innovaTion challenge fOr PhD STudents And ReSearchers - 3rd Edition

July 8-17, 2019
Versione stampabile

Time: July 8-17, 2019
Location: Scientific and Technological Hub "Fabio Ferrari" - Via Sommarive 9, 38123 Povo (Trento) - Italy

Scientific Committee

Massimo Pellizzari - Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Trento, Italy
Alessandro Pegoretti - Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Trento, Italy 
Matteo Leoni - Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, Italy
Bart Blanpain - University of Leuven - KU Leuven, Belgium 
Katerina Adams - National Technical University of Athens, Greece 
Gert Guri - Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science, University of Trento, Italy
Andrea Guarise - Hub Innovazione Trentino (HIT), Trento, Italy 

Local Organizing Committee

Vanessa Maria Caleca - Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Trento, Italy
Massimo Pellizzari - Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Trento, Italy
Alessandro Pegoretti - Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Trento, Italy 
Matteo Leoni - Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, Italy

TOP STARS 2019 - innovaTion challenge fOr PhD STudents And ReSearchers Summer School will introduce students to entrepreneurial thinking and behaviour, business and innovation processes, high-tech ventures marketing, and business model generation techniques. the school comprehensively face the various challenges in the EIT Raw Materials found e.g. in primary resources, substitution and recycling. PhD candidates usually act as individuals on tasks that have already a well-defined research line but are not necessary connected to the challenges and opportunities of the market. The value of new ideas is not fully perceived and the interdependence of market needs with research focus is still missing. The aim of the School is to educate the students leveraging on this. Technical skills, know-how and personal creativity will have to be shared in a team competition to propose innovative solutions to real problems in the Raw Materials field. After a technical re-fresher used as leveling stage, tutoring and mentoring in the I&E component will help to provide students with a different perspective: from spectators to actors, ready to present their ideas in a quick and effective way to capture the business opportunities hidden in the real world. 

Topics of challenges proposed by companies are introduced through presentations, tutorials and workshops on approaches focused on techniques to assess and promote feasible solutions on both technical and business aspect. For about two weeks, students will work in teams to identify a technical solution and develop it into a business proposal. This experience will help to foster a community of students among various universities and to create an interaction with companies and start-ups operating in the specific field. With respect to traditional Summer schools, TOP STARS combines focus-lectures of academics and practitioners, project work, field and usability tests, customer validation work, field visits and socializing events. Focus is put on harmonizing the technical capacities with soft-skills such as: business project work, team building, (personal) networking, cultural exchange, knowledge on interaction between ethics and society and creation of a global awareness of societal and business trends.

Beyond building technical competences and offering potential solutions to societal challenges, in the ten days, the students will learn how to work in teams, how to prepare a business plan, how to be effective in passing key information and how to be successful in pitching. They will transform the way they interact with the job market and they will create opportunities for their future.  
In the school multi-disciplinarity is emphasized and students are confronted with participating stakeholders (companies and start-ups) to consider the sustainability and relevance of their ideas.  Throughout the Summer school, students will work in teams of 5-7 participants to craft and develop into project-ideas the solutions they have identified to address the technical problems presented to them. A selection of initial use-cases is planned to be provided in cooperation with partner companies participating in the Summer school. 

The whole initiative is valued 10 ECTS

How to apply

The Summer school is open to PhD students and young researchers (*), applications from students in the last years of their Master courses will be also evaluated. PhD candidates that will be enrolled before the start of the school can also participate. A total of 40 participants will be selected on a merit basis, with preferential title given to PhD students and young researchers. Should one of the selected candidates give up, the next candidate in the shortlist will be given the possibility to participate, until all available positions are filled or the shortlist is exhausted. Potential candidates are requested to fill out the application form and to provide any relevant documentation. The documents to be included in the application (to be sent to topstars2019 [at] are:

  • Academic career (mandatory)
  • CV (maximum of two A4 pages) (mandatory)
  • A motivation letter (why the participant wishes to be part of the Summer School and what are the expectations)
  • Qualification certificates relevant to the topic and to the EIT Raw Materials initiative (optional)
  • Copy of the Identity card (front and back) or of the first page (identification page) of the Passport (mandatory) 

Any other documents such as letter(s) of support from supervisor/peers or English language proficiency certification will be considered by the Committee as preferential titles.

 (*) the definition of young researcher refers to people with a PhD title or documented post-graduate research experience of no less than 3 years and no more than 10 years.

Due to the generous contribution of the EIT Raw Materials, the participation to the event is free of charge for the selected students. Moreover, a grant covering travel expenses (up to 300 Euros) and accommodation (handled by the school), will be available to all selected students that meet the reimbursement criteria of the EU H2020 programme. 


Given the high number of requests and the opportunity to encourage the participation of all potential people interested in TOP STARS 2019 Summer School - InnovaTion Challenge fOr PhD STudents And ReSearchers, which will be held in Trento from 8 to 17of July 2019, the term for registration is extended until May 7, 2019.

March 5, 2019: call for applications opens
April 30, 2019: deadline for application submission - extended to May 7, 2019
May 11, 2019: confirmation to selected participants - extended to May 20, 2019
May 18, 2019: confirmation of participation by selected students - extended to May 27, 2019

More detailed information on the official web site TOP STARS 2019


TOPSTARS 2019 Summer School Secretariat 
Dr. Vanessa Maria Caleca 
topstars2019 [at] ">topstars2019 [at] 


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