What The Innovation Award Is
The Leonardo Innovation Award, marking its 14th edition in 2018, is one of the most eagerly awaited events by employees and students, keen to explore the new frontiers of research and technology. This initiative, which Leonardo has been proudly supporting for many years, generates great interest not only within the Company but also among university students, graduates, Ph.D. students and Ph.D. graduates in STEM disciplines (Science, Technologies, Engineering, Mathematics), who have been invited to participate in this competition since 2015.
The new features of the 2018 edition, evaluated for introduction in the context of Leonardo’s 2018-2022 Industrial Plan, are: the opening of the student category to Economics majors and the introduction of an award for the employees related to the new "Processes" category.
Since the first edition in 2004, the Innovation Award has involved over 30,000 Group employees and generated 10,000 innovative projects and patent proposals. The 2018 edition saw 750 internal projects presented, 8% more than in 2017, of which 40% were from the Company’s international employees. Furthermore, 24,000 contacts were registered on the Company website for the competition dedicated to university students, with monetary prizes and internships within the Group.
LEONARDO, INNOVATION AND THE DISSEMINATION OF STEM DISCIPLINES
Innovation is a value of primary importance for Leonardo, which bases its competitiveness on cutting-edge technologies and products. In fact, the resources invested by the Company in Research and Development (R&D) in 2018 amount to more than €1.4 billion, equal to 12% of company revenues, and over 9,000 employees are involved in these activities (split between Engineering and CTO functions) equal to around 20% of the Company's total employees. Of these, 6,200 are based in Italy and represent almost 7% of R&D-focused employees in the Italian manufacturing sector as well as around 10% of employees engaged in Italy’s medium-to-high technology sectors.
Leonardo's patent portfolio has recorded a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of close to 5% in the last decade. Around 19% of the patents in the portfolio were involved in the Company’s Innovation Award and, of these, 91% have found applications in Leonardo's systems, products and services.
Leonardo's contribution to Italy’s total R&D expenditure is significant: taking into account only spending allocated in Italy, Leonardo represents 16.8% of the country’s R&D expenditure in the high and medium-high technology sectors and 10.9% of the total R&D expenditure of all Italian manufacturers.
These results have been achieved through an open innovation-based model to encourage the sharing of knowledge and opportunities, in the full awareness that in order to be innovative, talent, ideas and solutions, which also come from outside the Company, are fundamental. Leonardo has developed a strong network of research organisations, universities and SMEs, which together comprise an ‘innovation ecosystem’: the Company is part of more than 200 collaborative research projects and has partnerships with over 90 universities and research centres around the world. Around 50 of these partnerships are in Italy and include 40% of Italian universities.
Leonardo is also strongly committed to the dissemination of STEM disciplines among the future generations, thus contributing to the achievement of the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) defined by the UN in the 2030 Agenda to provide high-quality, fair and inclusive education and learning opportunities to all. This commitment has taken the form of the opening of the Mathematics i.Lab, in partnership with the National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan, a permanent space within the museum for experimental mathematics, aimed at bringing future generations closer to the subject in an informal and entertaining way and also in support of the educational activities of the National Geographic Festival of Sciences and the MAXXI Museum as part of the “Gravity. Imagining the Universe after Einstein.” exhibition in Rome. These are initiatives that Leonardo considers essential for the promotion of “scientific citizenship”, which cultivates the value of innovation, indispensable for building the world of the future.