Italian creativity and excellent engineering capabilities to drive future bilateral cooperation with the UAE

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Italian and UAE companies with their mindset in the future met to discuss future trends in manufacturing at the second appointment of the Innovation Talk at the Italy Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

Dubai, UAE: As a nation renowned for its history of innovation and creativity led by inventive masters such as Leonardo Da Vinci, today’s Italian start-ups and SMEs are continuing this trend and helping to find solutions for a better world. 

The Italian Trade Agency (ITA), in cooperation with the Embassy of Italy in the UAE, the Consulate General in Dubai and the Italian Commissioner’s Office of the Italy Pavilion hosted the Innovation Talk ‘Creating the future: today’s trends for tomorrow’s manufacture’, on Wednesday at the Italy Pavilion’s Amphitheatre at Expo 2020 Dubai. The talk is part of a series of roundtable discussions taking place until March 2022, which will address current global challenges and explore innovative solutions. 

The Innovation Talk was officially opened by His Excellency Nicola Lener, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE and the panel of experts, moderated by Amedeo Scarpa, Italian Trade Commissioner to the UAE, included His Excellency Hussain Mohamed Ak Mahmoudi, CEO Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park; Ismail Al Abdull, CEO of Strata Manufacturing (a Mubadala Company); Giorgio Metta, Scientific Director Italian Institute of Technology (IIT); Antonio Bicchi, President IRIM – Italian Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Machines; Andrea Pontremoli, CEO and General Manager of Dallara; Veronica Just, UCIMU Board (Italian machine tool, robots, automation systems and ancillary products manufacturers’ association) and co-owner Millutensil; Salvatore Majorana, Director of Kilometro Rosso; Roberto Croci, Managing Director Microsoft for startup MEA.

The Innovation Talk focused on robotics and its manufacturing application, sustainable mobility, start-up acceleration ecosystems and technological parks. It highlighted how Italian start-ups can enhance industry sectors and benefit companies with their technology, and focused on possible bilateral cooperation between Italy and the UAE. 

Talking about the leading role of Italy  – a fast- growing technology hub and the second manufacturing country in Europe – in the manufacturing industry and its leading role in the development of robotics applied to this sector, Giorgio Metta, Scientific Director Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), said “Without research we don’t bring innovation to the industry; we need bright and curios minds with a clear mission who can direct the research towards real applications”.

Illustrating what are the roots of the Italian excellence in the field of robotics and intelligent machines and what are its perspectives, Antonio Bicchi, President IRIM – Italian Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Machines, said “The new frontier of robotics and intelligent machines is to have an integration of humans and robots in something that is more intelligent and able than either the robot alone or the human alone.”

“Once we will get to that integration, then we will have robots that can be used by everybody in our manufacturing, much faster, with lower costs and even by normal people.”

During recent years, Italy has seen a huge increase in start-ups, with nearly 13,600 registered as of July 2021. The businesses specialising in software, R&D and information services account for 75 per cent of Italian start-ups, while nearly 17 per cent operate in the development of manufacturing technology followed by services in trade. In the European start-up ecosystem, Italy currently ranks 8th in terms of its ability to generate Exits or Unicorns (Entrepreneurial Outcome). 

Discussing about the role of Innovation Parks in developing future technologies, Salvatore Majorana, Director of Kilometro Rosso, an Italian Science and Technology Park, said “Science parks in the value chain that brings scientific research into innovation, that means prototype for companies, are the ring that connects the two mentalities; a culture from research and a culture from a company needs a translator, science parks operate as translator of that culture and provide the space and the opportunity to try and perform mistakes in order to develop innovation.”

Talking about cooperation between Italy and UAE, both His Excellency Hussain Mohamed Al Mahmoudi, CEO Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park; and Ismail Al Abdull, CEO of Strata Manufacturing (a Mubadala Company), agreed on the valuable Italian skills in the field of manufacturing and technology and on how the two countries have to keep building bridges to develop more commercial and strategic partnership opportunities.

Michele Emiliano, President of Apulia Region, one of the most dynamic regions of the southeast of Italy, closed the panel discussion congratulating the UAE for setting an example for the whole world “We have understood that in this country there is a great desire to change the destiny of the South of the world, with will and determination. A great opportunity often arises from a great difficulty. 

Behind every tree I have seen along the roads of the Emirates, I know how much effort there is to make it grow, how much determination you have put into this work.” 

The talk was followed by a cocktail network event with the 47 Italian start-ups and innovative SMEs who exhibited at ITA Official Pavilion at GITEX Future Stars as well as delegates from Bahrain, KSA, India and Israel.

With 16 panel discussions planned between October 2021 and March 2022, each Innovation Talk will feature highly-regarded personalities from both Italy and the UAE. The esteemed speakers will discuss issues related to Expo 2020 Dubai’s weekly themes that are aligned with Italy’s plans to fulfil the European Green Deal, and the trade fairs ITA is participating in around the Emirates.

About Italian Trade Agency – ITA:

The Italian Trade Agency is the Government agency which promotes the globalization of Italian firms, under the aegis of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. ITA helps to develop, facilitate and promote Italian economic and trade relations with foreign countries, focusing on the needs of SMEs, their associations and partnerships. ITA sustains Italian firms in their internationalization process, promoting the marketing of Italian goods and services as well as the image of “Made in Italy” products around the world, while facilitating outward Italian investments and encouraging FDI attraction into Italy. ITA provides information, support and consultancy services to Italian companies on foreign markets, in order to foster exports and economic cooperation in all sectors, with the objective of increasing the effectiveness of their presence on international markets. ITA works closely with the Italian Regions, the network of Italian Chambers of Commerce, business organizations and other public and private entities. ITA’s headquarters are based in Rome and it works through a large network of offices around the world which are acknowledged as “Trade Promotion Offices” of the Embassies or Consulates of Italy.