TOPSTARS 2019 offers to PhD students a unique hands-in opportunity to address a societal challenge in the Raw Materials framework by combining the technical expertise with innovation and entrepreneurship experience. The winter school will introduce students to entrepreneurial thinking and behaviour, business and innovation processes, high-tech ventures marketing and business model generation techniques..

At the beginning of the school the students are introduced to challenges proposed by partner companies. An introduction to the underlying technical issues is provided together with information about innovation and business. Teams are formed around the best ideas presented in a fast pitching session. The teams consolidate those ideas and start to explore not just the technical feasibility but also the potential and practical issues in terms of market, business, technology. The initial idea is then gradually developed into a business concept that can either be entrepreneurial (e.g. creation of a new startup) or might expand the business of the proposing company. Mentoring by the companies (to eliminate the technical flaw) and by entrepreneurs/experts in business and innovation (to ensure feasibility from a business point of view) will be constant and will be necessary to prepare the teams for a final 7-minute pitch of their idea in front of the companies and of a panel including technical, innovation and entrepreneurial experts.

To strengthen the teams, complementary cultural and aggregation activities (outdoor) are presented during the week. An overview of the non-conventional, highly stimulating atmosphere and of the activities and outcomes is provided by the video of the latest edition (2018) of the school proposed in the school's website.

Eligible students: Phd, Master students, Young researchers

Academic background: Mainly materials-related, but we leverage on diversity

Duration and ECTS: 10 days, 10 ECTS

Period: 8-17 July (slight changes in the proposed dates may apply)

Language: English

Format: 6 frontal lectures (2 hours each), 6 mentoring sessions (2 hours each) 4 tutoring sessions (2 hours each) and 26 hours of team working.

Social activities: Day off, team building activities

Teaching methodology: Frontal lectures on the domain and I&E, followed by team-work to finalize the proposed solution, harmonizing technical soundness and business feasibility. Mentoring sessions to drive and prepare for the final pitching.

Class size: Up to 60 students, both EU and extra-EU

Application deadlines: May 15th (check online for updates)

Minimum requirements: English knowledge (B2 level)

Selection criteria: English knowledge, CV, motivation letter, optional GRE

Participation cost: the participation to the event is free of charge for all selected students that meet the reimbursement criteria of the EU H2020 programme. Moreover, a grant covering travel expenses (up to 300 Euros) and accommodation (handled and paid by the school), will be available for the same students. For all other selected participants the participation fee is 750 € for partner universities; 1000 € for non-partner universities. Accommodation in double room in 4-star-hotel In Trento.


Prof. Matteo Leoni, UniTrento:

Dr. Vanessa Maria Caleca, UniTrento :

Stay tuned, TOP STARS 2019 website soon available!