Research divisions.

Advanced Computing, Photonics & Electromagnetics

The Advanced Computing, Photonics & Electromagnetics division is concerned with innovative computational technologies, such as so-called “computing continuum” applications, high-performance computing (HPC), and Quantum Computing. Specifically, the research is focused on the integration of hardware and software with high-performance computing and communications aspects.
The team also works on photonic technologies in the development of innovative optical fibres, and the identification of new technological paradigms and applications of photonics, and is responsible for the photonics laboratory born from the ten-year collaboration of LINKS with the PhotoNext interdepartmental research centre.
The research division will also integrate modelling activities aimed at the design and prototyping of unconventional high-performance antennas, the development of electromagnetic simulation software for electrically complex structures, especially in terms of size (requiring fast solutions in terms of computation time), and the study of antenna diagnostics and measurement systems.
The aforementioned topics are certainly pervasive and enabling in many application domains, but find a natural, strong application domain in the aeronautics, space and defence industries.
The division is also responsible for the new electronics and rapid prototyping laboratory, E2PLab, given its strong competence in antenna prototyping, and the laboratory is at the service not only of all LINKS researchers, but also of the local innovation ecosystem.

AI, Data & Space

The AI, Data & Space division carries out a wide spectrum of research and innovation activities, focusing on pervasive and frontier issues involving the design and prototyping of applications based on artificial intelligence and space systems. These are developed by leveraging the vast and growing availability of data, using hardware and software technologies that allow the collection and processing of Big Data.
Applied research activities, aimed at supporting innovation and the digitization of products and services for the business world, are developed in various areas of great impact, such as safety, environmental sustainability and climate change, energy and industry, agri-food, health and well-being, and social inclusion.
Space systems research topics are mainly oriented to the processing of data and signals from the European Galileo and Copernicus systems, and promoting their use in a wide range of application scenarios integrated with terrestrial data and systems.
The smart solutions conceived by the division are designed to manage the entire data value chain, from collection systems to the processing and merging of heterogeneous data (e.g. numerical series, texts, photos, and videos) from various sources (e.g. satellites, IoT networks, wearable devices, the web and personal devices), up to data enhancement through the development of smart software agents based on artificial intelligence techniques, such as machine-learning and deep-learning. All the solutions are designed with a methodology that puts humans at the centre of the processes, offering an effective representation of information and a high usability of the solutions.
The research division also incorporates the Satellite Navigation Laboratory (NavSAS Lab).

Connected Systems & Cybersecurity

The Connected Systems & Cybersecurity division is concerned with technologies of the ICT world relating to connected cyber-physical systems (CSP), such as the processing of data from sensors, service robotics, drones and ground robots. Developed themes include: semantic interoperability between heterogeneous devices and sub-systems; development of multi-agent approaches and modelling of behavioural logic to support the distribution of intelligence (swarm intelligence) between different IoT/CPS devices and sub-systems; low power and data rate wireless networks, IoT/CPS platforms and solutions; and the use of data analysis techniques integrated with decision science solutions to enable predictive approaches and the optimization of industrial processes.
Another important application element are wireless technologies (the application and optimization of Wi-Fi and 5G wireless networks) and related innovative architectures (SDN, MEC) in heterogeneous contexts, first of all in vehicles and Industry 4.0.
The focus of the research is the cybersecurity of industrial systems and objects, and working on the identification and analysis of threats and vulnerabilities of current connected systems, in order to design opportune and effective defence solutions. Activities also focus on the digital identity of connected objects, in order to ensure the mutual authentication of sources, the integrity and confidentiality of communications, and to facilitate the implementation of authorization mechanisms, a central issue in industrial digitization. The team is responsible for the Cyber ​​Range cybersecurity laboratory and the Robotics laboratory.

Future cities & communities

LINKS’s Future Cities & Communities (FCC) research division has as its mission to contribute to building the cities and communities of the future by accelerating change towards innovation and sustainability through the use of digital technologies and planning models that put people front and centre.
The team is made up of around 30 researchers with complementary skills, including engineers, mathematicians, computer scientists, data scientists and planners.
FCC focuses on 3 applied research programmes: 1) City, Mobility & Logistics; 2) Energy & Environment; and 3) ICT for Cities & Communities.
Projects focus on: transport and mobility planning and modelling; sustainable, circular and efficient logistics; user-centric urban regeneration; control and optimization of energy networks; climate change and environmental impact; blockchain applications and telemedicine.

Objectives.

Accelerate Competitiveness

In a context of epochal change, involving economic and social relations, the market, and the roles of various local, national and international public and private institutions, the LINKS Foundation cannot allowing itself to interact with the outside world without taking into account the evolving scenario. It is essential: i) to read and understand the new needs of the main (new and former) stakeholders of LINKS; and ii) to provide, in part, the Governance body, but, above all, the Research Divisions with all the information and tools to define a coordinated strategy that meets these needs, bringing in orders and projects for funded research or commissioned research. It is this common strategy that will allow us to react and relaunch activities in the scenario of economic crisis and growing difficulties in winning research projects funded through the new FP9 (Horizon Europe) framework programme, a strategy based on the two fundamental pillars for LINKS: scientific excellence, and impact on the market and society. The objective must fulfil the missions of the Strategic Marketing, Technology Transfer and Joint Planning Accelerators, with the clear purpose of supporting the Research Divisions, in order to maintain and increase volumes of funded or commissioned (or so- called “commercial”) research projects. – Strategic Marketing must identify “reference markets”, that is the intersection of the segments of solutions satisfying the needs and interests of LINKS stakeholders with the “market products” of LINKS, or the solutions, products, services and results that the Foundation has generated. From this listening to the market also comes the input of strategic orientation of issues to be addressed, which Strategic Marketing shares with the Research Divisions, in order to orient their work. – The Technology Transfer Accelerator is responsible for bringing innovation into companies, through the process of technology transfer, from the creation and management of project results (e.g. KER) through to dissemination and exploitation actions and the creation of business models. The main purpose of this mission is the leveraging of funded research, in strong collaboration with Strategic Marketing and with the Business Model and Policy Innovation Manager, but also the creation of intellectual property and its sale to the market. – Joint Planning aims to define, propose and implement a planning strategy, plan and activities that seize the opportunities of the reference market identified by Strategic Marketing, taking into account available, but also potentially created, resources and skills. The mission will also have the objective of providing support for the development of projects, particularly Horizon Europe, but also ESA, EDF and other tools, guaranteeing a strong standard of quality within LINKS, without prejudice to the main role of the centres in the development, writing and supply of technical concepts. These three pillars will be key tools in the hands of Governance to carry out, through its organizational structures, the coordination of research, development and innovation in areas relating to the reference markets of industry and services. The Accelerate Competitiveness Objective will have strong added value in identifying opportunities for both funded and commissioned research, in the structuring of offers, and will also be able to contribute to execution, by monitoring commitment on funded projects.

Accelerate the Common Good

The Accelerate the Common Good objective supports the Territorial activity, addressing primarily institutions and public administrations, intermediate bodies, non-profit organizations, the voluntary and community sector, and cultural entities.
In particular, the objective is to support these bodies that are committed to meeting the innovation, digital transformation and process challenge. It is a great opportunity to invent new ways of working, creating culture, and promoting the adoption of healthy and inclusive lifestyles, with a view to the common good. All the public, social and non-profit sectors are called to participate in a transformation of processes and services, whatever their mission, size or organizational form.
The Objective also has the task of using the results of the research carried out by the Research Divisions to translate it into applications for the above-mentioned bodies, bringing them prospects of innovation.
The Objective will, therefore, create a “deal flow”, a pipeline of opportunities and occasions for collaboration and engagement these stakeholders.

Accelerate the Innovation Ecosystem

The Accelerate the Innovation Ecosystem Objective serves to position LINKS as a key actor in technological support and as a generator of ideas, vision and talents for the local territory, and was created to bring development and dynamism to the innovation ecosystem. The ability to create a true link between innovative technologies and the socio-economic context of a territory demands a multidisciplinary approach. The Objective works on building this kind of connection, by acting as an “ecosystem builder”.
The Objective supports LINKS in its new role as a holding, thanks to which the Foundation acquires stakes in bodies and companies that are essential to the development of the innovation ecosystem and instrumental to the action of its Members.
The Accelerate the Innovation Ecosystem team also works on projects focused on Open Innovation and on supporting and guiding the growth of start-ups and deep-tech spinoffs. The group’s experience favours the development and consolidation of these highly innovative entrepreneurial activities through dedicated consultancy for the creation of business plans and the entrepreneurial enhancement of products and applications with a high technological content. The activities are carried out in close collaboration with the most relevant players in the innovation ecosystem in which LINKS plays a part. Among these are the incubators of the Polytechnic and University of Turin and the Turin Industrial Union.
The Objective maintains contact with the players of the Turin and Italian innovation ecosystem, monitoring the evolution of technological and business trends. In synergy with the CTO, with the Competitiveness Objective and the LINKS researchers, it aims to produce informative materials and, with a view to promoting cross fertilization between different environments and potentially disruptive technological approaches, organizes thematic meetings with prestigious players on the international technology, innovation and entrepreneurship scene.
The Objective involves two Missions:

  • The Open Innovation Platform and Start-up Support Mission promotes a collaborative approach through international agreements, economic support for start-up competitions, the creation of innovative start-ups, and partnerships with universities, research centres and incubators for innovation in specific sectors.
  • The Talent Mission is designed to manage the talents who become part of the Foundation, from the very first step on their journey. This approach sees all those who collaborate or have collaborated with LINKS as an asset. The starting point is to think of the local innovation ecosystem as a body that is in constant evolution and demanding of new professional figures and updated skills. The development path includes collaborations not only with the Polytechnic of Turin and the University of Turin, but also with local companies and public administrations in the framework of joint laboratories.