An industrial PhD program is a three-year course carried out thanks to the collaboration between a company, an industrial doctoral student, and a university. The student does his/her work activities both at the company and at the university, dedicating his/her working time to the industrial doctoral project. The project allows the industrial doctoral student to conduct a project whose results will be effectively applied in a corporate context. The company has at its disposal a candidate capable of carrying out a high-quality research project, the results of which can lead to a positive return in an industrial and commercial context. At the same time, the company has the opportunity to strengthen its relationships with university partners, both old and new.
Similarly, the public university has the chance to strengthen its partnerships with the private sector, laying the foundations for new research perspectives.
Comecer, an industrial company that also manufactures dedicated life science devices, decided to participate in the program as it would be a unique opportunity for an electromechanical industry.
Comecer embraced this completely different experience from its own operations with the aim to benefit from it and always with patient health in mind.
We hope that this experience and understanding will become the background of a future scientist who will be confronted with the technical and engineering approach typical of an industrial context.
On the other hand, university researchers (not only the PhD candidate, but also the department to which he/she belongs) to a certain extent can also participate in the industrial mentality, sense of urgency, and focused efforts in transforming ideas and proof of concepts in objects useful for the market, as well as experiments and tests in robust validation tools. Moreover, different training and experimental sessions are foreseen in the program, as a complement to the theoretical research.
The aim is to practice evaluating hypothesis, identifying differences, and improving ergonomics and feasibility of the potential project results.
“In accordance with the path of growth of specialization and vision that Comecer constantly carries out, Manuela Santalucia, a doctoral student in Pharmaceutical and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Chieti and Pescara, has joined our team. Involving university researchers is a primary way to expand and renew our vision and our solutions” says Alessandro Brunetti, Comecer R&D Manager, and he continues:
“We offer the opportunity to apply academic skills to the business world and, at the same time, we are faced with different ways of observation and analysis. For our department, it’s very important to have a broader perspective than what might be provided to us by the individual client experience.
Therefore, the advantage of these collaborations is that we analyze problems from other points of view, with the possibility of gathering more information with better timing.
Finally, we should consider that the field of ATMP is a developing field where procedures, still immature, have not yet revealed all their criticalities and potentialities.
Comecer starts this prospective analysis on products and technologies with different professionalism in terms of scope and experience, identifying in this method the most appropriate path for its development”.
“Doing a PhD. inside a company, instead of at the university is a different experience. After my graduation, I continued my career always in a university environment. Experiencing an industrial context is a step forward for me. Thanks to the help of the R&D team, I had the opportunity to learn aspects that cannot be acquired in academic research” says Manuela Santalucia, Ph.D.
The ideal future of the program is represented by the possibility that the integration between university and industry becomes stable and a natural way to deliver products and processes better fitting the real requirements of the scientific and manufacturing world. This will allow a real integration of the industry capabilities in the research effort of the academic world.
Comecer and Università Gabriele D’Annunzio thank all the participants who, in different ways, at different times and with different practical contributions, are significantly impacting the success of the PhD program.