Digital technologies and Artificial Intelligence at the centre of Leonardo’s Innovation Award. Record numbers of candidates for the event

Genoa  02 December 2019 14:29

  • A total of 243 student candidates, from 22 Italian and five international universities, participated in the Innovathon challenge, the two-day Hackathon event looking at the development of solutions to support emergency operations
  • 930 projects (+ 27% on 2018) for Leonardo employees, 45% from international offices
  • De Gennaro: “We are investing in resources, technologies and ideas in Liguria because, as a large company, we feel a strong responsibility to grow together with the territories in which we operate. As a high-tech company, we feel the best contribution that we can offer to these communities is innovation”


The new frontiers of technology have been at the centre of Leonardo’s 2019 Innovation Award which was held today in Genoa. The initiative, now in its fifteenth edition, has become, over time, a significant moment of reflection and discussion for researchers, academics and university students. This year has focused on the relationship between new technologies and the Digital Revolution. A fundamental theme for Leonardo, which is committed to the development of high-tech products through its significant investments in research and development, equal to 12% of the company’s annual revenues, and highly specialised workforce.

The event was attended, by the President of the Liguria Region, Giovanni Toti, the Mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci along with the Company’s top management. It offered the opportunity to analyse, under various point of views, the characteristics of new technologies and their impact on the social and ethical sphere of the contemporary world.

“We are investing resources, technologies and ideas in Liguria, because, as a large company, we feel a strong responsibility to grow together with the territories in which we operate”, underlined the President of Leonardo, Gianni De Gennaro. “As a high-tech company, the best contribution that we feel we can offer to these communities is innovation. Innovation that we want to capture, recognise and stimulate wherever it is produced. For this reason, today in Genoa - concluded De Gennaro - we reward the creativity, commitment and enthusiasm of the people who have taken up the challenge, proposing innovative solutions in our business sectors”.

At the event, Roberto Cingolani, Leonardo's Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, announced a new road map for the Company’s innovation and research. Through the creation of Leonardo Labs- central research structures have been designed to strengthen and develop the company’s technologies and research. The Leonardo Labs will work on frontier programmes in the medium- to long-term, transversal to the business areas of the Company. The labs will also seek to develop future technologies and anticipate market demand.

At the end of the event, the ceremony for the 2019 Innovation Award was held. The competition has been open to university students since 2015. Record numbers of candidates for the award addressed to the employees: 930 proposals (+ 27% compared to 2018), of which around 45% coming from the Company’s international offices. In the evaluation of the winners, particular attention was given to the projects that contribute to the environmental and social sustainability of Leonardo.

The Innovation Award, dedicated to university and PhD students from STEM (Science, Technologies, Engineering, Mathematics) disciplines, incorporated the Innovathon formula (Innovation + Hackathon) which was chosen as a new format to convey innovative ideas and proposals within the Company. University students from 22 Italian and five international universities joined the initiative which equated to 243 candidates. The teams comprised of candidates from five different nations and 13 universities; they were specially selected to compete on solutions to support the management of emergencies in critical infrastructures.

The new frontiers of technology, and forming the centre of the debate, related to Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Technologies - Alessandro Curioni, VP Research of IBM, and Giorgio Metta, Scientific Director of the Italian Institute of Technology took part in the event.

In the exhibition area of the event, dedicated to Cyber Security, which uses one of Leonardo’s most important facilities in Genoa, two live demos on company security capabilities were presented with the help of emerging technologies such as neural networks, deep learning techniques and Artificial Intelligence. The objective of the first demonstration was a solution to identify any anomalous behaviour or threats in crowded places, using technologies for managing the operating room which can provide operators with a complete picture of the situation and therefore check safety levels and coordinate any interventions. The second demonstration focused on an innovative virtual reality interface that allows navigation of the Security Operation Center, Leonardo's infrastructure dedicated to cyber scenario analysis, attack management and proactive IT protection.