InnovaXN Innovation and Entrepreneurship School 2022

Research using advanced infrastructures, such as the ESRF and ILL, supports the applied foundations for useful innovative technologies which will in turn help to determine the future path of humankind and the security of our planet Earth. Transferring results and working closely with industry, developing or significantly improving new products and processes, is central to enabling the real-world value of these scientific results to be realised.

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship School 2022: an intense four-day programme where, the 35 participating PhD students, were trained with insights into the range of tools to promote and transfer their research towards industry and other routes for impact.

The school intended to help them to catalyse the mind-set required for long-term sustainability, with a focus on:

– Providing learning based on the tools available and to show what it’s like to engage and work with industry;

-Creating and developing a new venture or to exploit scientific results and ideas, with both the risks and rewards;

– Allowing to understand the earliest phase of moving results from science to innovation and real-world application, by thinking as an “entrepreneur”;

-Engaging and taking science from the bench to create “value” and what that value might mean in the modern world of societal challenges ans reinvented industry.


To maximise the outcome and with the goal to offer a unique and complete experience to our PhD students, the school was split in 4 days (from 15 to 18 November 2022), with day themes as follows:

  • Innovation and Science in Society, Exploiting Research Results (Tuesday 15th, Day 1)

Following the official welcome given by InnovaXN Programme Directors (Annalisa Pastore, Director of Research at ESRF and Mark Johnson, Head of Partnerships & Communication Service at ILL ), the Innovation school kicked off, with a marathon of presentations given by speakers who covered a wide variety of topics: from Climate change and technology for a sustainable future to learning how Knowledge valorisation paths can transform R&I results; from the importance of learning more about IP protection and finance basics to the recognition of how Engagement represents the key to change the world with our research.


  • ESG and Creativity (Wednesday 16th, Day 2)

The programme of our second day, which took place at the Y-Spot in Grenoble, was entirely supported by Giant Innovation Campus. On this occasion, we focussed on the important ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) and Creativity concepts, with presentations and case studies analysis in the morning and a teamwork activity in the afternoon named CREANOV (a serious game by Grenoble Ecole de Management).


  • Science – Based Entrepreneurship (Thursday 17th November, Day 3)

Back onsite to the ESRF Auditorium, the morning sessions of day 3 were mostly dedicated to the Start-up concept and its environment and how it is distinguished from licensing, the business plan creation and an overview of the possible path of being scientist and/or entrepreneur. After the lunch break, our PhD students took part into a challenging teamwork activity: to prepare a licensing negotiation and business case for start-ups!


  • Trends in Industry and Opening as a Closing (Friday 18th, Last day)

During the last day, the PhD students had an opportunity to learn more about the concept of industry of the future, quality and standard compliance, open science, open data, open innovation, science diplomacy and more!

As a conclusion, the students were invited to fill in a quick survey, to express their thoughts and evaluation about the programme: the majority of them felt that the overall topics treated during the Innovation and Entrepreneurship School, were both interesting and represent an added value for their future career.

The students were also asked what they considered to be the most valuable part of the school. Their replies included: team-building, social interaction with other PhD students, innovative thinking, wide overview, from science to industry, practical applications and a networking skills.

This highlighted how much this type of activity can make the difference in a PhD path that aims to foster the connection between science and industry, by offering a different and wider perspective of what being a scientist, entrepreneur or both looks like.



The detailed programme with all information about our invited speakers and specific topics, can be consulted here.

Text by Chiara Facoetti