13 May 2022
Tenth anniversary of the CTNA: the journey between the aerospace districts continues in Campania to celebrate 10 years of history and a promising future
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On May 12th, the CTNA trip stopped in Naples with an interesting event that took place in the Aula Magna L. Massimilla of the Federico II University. Prestigious interventions, new contents and the lively participation of students from Campania schools who won the Space Olympics. The event, entitled ” Young Talents and the desire for Space “, focused on the prospects of the many young people who are thinking of undertaking studies and professions in the field of technologies and innovation. The objective: to imagine a bright future for them that speaks Italian in an increasingly interconnected, international and excellent context.

The Campania Aerospace Technology District (DAC), organizer of the event, was established in 2012 and, a few months later, promoted the creation of the National Aerospace Technology Cluster (CTNA), together with the other four founding Districts. In Naples, therefore, we are celebrating a double tenth anniversary and are launching interesting challenges to continue growing together, at a regional, national and international level. The first challenge is to continue investing in the innovation ecosystem, one in which the world of research, institutions and businesses have a specific role and collaborate to make the territory grow as a whole. In Campania, the DAC is a facilitator of this process, as well illustrated by President Luigi Carrino.

The event, moderated by journalist Maria Cava , gives voice to authoritative actors in this ecosystem.

Valeria Fascione , Councilor for Research, Innovation and Start up of the Campania Region, illustrates the extraordinary goals achieved by the regional economy, also in terms of exports and innovation and the driving role of aerospace in achieving these results. What has been achieved is the incentive to continue investing in technologies and innovations, especially open innovation , through the regional SS3.

Raffaele Savino , Coordinator of the Degree Course in Aerospace Engineering of the Federico II University, recalled how important the roots of the Campania aeronautical engineering tradition are and the continuous effort to renew the training offer so that it can respond to the needs of companies and institutions.

Cristina Leone , President of the CTNA, takes stock of the first 10 years since the creation of the National Cluster, recalling how much it has grown over the years. In 2012 the CTNA was born by presenting 4 projects (funded by the MUR), now the CTNA promotes wide-ranging initiatives that involve policy makers and outline the technological priorities (so-called road map) for the development of the sector. Also in 2012, the CTNA associated the 5 regional districts in which aerospace plays a main role in the local economy. In 2022, with a new entry that will be formalized shortly, the number of districts rises to 14, including the territories in which aerospace has spread more recently together with other sectors, because it is driven or driving compared to other areas with high content technological. Sometimes institutions or other regional actors are not fully aware of the extent and pervasiveness of this presence. The objective of the districts’ trip is precisely to raise awareness of the aerospace supply chain and its role in the development of knowledge, technologies and innovation.

Prof. Gregory Alegi , historian and journalist, editor of the book on the tenth anniversary also talks about the history of the CTNA . Prof. Alegi highlights how the creation of the CTNA was an important stage in Italian industrial history, born 100 years ago, and which looks to the future. It is a story that is built every day and that becomes more important every day because there is a bit of aerospace technology in each of the innovations, not only of product, but also of process in every area of ​​the current economy.

Luigi Carrino, illustrating the characteristics of the Campania economy and society, explains why “In Campania young people are not afraid of flying”. It is a young territory, with a surprising level of higher education, investments in research, entrepreneurial activities, including in the world of start-ups and innovation. The DAC represents the world of research and businesses and accompanies them in their development and growth at a national and international level. In addition to illustrating the excellence of Campania, prof. Carrino underlines the need to develop a context favorable to 360° investments: not only in places of research, experimentation and production, but also in personal services, transport, public services and everything that allows training, attracting and retain human capital.

Human capital is the central topic of the day, a recurring theme in all the interventions: how to motivate, train, attract and maintain what councilor Fascione defined as the “main raw material”.

The speakers address the many students listening (including online) and a very clear message emerges: given the very rapid evolution in all areas of society and the economy, it is almost impossible to know what the professions of the future will be, but it is certain that technologies and skills in the so-called STEM subjects will be fundamental. Already today, the demands of the world of work for people trained or with experience in technologies are greater than the actual availability of people with these skills. Those who develop knowledge in these sectors have secure employment, with brilliant possibilities for growth and development.

The invitation is therefore to young people to follow their passions . Even if the study of scientific subjects, perhaps in the aerospace sector, may seem difficult, passion and commitment will allow you to overcome the difficulties, as demonstrated by the results of the classes from Campania who competed in the ” Space Olympics ” – organized by CTNA on December 16th, on the occasion of National Space Day. During the event, the classes that achieved the best results during the contest were awarded: the IF class of the Alessandro Volta Higher Institute of Secondary Education in Aversa, the III H class of Liceo Pietro Giannone in Caserta and the IV C class Salvatore Cantone Scientific and Human Sciences High School in Pomigliano d’Arco.

Gennaro Mirabella , of the Scientific Technical Committee of the ITS Manifatture Meccaniche MA.ME Foundation, also spoke about the role of technical-scientific training .

Gaia Nardini , CTNA Project Manager, spoke about the various initiatives that the CTNA organizes to support young people . This is a series of projects, including the Space Olympics and Space Dream, which in a few months will be hosted in the CTNA AEROSPACE ACADEMY, an academy of young talents where students of all age groups (from primary school to first degree up to University) will be able to find all the initiatives dedicated to them, aimed at the study and in-depth study of subjects related to aerospace. Among the objectives: to make boys and girls aware of all the opportunities that are added to the more traditional ones, to support their ideas and more generally to encourage intelligence.

The event concluded with a passionate testimony from cosmonaut Lt. Col. Walter Villadei, connecting from Houston where he is carrying out his training for Axiom Space , a company involved in the development of the first private commercial space station. Walter Villadei is an Air Force officer and aerospace engineer (Federico II University of Naples). His experience shows that childhood dreams can come true by committing to study and knowing how to seize opportunities at the right time. The cosmonaut answered the questions of the students present in Naples and underlined how each space mission is the result of the collaboration of people with different professional skills, in intense and continuous team work.

Some of the main points that emerged in the first part of the day also return from Villadei’s story: the fundamental role of collaboration between the public and private sectors and between institutions, bodies and companies from different fields.

In Naples, the DAC and the CTNA spoke Italian and English and – above all – they reached the heart of the generation that will make possible the future that we can now only imagine, or hope for, such as the arrival on Mars!

The CTNA will immediately resume its journey between the Districts: the next appointment will be in Turin, with the Piedmont Aerospace District on May 19th.