University Spin Off Centre

Written by  Patrizio Bianchi, Laura Ramaciotti
University and production systems for the diffusion of entrepreneurial culture.
University has radically changed during these years and it is constantly changing. First of all, course structure has been updated, passing from traditional four year degrees to easier formulas, consisting in three year courses and different phases of specialisation. The series of activities which is called Spin Off is a phenomenon which is still unknown to us, but which is consolidated in other educational systems.

What does Spin Off mean? It literally means "TO take out". It is necessary to check the wide range of university skills, paying attention to industrial development, "taking them out" and directing them towards production activities.
In Europe and in the United States, people have much experience in this field.

We wonder whether it is possible for our university, to "draw" new production activities from our research activities. Yes, it is possible to do this, considering all the problems related to an historical situation where university was mainly concentrated on itself and firms started thanks to consolidated techniques.
Thanks to the experience of Ferrara Research consortium, it was possible to achieve successful results in five years as regards the relationship between university and firms, a short but intense story.
In the field of industrial co-operation, Ferrara university and a firm have founded a new company in environmental sector and other initiatives will be taken in various university fields: from health to soil science, from physics to pharmacology.

For this purpose, the rector appointed a commission which fixes the conditions which are necessary to promote new production activities resulting from university research, promoting a centre of aggregation of firm, research institute, department, international association and bank skills at the Faculty of Economics and Commerce, where special skills are present, allowing scientists and technologists to evaluate their research activities even in market and industrial perspective.

But these experiences, to be successful, must contribute to the diffusion of entrepreneurial culture of university researchers and graduates, considering that their studies can consist in promoting production activities; our firms must be based on innovation culture, so that the relationship with the university is not only seen as a counter where people answer process or product immediate needs with immediate acts.