International opportunities for students


July, 15th to July, 25th 2018


TOPSTARS 2018 offers to PhD students a unique hands-in opportunity to address a societal challenge in the Raw Materials framework by combining the technical expertise with innovation and entrepreneurship experience.
The summer school will introduce students to entrepreneurial thinking and behaviour, business and innovation processes, high-tech ventures marketing and business model generation techniques.. 
At the beginning of the school the students are introduced to challenges proposed by partner companies. An introduction to the underlying technical issues is provided together with information about innovation and business.
Teams are formed around the best ideas presented in a fast pitching session. The teams consolidate those ideas and start to explore not just the technical feasibility but also the potential and practical issues in terms of market, business, technology.
The initial idea is then gradually developed into a business concept that can either be entrepreneurial (e.g. creation of a new startup) or might expand the business of the proposing company. Mentoring by the companies (to eliminate the technical flaw) and by entrepreneurs/experts in business and innovation (to ensure feasibility from a business point of view) will be constant and will be necessary to prepare the teams for a final 7-minute pitch of their idea in front of the companies and of a panel including technical, innovation and entrepreneurial experts.
To strengthen the teams, complementary cultural and aggregation activities (outdoor) are presented during the week. An overview of the non-conventional, highly stimulating atmosphere and of the activities and outcomes that are expected also for TOP STARS 2018 is provided by the video of the latest edition of the school proposed in the school's website (see Box Useful Links).
Extra activities: Visits to companies, team building activity, day off

Participants' background

Up to 60 students, both EU and extra-EU Master students on the last years of their course of study, PhD, young researchers. Mainly materials-related, but we leverage on diversity.
A good level of English is needed (B2). Selection criteria: English test, CV, motivation letter, optional GRE

Workload and credits

The Summer school lasts 10 days, is in English language, foresees 6 frontal lectures (2 hours each), 6 mentoring sessions (2 hours each), 4 tutoring sessions (2 hours each) and 26 hours of team working.
 At the end of the summer school participants will receive an official UniTrento transcript of records certifying 10 ECTS
Teaching methodology: Frontal lectures on the domain and I&E, followed by team-work to finalize the proposed solution, harmonizing technical soundness and business feasibility. Mentoring sessions to drive and prepare for the final pitching


The Summer School will take place in UniTrento permises


All participants will be accommodated in double room in 4-star-hotel in Trento

Participation costs

The participation is free of charge.
Moreover, a grant covering travel expenses (up to 300 Euros) and accommodation (handled and paid by the school), will be available for selected students that meet the reimbursement criteria of the EU H2020 programme. 
750 € for EU H2020 non-eligible partner universities
1000 € for EU H2020 non-eligible non-partner universities


Application by students by April 30 (deadline may be extended to mid-May, check online for updates)


Prof. Matteo Leoni, UniTrento: matteo.leoni [at]