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In the spotlight for Part 5 of OPTIMAI: Behind The Scenes is Cinzia Rubattino, a Senior Researcher at Engineering Ingegneria Informatica (ENG/Engineering). In her interview, Cinzia gives us a detailed insight into her work within ENG and as the Exploitation Manager of the OPTIMAI project.

Hi Cinzia, thanks for speaking to us today. Could you start by introducing yourself and telling us where you are based? 

Hi, my name is Cinzia Rubattino and I am a Senior Researcher at Engineering Ingegneria Informatica. Engineering has more than 40 years of experience in the digital transformation of both public and private companies and organisations, with an innovative range of services for the main market segments. With more than 11,600 professionals in 40+ locations (in Italy, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and USA), the Engineering Group designs, develops, and manages innovative solutions for the areas of business where digitalisation generates major change, such as Digital Finance, Smart Government & E-Health, Augmented City, Digital Industry, Smart Energy & Utilities, and Digital media & Communication is a leading Italian software and services group.

What does your typical working day in the OPTIMAI project involve?

Part of the time is dedicated to collaboration with other partners, taking part in periodical virtual meetings for both technical and business discussions. Another part of the activity is dedicated to individual contributions – e.g. studying state of the art for specific topics, deliverables preparation, etc.

What is your main task in the OPTIMAI project?

Engineering is involved in several aspects of the project. As a technical partner, we contribute to technical specifications definition and we are in charge of edge processing. We are in charge of the Data Management Plan, so we are monitoring this aspect in close collaboration with Consortium partners – especially with WP9 members. I am also the Exploitation Manager of the project: even if we are still in the first project year, we have started to define the first aspects in close collaboration with other Consortium members. Finally, we are Quality Manager, so we support the coordinator and the innovation manager in the process of deliverable preparation and submission.

What do you like most about your role? 

From the technical point of view, we are involved in edge processing: this is a challenging actual issue for a lot of companies, in order to balance the use of cloud-edge computing in the best way according to their specific needs. Besides this, we are also involved in business aspects such as the exploitation activity, which let us have a complete view of the commercial potential of OPTIMAI results, not only of its technological enhancements.

Has working remotely affected your work on OPTIMAI in any way?

Not much. With the pandemic, the way of working has been changed but technology such as videoconferencing software, collaboration platforms, and cloud services keep people connected and allow them to work, interact and cooperate from anywhere, anytime.

What makes your organisation ideal for participating in the research/activities of OPTIMAI?

With important R&D investments, Engineering plays a leading role in research, coordinating national and international projects with a team of 450 researchers and data scientists and a network of scientific and academic partners throughout Europe. We are core partner of EIT Digital, co-founder and board member of the Big Data Value Association, founding member of FIWARE Foundation, Day-1 member of GAIA-X, co-founder of the European initiative Future Internet PPP, partner of the Alliance for the Internet of Things, Eclipse Foundation and many others. The Research and Innovation Department taking part in the project is also strongly supported by cross-business unit centres of competence.

So, we hope to have the dual role of promoting research on software at an international level and transferring innovation to the production cycle of the business structures.

What do you see as the biggest challenge for OPTIMAI?

OPTIMAI aims to realize a legal and ethical framework to ensure sustainability and compliance of the innovations brought by OPTIMAI with all relevant regulations and ethics principles. This is a challenging objective for the project which will guarantee the alignment of the research activities with relevant ethical, legal requirements and societal values.

Could you describe the overall expected impact of the OPTIMAI project in three words?

Reliability, safety, traceability.

What would be your advice to anyone interested in getting involved with a Horizon Europe project? 

Choose carefully the partners to collaborate with and try to avoid an exclusive technology-centric approach to projects. As we are understanding from the new guidelines of the European Commission, the added value of the projects does not only lie in technological improvements but also in the attention to the human factors, to the environmental changes, to all those challenges that will dominate the society of the future.

Thank you for taking the time to speak to us, Cinzia! We look forward to more updates from the team at ENG.

To keep up to date with the Behind the Scenes series and all OPTIMAI updates, make sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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