The Politecnico di Milano is ranked as one of the major technical European universities in the world and first in Italy in at least six research areas:
- Computer Science & Information Systems
- Civil & Structural Engineering
- Chemical Engineering
- Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing Engineering
- Materials Sciences
PoliMI is organized in departments devoted to research and education.
The Department of Mechanical Engineering (www.mecc.polimi.it) has been rated as one of the best scientific institutions at the global level: According to the QS World University Rankings 2020, it is ranked 9th in the world and 5th at the European level in the field of Engineering – Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing.
Methods and Tools for Product Design, Machine design, industrial engineering methods, systematic innovation and PLM systems are some of the several research topics. The activities are mainly performed in collaboration with the main public and private research institutions, with regional, national, European and international public bodies that finance most of the research projects carried out. Moreover, PoliMI collaborates with several Italian and international companies that form a network able to respond to the needs and requirements of the industry.
The research group directly involved in this project, which focuses on engineering design methods and tools, has acquired scientific and technological competences also through participation in several research projects in the fields of design creativity, problem solving, engineering knowledge management, re-engineering of business processes, topological optimization, virtual reality, virtual prototyping of industrial products, multimodal interaction.
The competences of the POLIMI unit involve topics and issues of product development and concern theory, methods and tools dealing with the earliest stages of the product cycle, with a specific focus on innovation:
- Design creativity and innovation processes
- Computer-Aided support to the innovation pipeline
- Innovation-driven business process re-engineering
- Modelling of the dynamic behaviour of mechanical systems
Niccolò Becattini will be the leader of the POLIMI unit. He has been an assistant professor since 2015 and from the end of 2019 he holds a tenured position. His research interests focus on design methods and tools, with a specific focus on approaches and techniques that foster design creativity and innovation. His main research outcomes could be also be framed in the domain of human behaviour studies in design, design cognition and engineering design education. He teaches classes of Methods of Technical Representation (7 ECTS), Mechanical Design Lab (4+3 ECTS) and Product Virtual Modeling (6 ECTS). He is currently the author of more than 50 contributions indexed in Scopus and WoS and 3 patent applications. Besides participating in several national and international projects (e.g. FORMAT – PIAP-GA-2011-286305 – FOrecast and Roadmapping for MAnufacturing Technology; SPARK and ELPID, see below), he worked on the management side as assistant to the project coordinator for the SPARK project and as responsible for accounting in the ELPID project. His research activity was awarded for the best MS thesis on systematic innovation topics (Italian prize delivered by APEIRON – Italian Association for Systematic Innovation) and for the best Phd thesis/dissertation by the Computer and Information in Engineering division of ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers). He is currently a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Design Creativity and Innovation and reviews articles for more than 10 international scientific journals (Journal of Engineering Design’s reviewer of the year 2018) and for international conferences (DESIGN, ICED, ICDC, ICoRD, ASME IMECE, DCC). As a technical expert he reviewed projects for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (2015). He also contributed to the organization of the International Conference on Engineering Design 2015 (ICED15) and the 8th international conference on Design Computing and Cognition (DCC18) and to events at international conferences (2 workshops on Design Creativity for the Design Society’s Special Interest Group at DESIGN2018 and ICED19).
Other key people involved in this project are:
- Gaetano Cascini, Full professor, with key competences in design methods, design creativity, EU project management and coordination. He is also the current coordinator of the Mechanical Engineering study course at the Politecnico di Milano. He teaches classes of Methods of Technical Representation (7 ECTS), Mechanical Design Lab (4+3 ECTS), Methods and Tools for Systematic Innovation (6+6 ECTS).
- Giandomenico Caruso, Associate Professor, with key competences in Augmented Reality and Virtual Prototyping. He teaches classes of Methods of Technical Representation (7 ECTS) and CAD models (6 ECTS).