Press releases

AVIO AERO and Italian Universities team up for research, the "Technology Development Community" model is launched


Rivalta di Torino (Italy), 28th October 2016 – Today, in the presence of the Minister for Education, Universities and Research, Stefania Giannini, Avio Aero, a GE Aviation business which designs, manufactures and maintains aircraft engines, presented the “Technology Development Community”, an innovative partnership model involving a group of universities that have worked closely with the company over the past twenty years in the field of Research and Development; universities whose strategic, specialist knowledge and expertise are acknowledged as being of paramount importance for future technological challenges in the aeronautical sector: the polytechnic universities of Bari, Milan and Turin, and the universities of Florence, Genoa, Pisa and Salento.

Back in the ‘90s, Avio Aero began developing new technologies through a highly innovative model: a network of universities and small-medium sized enterprises which currently includes some 20 universities and over 40 SMEs. This model has enabled the company to gain a competitive edge internationally in the field of mechanical transmissions and turbines and, more recently, to launch the development of entire propulsion systems.

The “Technology Development Community” now takes this successful model a step further, culminating in the creation of nine technological communities focused on specific technical-scientific areas. For each community, Avio Aero coordinates a working group that includes researchers and technicians from a number of universities and SMEs, all collaborating to produce a shared long-term scientific plan aimed at creating real industrial development opportunities: thus, on the one hand this stimulates collaboration between industry and universities, while on the other hand it favours knowledge-sharing within the academic world, between departments of several universities. Of course, innovation requires new ideas and technologies, but also new forms of collaboration that speed up progress and encourage excellence and knowledge integration.

In addition, through these communities Avio Aero will contribute to academic teaching activities as well as offering practical applications for specific studies such as degree theses, training experiences and PhD studies, also in order to provide students with new opportunities to gain a better insight into the labour market.

Lastly, this model will be useful not just for further consolidating over time the expertise and scientific excellence already acquired, but also for speeding up the process of innovation that is key to Avio Aero’s technological and manufacturing leadership retention.

“This agreement stays in perfect harmony with the Government politics in the fields of training and research – said the Minister for Education, Universities and Research, Stefania Giannini. The goal is the same one, going from a traditional B2B collaboration model between universities and companies aimed at a skills exchange, to a 360° network model able to let the training and the manufacturing have a dialogue for real.” The agreement “represents – said in addition the Minister – a role model of integrated training, that is always more and more paramount for the development of Italian country-system, and of the way the Government is looking at it positively. We’re trying hard to innovate the educational and training system, starting from the primary school with the digitalization plan that has been kicked-off already since more than a year. All the levels have to be reviewed – as she closed – and particularly those of the tertiary training related to the technical secondary schools, which we wish they’re going to double through the next three years raising from 5,000 to 10,000. In the end, there are universities and research that will always and more have to walk together with the same objectives and integrated work systems.”  

“Just as we use to talk about Industry 4.0 in manufacturing, and how the age we are living in is to all intents and purposes the fourth industrial revolution, I like to think of this partnership model as a 4.0 Evolution in our way of collaborating with universities, the fruit of a pioneering approach that began many years ago” stated Riccardo Procacci, President and CEO of Avio Aero. “The way in which we ‘develop innovation’ must, by necessity, evolve at the same speed at which the world around us is changing: as a result, strengthening the links between the corporate world and universities is imperative for the future of research. This also implies the need to give students more opportunities to encounter and experience innovation in the field so that they can gain a better insight into the labour market early on”.


Avio Aero is a GE Aviation business which designs, manufactures and maintains propulsion systems for civil and military aviation. It is the centre of excellence of the entire General Electric group in the field of mechanical transmissions and low-pressure turbine systems. It has over 4000 employees in Italy, split between the main site in Rivalta di Torino, which is also home to the largest manufacturing plant, and the other major plants in Brindisi and Pomigliano d’Arco (Naples). The company also has a major plant in Poland. Since 1908 – so for over a century now – the company has led the way in numerous technological challenges. Through ongoing investment in research and development, and thanks to a consolidated network of contacts with leading international universities and research centres, Avio Aero has developed a level of technological and manufacturing excellence that is acknowledged the world over: an achievement borne out by the partnerships established with leading global players in the aeronautical sector.