National network of complex technological infrastructures for applied research and technology transfer.
The aerospace industry is one of the highest technology industries. The ratio between annual R & D expenditure and turnover is 14%, much higher than the average value of the manufacturing sector. This means that, in order to maintain a high degree of competitiveness, companies in the sector must make continuous investments in R & D and adapt their know-how to the growing international level.
The analysis of the patents of companies in the aerospace sector lead us to believe in the existence of positive "spillovers" of high-tech R & D spending on the manufacturing sector as a whole. The results show, in fact, that aerospace companies are on the border of many (if not almost all) technological areas. In fact, the patents required by the aerospace sector are classified in many technological classes of other manufacturing sectors.
It is evident, in order to maintain the competitiveness of aerospace companies, the importance of supporting R & D actions and of putting "to a system" and enhancing this technological heritage by encouraging Spin-in and Spin-off technology processes.
In Europe and more precisely in Germany, there is an example of excellence in the field of industrial research. The Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, a large German institution founded in 1949 and dedicated to applied research and technology transfer, is one of the locomotives of the German train, with 22,000 employees, 66 institutions and an annual budget of 2 billion euros, for the 70-80 % of non-state provenance. One of the pillars of the Fraunhofer is the ability to patent: each year 200-300 new patents are filed, compared to a portfolio of more than 6000.
In this context the KET Lab (Key Enabling Technology Laboratories) project was built. It may be described as a network of Complex Technological Infrastructures that, based on the Fraunhofer model, considering the due proportion in order of economic resources available, wants to affirm, also in the territory national, this "good practice" of success.
Ketlab (Key Enabling Technology LABoratory) are interdisciplinary scientific poles with a high rate of scientific innovation. They constitute a network of structures, with legal personality, technological capacity and flexibility, able to support the main national players of technology and innovation, with a spatial and civil impact.
Ket Labs are equipped with multidisciplinary laboratories, to support the R & D activities of small and medium-sized companies in the area, but with the ability to interact with large companies, providing a common ground for work and comparison with researchers and technicians of companies, Universities and Public Research Institutions. The laboratories are supported by competent technical-administrative structures, with the aim of supporting SMEs in networking and the creation of functional partnerships, for participation in tenders and tenders also at international level. The role of the Ket Lab is also that of Business Incubator, giving technological support to research spin-offs and to industrial start-ups.
Similarly to the Fraunhofer Institute, KET-Labs see the participation of private and public funds aiming to be a virtuous experimental model in which the public contribution is equal to or less than the private one, a "best practice" of the public-private partnership to make this same repeatable pattern also in other industrial districts.
The Ket-Lab model aims to develop and make available the results of applied research, produced by different public and private actors, rather than to produce internal and "proprietary" research activities. This approach, commonly called "open innovation", aims to speed up the acquisition of innovation by SMEs by putting the various researchers of different backgrounds directly in the same environment, to reduce the costs of Research and Development.
The KET-Lab project also proposes to network the technological "facilities" of Research Institutes and Universities present on the national territory, favouring their access to SMEs with an accompanying and tutoring action for their use.
The primary objectives of Ket Labs are:
- to encourage the dialogue between the world of research and the business world in order to develop the transfer of knowledge to small and medium-sized enterprises in the areas of competence of the respective bodies, ensuring that these are the stimulus for further research and innovation;
- promoting and coordinating public-private research projects that target technological innovation and the study of technological processes;
- to experience activities and methods for the promotion of a sustainable development model, through research, analysis and development of integrated strategies for the intelligent use of energy, mobility, monitoring and environmental protection;
- to stimulate and support the creation of innovative start-ups and research spin-offs
- to develop initiatives able to provide technical support to the establishment of new production companies.