Innovation for businesses

The University of Bologna promotes the application of results, inventions and knowledge deriving from its research, enhancing its potential and transferring it to businesses.

The University promotes innovation and technology transfer processes in different ways: access to patents and other intellectual property rights, promotion and support to start-ups and spin-offs, activities focusing on the contamination of knowledge and the prototyping of ideas, open innovation initiatives.

Businesses may also cooperate to promote business ideas for students and graduates of the Alma Mater: contests, calls for ideas, etc.


Patents are a form of transfer of knowledge, produce within innovative research programmes, to businesses and the community.

Businesses can take advantage of the University’s intellectual property rights through exclusive and non-exclusive licences, transfers, exploitation agreements, option contracts, and also have the possibility to access the consulting services of inventors to facilitate their application to their own products or processes, or for further developments.

The University of Bologna patents are divided into 7 areas - Agri-food, Chemistry and biotechnologies, Pharmaceuticals, Electrical and electronic engineering, Mechanical and construction engineering, Medical Engineering, Plant varieties - with areas of application in many production sectors.

Further information on patents

Entrepreneurship, spin-offs and start-ups

The Alma Mater promotes and supports spin-offs and start-ups, innovative businesses developed by enhancing the results of research activities of teachers and researchers or from their students’ ideas, playing a key function in system integration and networking, leading to synergies with industrial, commercial and financial partners.

Various opportunities for cooperation with businesses are available:

  • hackathons: through specific projects, businesses set problems to be solved together with students, to develop new ideas and intuitions;
  • mentorships: joining the community of Alma Mater investors;
  • investments: investing in a start-up or a spin-off, venture capital, business angel and equity crowd-funding, promoting the development of businesses with great potential for growth;
  • interventions in activities like inspirational talks, seminars, workshops, events;
  • support for the promotion and design of businesses by students or coming from research results;
  • design activities for networking initiatives between start-ups in the Alma Mater ecosystem.

Further information on entrepreneurship

Innovation Hub

The University of Bologna Innovation Hub is the place where business employees, students, researchers and start-ups can cooperate on Open Innovation initiatives, identifying innovative solutions to complex business challenges. The Innovation Hub offers state-of-the-art methodologies (lean start-ups, design thinking, design sprint, learning by helping, etc.) in a stimulating blend of mindsets and approaches.

The following belong to the Innovation Hub:

ALMALABOR, a training and co-working space for gaining skills useful for developing and prototyping business ideas. At ALMALABOR, companies can contribute to running workshops for students, or launch challenges between student teams in hackathons and action weeks.

AlmaCube is the University of Bologna incubator run in cooperation with Confindustria Emilia Centro and Intesa Sanpaolo. The corporate unit is dedicated to running open innovation initiatives, including two international projects based on student involvement: CBI – Challenge Based Innovation, SUGAR Global Network.