Innovation, Sustainability and Resiliency from a Systems-&-Control Perspective: A forum for ideas and networking


Elena Zattoni (Department of Electrical, Electronic and Information Engineering “G. Marconi”
Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna)

Sponsoring IFAC Body: 

IFAC Technical Committee 2.2 “Linear Control Systems"


The one-day event will be organized in connection with the “1st IFAC Workshop on Control of Complex Systems (COSY 2022), 24-25 November 2022, Bologna, Italy”1 as a Pre-workshop Event to be held on November 22, 20222. The event is foreseen to be an in-person meeting hosted at BI-REX Competence Center headquarters, in “Opificio Golinelli”. The location is renowned for being “a place of contamination, training and innovation in Bologna”3 and, therefore, it is a perfect venue for fostering and promoting public engagement and outreach from the Control Community in the sense illustrated below.
The main aim of the event is creating the awareness of the crucial role of Systems and Control in the implementation of the measures needed to achieve the present main goals of the local, national and international policy, like the transition to
- digitalization;
- green and sustainable industry;
- cleaner energy;
- low-emission mobility.
In fact, the urgency of addressing the abovementioned issues, particularly in the complexity and fragility of the post-pandemic scenario, is widely acknowledged at all levels of the socio-economic fabric. Nevertheless, how to be an active part of this process and, in particular, how to effectively use the means made available by an (often) hidden, although pervasive, science like Systems and Control is an elusive theme.
The labor-market and civil-society actors who are pre-eminently addressed by the event are private and public enterprises, start-ups and spin-offs, industrial associations, leagues of cooperative enterprises, regional governance, civic and cultural associations. As a matter of fact, the Emilia Romagna region, of which Bologna is the historic capital, is the seat of flourishing industries, which frequently play a leading role in their own field worldwide: the main industrial activities present in the region are in automotive, automatic machinery, packaging, ceramics, biomedical, textile, and food transformation areas. Nevertheless, there is a plethora of small and medium sized enterprises, individual entrepreneurs and professionals which would profitably participate in the present challenges and programs only through the acquisition of new ideas, the adoption of new tools and technologies, as well as through the establishment of new connections and synergies. Further, the region and its capital are traditionally seat of civic and cultural initiatives and discussions among the citizens, which sets the ground for an event whose impact goes far beyond the (nevertheless called for) exchange between academia and industry.
2 November 23, the day before the official starting of IFAC COSY 2022 Workshop, has been reserved to Pre-workshop Tutorials mainly addressed to PhD Students: avoiding concurrent initiatives is the Organizers’ priority, so as to facilitate the widest participation to each one of them
In this regard, it is worth mentioning that BI-REX Competence Center plays a crucial role in the event organization as the joining link between the academic world and the actors to reach out. In fact, BI-REX is a recently founded center (established by decree of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development) which, leveraging on a consortium of fifty-six partners (including universities, research institutions, companies and service providers), intends to be a strategic and operational player in supporting companies interested in the digitalization of industrial processes within the Industry 4.0 framework. As such, BI-REX has the potential and capacity to attract the interest and participation of labor market actors as well as policy makers, who, as mentioned above, are the targets of the planned event.
The organization of this event in connection with COSY 2022 adds value to the initiative, since it encompasses it in an International framework. This fact turns out to be particularly profitable to SMEs, sole proprietorships and small associations. In fact, while world-leader companies based in the territory may also gain an international vision from their own business networks as well as from their own participation in international projects (notably, EU projects), for small companies the event may represent a precious opportunity to enlarge their perspective and establish contacts beyond the national (or even regional) borders and also to compare experiences and know-how with those of similar realities based in different countries. Meanwhile, the heterogeneous and international attendance that the workshop aims to attract may recognize features in common with the realities they are acquainted with in their own country, thus conferring to the outcomes of the event a more general value and an inclusive ambition.
The event will last all day, according to following program:
- In the morning, the format adopted is that of the panel discussions: two panel discussions are foreseen, where a limited number of invited panelists (two or three for each session), coming from different countries and featuring different backgrounds (though in Systems and Control areas) illustrate success stories (first morning session) and best practices (second morning session) in connection with the themes of digital strategies, green skills, innovation and resilience in a “complex and critical environment”;
- In the afternoon, the formats adopted are those of the free poster presentation on industrial applications or on research works which have led to real applications (first afternoon session) and world café, with thematic tables focused on issues of interest to the different actors (second afternoon session).
Refreshments for the coffee breaks and a buffet lunch will be organized and offered at the event venue, also in consideration of the fact that coffee and lunch breaks represent excellent occasions for less formal discussions and networking.