Antonello Fiorucci: from a solution-lead to a problem-lead approach
CategoriesEU Project Training

The META Group experts are the core of our company’s mission and achievements. They are deeply involved in multi-national research initiatives, coach innovators and entrepreneurs, and collaborate in networks of experts supporting knowledge valorisation across Europe.

Antonello Fiorucci is one of them. Antonello has 13 years of experience in project management and is involved in multiple research and innovation initiatives that META Group partners with. He has a background in International Relations with a master’s degree in Diplomatic Studies. Outside work, he loves playing tennis and spending time with his dog, Vito.

What is your role and your main responsibilities?

I have different responsibilities: in a nutshell, I am one of the Horizon Results Booster experts, I work on proposal writing and I manage the research result exploitation and dissemination activities in two European research projects: ECO2FUEL and HYscale. Also, I have been delivering a lot of trainings in the past year, which is something I enjoy. My daily work is very interesting, and I manage to do different things.

Let’s talk about ECO2FUEL and your involvement in the project.

In both ECO2FUEL and HYscale, META Group is responsible for the exploitation of research results. We support innovators in identifying and using the results of their work. It may be developing a completely new way of producing green fuels, like in ECO2FUEL and HYscale, or a completely different field of research. Our objective is to design the research result exploitation process and to secure the use, and impact, of research results developed during the project.

What is the most challenging part of your job in this area?

Understanding which results from research are the most promising, how to use them, and how to transfer them to the market to generate impact presents the most challenging part. On the other hand, working together with the scientific staff and transmitting the importance of using what they are working on is also a challenge. Once they understand why it is important to focus on results and their use, everyone is more engaged with the most important part of the process, which is to generate a positive change for the economy, society, environment. If we can show them the reason why we are doing what we’re working on, things get better.

Do you have any example of how to identify the most promising results? Any good practice?

At META Group, we have developed a process that starts with the validation of what we call Key Exploitable Results (KER). We apply our methodology to characterise each result and design the business plan for each KER. Our team has refined this methodology based on years of experience working with numerous research and innovation consortia. We can count on this proven process to ensure that the research organisations we work with will bring innovation from lab to market and solve critical challenges facing our society.

How can META Group address its clients’ challenges and support them?

META Group is uniquely positioned to help research organisations and public institutions accelerate the lab-to-market journey and the valorisation of knowledge to solve global challenges. The approach in research has changed in the last few years. The emphasis is now problem-led rather than curiosity-driven. META Group partners with a variety of stakeholders – entrepreneurs, incubators, universities, research centres, SMEs, government and European institutions to reinforce this new approach and enable transformative, knowledge-enabled change. Several research actors started to understand the value of this approach, which is increasingly becoming a prerequisite for publicly funded research. It is a matter of methodology and approach that we have been successfully using and which are consistent with the European Commission’s vision and values.

Is there any aspect of our work that is perhaps not well understood right away by clients or partners?

The concept of “impact” has increasingly gained importance in the last EU research framework programmes. Traditionally, it has not been part of the core business of our partners and clients. Our role is to provide support in this regard. Researchers bring a lot of value in scientific excellence. We have to be ready to bring ours in impact generation. We must make sure that our partners understand the efficient use and exploitation of research results.

The use of novel products and solutions is something that innovators must think about and build upon from the moment they start this journey, and we help them to do just that.

Could you share a beautiful memory related to META Group?

I have lots of good memories. Some of them really funny, like the gourmet dinners with the President, Andrea Di Anselmo, when we are far away from our wives’ eyes, and we can eat everything we want without feeling guilty. One of the dearests is the first time that I talked with Alessia, who is now the CEO of the company, in 2010. She called me after reading my CV.  We had a warm conversation, which in a way said a lot about the company culture and the team I was about to join. META Group means BEYOND: it is a place where we go and think “beyond” every day. I learnt it since the very begining. It is something still clear in my mind and that ignites my motivation and my expectations every day.