LIUC (www.liuc.it) is a private, state-recognised university established in 1991 by the Industrial Association of the Province of Varese. It is situated in the Northern Italy, in the town of Castellanza, next to Milan. It is entitled to the great Italian economist Carlo Cattaneo. It includes three schools, Management & Economics, Engineering, and Law, each of them offering both undergraduate and graduate curricula, based on an innovative didactic that links economy, technology and law.

With more than 100 partnerships with Universities all over the world and hundreds of in-coming and out-going students, LIUC has always aimed at raising awareness of EU cultures also thanks to its range of Lectures, Seminars and Courses in English offered to both Italian and international students. Teacher and staff mobility has also been regularly promoted within a full programme of internationalization which is a relevant part of the University strategy and status.

LIUC has strong liaisons with the entrepreneurial world, thus allowing students to have work experiences during their studies and companies to systematically interact with the university, also through R&D projects, including activities of technology transfer, that are mainly conducted by small- and medium-sized scientific units such as research centers and labs. A specific administrative unit of LIUC manages a network of more than 5000 companies and organizations that host students in multi-month stages and supports them in identifying job opportunities.

The research units involved in the project are:

  • Lab#ID (http://labid.liuc.it), a lab on auto-identification (RFId and more) systems, which started its activities in 2007, with the support of Camera di Commercio Varese, Regione Lombardia, and Unione degli Industriali della Provincia di Varese, aimed at performing organizational and technological feasibility studies on the adoption and usage of auto-identification systems in companies and generally organizations (Lab#ID is registered as Research and Technology Transfer Center in the QuESTIO system of Regione Lombardia, and therefore it is qualified to deliver services financed by regional vouchers).

    Lab#ID is particularly focused on SMEs, aiming at improving their competitiveness speeding up and facilitating the adoption of technologies such as RFId, RTLS, NFC, etc. and paying attention to the necessary matching between technology innovation and organizational changes.

    All projects put users, i.e., actors of the process under study, at the center of the technological and organizational change thus activating both smart processes and smart people. Moreover Lab#ID promoted and coordinated projects with Public Administrations  aimed at creating technology-enabled social systems.

  • More recently, again with the support of Unione degli Industriali della Provincia di Varese the researchers of Lab#ID designed a second lab, SmartUp (http://smartup.liuc.it), which is operational since 2013, aimed at delivering technology transfer projects by performing technological scouting, feasibility studies and specialized training on (a) rapid prototyping technologies and practices within companies (such as test and implementation of 3D oriented design, 3D printing and additive manufacturing in general) and (b) new innovation models and technologies that fall under the Internet of Things paradigm such as open hardware projects (Arduino, RaspberryPi, ...) and other web/mobile/communication technologies that help cross the boundaries between the digital and the physical world. SmartUp aims at being different from the fablab model by fostering technology adoption within companies, bringing university-level knowledge to the local industrial ecosystem and readying it for the next innovation cycle.

     The lab carries out technology transfer through activities related to:

– reengineering of the product design and innovation processes;

– development of prototypes;

– digital fabrication in the start-up phase of a company;

– bridging the education sector (secondary schools, universities) and the makers community to the professional world.

  • The Institute for Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness (IEC) was born as a partnership with the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at the Harvard Business School, directed by professor Michael Porter.

    The Institute focuses its activities on the business, innovative and strategic processes that accelerate the competencies of individuals, entrepreneurs, artisans, firms (with a propensity for SMEs), networks, clusters, institutions and territories. The Institute aims at becoming a national and international benchmark, with dedicated efforts to promote the Porterian concept of cluster of firms, as a key success factor in national and regional competitiveness, where both a social and an economic dimension are at play for mutual strengthening, cohesion and cooperation. IEC can rely on partners as primary advisory companies, banks and firms. The Institute is led by an Advisory Board, with both professionals and relevant figures in the academic world, and supported by Senior Advisors, an international group of outstanding experts in the fields of entrepreneurship. IEC has several partnerships with Universities and research centres, like Grenoble Business School, University of Fribourg, Erasmus Rotterdam School of Management and the Orkestra - Basque Institute of Competitiveness.

    Empirical researches are used to reinforce advisory and coaching to entrepreneurs, startuppers and existing firms, as well as for in-house and executive training. The members of the institute have relevant experience in the field of business innovation and business models, with previous projects focused also on innovation and technology management.


  • CETIC, Research Center on Information Systems (http://www.liuc.it/cmgenerale/default.asp?ssito=125&codice=144), operating since 1996, is focused on research in technology applications within the economic context, particularly in the context of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Many research activities were carried out to measure the effectiveness of Information Technology in SMEs.
    The choice of jointly fostering the growth of technological expertise, organizational and strategic issues of ICT management is a qualifying feature of the Center, currently engaged in the study of information technology, business organizations activities and development of methods and tools to:

– support the evolution/reshaping of organizations: business process innovation, innovative training through web-learning and virtual business game. CETIC extended the view of vocational learning in the concept of lifelong learning, promoting digital skills among employees. Using web tools and social web technology CETIC has enhanced the 2.0 dimension of e-learning and has led it from the traditional concept to the one of informal learning and social learning: “Enabling Change With IT”;

– support the networking among SMEs in order to foster competitiveness and international growth and to facilitate concrete ways of cooperation in international projects; these goals are carried out through technological transfer experiences and through the building of real effective business;

– evaluate the suitability and the capability of information systems, to meet the business organizations’ needs, at both the strategic and the operational levels.

– identify the most appropriate technological and organizational solutions: to the specific needs of each organization.

CETIC has a wide experience in developing project aimed at fostering companies, SMEs and entrepreneurs in cross-training and cross-landing activities using technology to support organization change, and at building companies networks to:

– manage organized company network in order to facilitate communication throughout the entire chain and to optimize the services and final costs;

– increase network skills thanks to the sharing of knowledge over the entire production process and by uniting competitiveness and cooperation needs;

– exploit the advantages deriving from relations with institutions, the world of research, centers of excellence.

Past activities of the research centers involved

Since its creation in 2007, Lab#ID has:

  • carried out about sixty projects, for about fifty organizations, across different fields such as supply chain, production, warehouse, last-mile logistics, etc., both in mature areas of auto-identification and traceability applications and in more innovative areas such as localization and Near Field Communication (NFC).
  • promoted and coordinated projects with Public Administrations (in particular the project "Varese SmartCity", http://www.varesesmartcity.com ), as technology-enabled social systems.
  • taken part in projects financed by European (REGINSrfid) and regional calls (SOSTES, DRIADE)
  • brought important contributions both to practitioners (projects of technology transfer towards SMEs) and academia (publications on relevant topics)

The faculty member of IEC have led national and international research projects on the topic of entrepreneurship, cluster formation, design and promotion of networks among firms, entrepreneurs and artisans and development and open innovation for the Italian Ministry of Research (eg., PRIN, FIRB, etc.), CNR (eg., SOCRATE), The World Bank, UNIDO, etc. writing, advising or evaluating more than a hundred industrial or regional plans. They also took part or led local and regional projects for the Lombardy Region (eg., ERGON, DRIADE, etc.), the Province of Varese (e.g., Varese BioPark) or other local foundations and institutions (e.g., IReR, IReF, Cestec, Fondazione Cariplo, Fondazione Culturale del Varesotto, Centro di Cultura Scientifica Alessandro Volta, Confindustria Alto Milanese, etc.) and municipalities for the development of innovation networks and clusters in several industrial fields (biotechnology, energy, aerospace, tourism, fashion, textile, etc.).

Among its main achievement there is the Lombardy Energy Cluster Platform (http://ple.lombardyenergy.it), developed in the «Lombardy Energy 2012» project, supports the business community of Energy Cluster companies in internalization processes and technology transfer. It is a “social network” that promotes common actions and collaborations among firms and increases aggregation in order to face together opportunities in foreign market as a unique actor. The web-based platform gives companies a new innovative tool to share information and competences, and to promote a new work style.

Role in the DiDIY project
Inside the DiDIY project Università Cattaneo – LIUC is the coordinator. LIUC leads Work Packages WP1, WP2 and WP3 and also contributes to the research and other activities of all the other Work Packages and Transversal Tasks.