ESA_Lab@PoliBa: De’ remi facemmo ali

ESA_Lab@PoliBa: De’ remi facemmo ali [Mar/2021]

Politecnico di Bari (PoliBa) is an Italian public university located in Bari (Apulia) and dedicated to Engineering and Architecture subjects. Resembling its Dantesque motto: “De’ remi facemmo ali” (“we turned our oars to wings”, Inferno, XXVI, Divine Comedy), the research and teaching activities at PoliBa are increasingly focusing on aeronautics and aerospace topics.

Accordingly, at the end of 2019, the European Space Agency (ESA) and PoliBa have signed a cooperation agreement to establish the ESA_Lab@PoliBa, thus promoting and sustaining collaborations on space-related topics in terms of research, education, and technology transfer initiatives. Nowadays, the ESA_Lab@PoliBa includes a variety of professors, researchers, and students operating in engineering, management, and architecture fields, hence bringing together interdisciplinary competencies that are needed to face the technological, economic, and social challenges that characterize the space sector.

Indeed, the activities at the ESA_Lab@PoliBa have been combining the PoliBa’s scientific and technical competences with those of ESA to advance, disseminate, and transfer knowledge on space-related topics. A relevant part of the ESA_Lab@PoliBa research activities is focused on the Space Economy field. Several studies have been conducted within the ESA_Lab@PoliBa, aiming at understanding and investigating themes as:

i) the business dynamics of the Space Economy, with particular regard to its socio-economic impact on the Italian context;

ii) the industrial evolutionary dynamics and mechanisms of the space industry;

iii) the interplay between open innovation and Space Economy for understanding the cross-fertilization and entrepreneurial strategies that are shaping this growing sector.

Moreover, the ESA_Lab@PoliBa aims at transferring the results of research activities to promote the development of practical applications. Specifically, several collaborative initiatives have been defined with local SMEs and startups, to favor their technological jump into the space industry through technology transfer and business model innovation, consequently contributing to the growth of the Space Economy.

Finally, education activities to promote the understanding and the familiarity with Space Economy topics are being currently promoted. In particular, within the dedicated PhD courses on Aerospace Science and Engineering, established in 2020, two PhD students are conducting research activities on business model innovation in the Space Economy. In addition, the ESA_Lab@PoliBa is involved in the organization of inspiring speeches and seminars aiming at nurturing students’ competencies and knowledge related to the Space Economy and promoting interactions with leading academics, entrepreneurs, managers, and policy-makers operating in the space sector.

For further information, please contact Professor Messeni Petruzzelli ( or Stéphanie Willekens (

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