBA students SAFM and doctoral students of the Polytechnic, with a background of high technical level, which over the next five months will work in Geneva and in Turin between training sessions and group work. Within each team must be present transversal skills to promote a diversified approach on both the theoretical and practical plan.

Each team will choose one of the challenges proposed by partner companies working in the areas of Food and Health. The project will also involve collaboration with several institutions and companies, which have indicated to the students the challenges on which to focus their efforts to find practical solutions: the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, UNIDO (United Nations Organization for Industrial Development), AIULC (Associazione Italiana ULcere Cutanee), ENEL and Humanitas.

The next phase is dedicated to the creation of the model solution and will last five months, until June. Students will be supported by alumni SAFM who have become entrepreneurs or work in large industrial groups, as well as by researchers at CERN and Politecnico. In their work they can use tools and advanced technology solutions, but already widely used and tested, up to the realization of prototypes ready for the next phase of development for the market.


In support of the working groups will be provided with various resources from the Politecnico and CERN, in the form of access to research, patents and technologies, in addition to the involvement of teachers, scientists and experts. At deadline, each team must submit the designed solution and the technology that underlies it. Finally, a panel of top talent (made last year by Fabiola Gianotti – Director of CERN, John Elkann – Vice President of the Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, Francesco Profumo – President SAFM and Marco Gilli – Politecnico Rector) will decide the winning design.

The last year’s edition focused on issues Water and Air, and the winning project was “Aquasmart“, an intelligent and integrated to the water supply system to locate in real time water losses and intervene in a timely manner. The winning team was awarded the contribution of 50.000 Euros donated by the Agnelli Foundation as part of the celebrations for the fiftieth anniversary with the goal of helping the working group to set up a real start-up, beginning to work on market.