Research for businesses

Businesses can take advantage of the competences and assets of the University, cooperating on research and development projects.

The University of Bologna’s research and innovation activities are carried out by over 5,000 teachers, researchers, PhD students and research fellows.

Departments, interdepartmental centres and laboratories with state of the art equipment, located in Bologna and in the campuses in Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna and Rimini, are the affiliation structure for all research activities.

The various forms of cooperation between the business world and the university in this field depend on the required technological level, the investment needs and the implementation times.

Consulting and commissioned research

Businesses may request the University to perform consulting services for the implementation of studies, analyses and experimental tests. Or they may ask the University to solve a specific problem through a commissioned research project. Companies investing in research activities at the University may obtain tax incentives.

More and more companies commission research works and consulting in various fields from the University (e.g. technological, medical, legal, economic, humanities, etc.), identifying the most suitable Department or Inter-Departmental Centre for a field of research, an analysis or experimental test.

PhD programme degree

Companies can make recourse to the multiannual scientific cooperation of a PhD student at the University of Bologna, funding a grant or research project; the PhD student is supervised by an academic or company tutor, performing research activities on a specific topic identified in agreement with the company. This allows the company to develop a medium-long term research area, acquiring innovative and highly qualified competences and integrating a young researcher in its own R&D team, as part of the PhD student's activities are performed in the company.

PhD student recruitment

The company may opt to employ the PhD student, and in this case may take advantage of incentives (high-level PhD apprenticeship) and tax incentives (“excellences bonus”).

Further information on PhD studies and businesses

Joint participation in competitive calls

Businesses can participate with the University in research and innovation projects, on topics linked to today’s major social challenges, and are supported in the identification of research groups and departments to cooperate with in taking part in competitive calls and related regional, national and European initiatives.

With over European 300 projects funded by Horizon 2020, in addition to the projects funded on the main national and regional research and innovation programmes, the University of Bologna is one of the top Italian universities in terms of its ability to attract funding through competitive calls.

Further information on competitive calls and initiatives involving the University of Bologna

Joint Research Labs

Joint research laboratories are physical spaces where equipment is shared, and where company employees and University research groups work in close contact, fostering the contamination of ideas, everyday discussion and the mutual transfer of competences and training.

The joint laboratories may be set up on the University or company premises, based on the assumption of a multiannual cooperation plan and medium-long term investments.

Joint events

Companies may cooperate with the University in the design and implementation of joint events linked to research and innovation topics. Depending on specific requirements, there are a range of formats on offer:

  • information and networking events: meetings and direct contacts, as well as presentations and opportunities for cooperation with the University, often with internal and external testimonials and partner institutions, and companies of different sizes and fields
  • round tables: scientific and technological meetings between academia and industry on specific topics and future trends, targeting mainly the operators of individual sectors
  • workshops: a format suited for translating the needs of individual companies with interests in innovation and highly specialised research with a view to scouting academic competences
  • challenges: requested and promoted by highly innovative companies, stimulating new ideas and solutions created by students and young researchers
  • hackathons: targeting teams of students at the proposal of companies wishing to increase the level of innovation of specific technological and other solutions 

Tax incentives for businesses

Businesses funding research and development activities are entitled to tax incentives, including business tax reductions, income tax deductions, simplified procedures for establishment and management, etc.