The most important goal of an Open Innovation contest like #T-TeC - Telespazio Technology Contest is opening up the company to the world outside, to capture and pay attention to ideas and intuitions in order to take advantage of their potential for business.
Another less visible but equally important purpose is forging a strong bond between industry and universities in order to trigger a virtuous circle of teamwork and shared goals.
Alessia De Matteis offers a striking example of how successful this virtuous circle can be.
In 2019, right after graduating with a Master’s Degree in Control Engineering from Rome’s La Sapienza University, Alessia took part in the first edition of #T-TeC with a project based on her thesis. This marked the start of a career that brought her to Telespazio, with a research scholarship and a level II master’s degree in “Satellites and Orbiting Platforms” along the way.
With just a few days to go before the 16 December #T-TeC 2021 awards event, we talked to Alessia about the path that brought her from #T-TeC to Telespazio’s Innovation and Technology Group.
How did you come to participate in #T-TeC 2019?
I came to #T-TeC through the Professor who supervised my master’s thesis, who suggested I participate. I took advantage of the opportunity right away in order to promote my work connected with the innovative theme of integration of satellite communications and 5G networks. Though I’m afraid I did not win the contest, #T-TeC offered me an opportunity to get to know and love the aerospace industry. Some time later I had an opportunity to work with Telespazio again, on a European Space Agency Project with a research scholarship from the University.
What are the principal challenges of the aerospace industry that you had to learn quickly as a student?
The principal challenges are acquiring specific know-how as quickly as possible, not only in the aerospace industry but in the dynamics of industry in general. Of course all these challenges are supported by training in the company and on-the-job training with your colleagues. The aerospace industry is a vast, highly various field, and is therefore strongly tied to a number of vertical sectors, such as transportation, energy, oil&gas and agriculture, to name only a few. It therefore requires application and integration of a number of disciplines in engineering and physics, such as, for example, systems engineering and automation, my field of study. In short, I’m convinced that there is room in the aerospace industry for anyone who wants to work and grow, even if they come from a different educational background.
You’ve been working with Telespazio’s Innovation & Technology Group for a year now: can you tell us more about Open Innovation, now that you are on the other side?
Opening up and allowing yourself to be influenced by ideas, projects and technologies that come from outside is a valid approach, because it encourages the process of innovation and progressively reduces the distance between the worlds of university, research and employment. For a technologically advanced company like Telespazio, Open Innovation is a real strong point.
Can you tell me what projects you are working on now?
At the moment I’m working on two ESA projects, both of which focus on application and integration of new technologies. The first of these, ARIES, is a study aimed at defining and implementing a system for responding to emergencies, particularly fires and landslides, using integration of satellite assets and 5G for prevention, monitoring, detection and intervention. This has a lot to do with my degree thesis. The second project is Moonlight, for which we are working on definition and planning of an infrastructure capable of supplying communication and navigation services similar to those we have on Earth today for future commercial and institutional missions to the Moon.
Do you have any advice for students and researchers approaching #T-TeC?
The advice I would offer to young people participating in #T-TeC is to propose a truly original idea and develop it in the best possible way, to show off your skills and abilities. Because, in Space as on Earth, hard work pays off!