Thursday, 23 January, 2020

From biodegradable plastic to the biodiversity of the Mediterranean: the Bicocca Crowdfunding University's projects have been selected

►100% biodegradable plastic containers.

►A zero-impact monitoring system of marine biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea.

►An educational garden inside a villa confiscated from the mafia.

►A site and an app for promoting science, including for non-experts.

►Videogames to improve the well-being of patients admitted to hospitals.

These are the five projects that have been selected (view the ranking here) for the second call of the Bicocca Crowdfunding University, the University of Milano-Bicocca’s alternative financing scheme, which is promoted to enable students, former students, professors, researchers, PhD students and university employees to develop innovative projects and business ideas through fundraising campaigns on the Produzioni dal Basso platform. The five selected projects are all led by women.

The call for entries closed at the start of December 2019 and included 47 projects, 6 more than in the first edition: 14 candidates from the internal staff (3 professors, 3 researchers, 3 research assistants, 2 PhD students and 3 administrative technicians) and 33 students (19) and former students (14). 45% of applicants were female. These two figures were in line with the first call.

The five projects selected by the commission are, for the Projects category (fundraising goal of up to 10,000 euro): It is easy to talk about bioplastics, but 100 % bioplastics?, which aims to develop bioplastic-based compounds containing completely biobased and biodegradable additives, and MeD for Med (Marine eDna for the Mediterranean), designed to establish a protocol to monitor marine biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea, through the collection of environmental DNA (eDNA), i.e. the DNA traces left by marine organisms in the water around them, filtering seawater samples recovered using regular ferries as a sampling platform.

The first project will be co-financed by COREPLA, the National Consortium for the Collection, Recycling and Recovery of Plastic Packaging, a partner of the second edition of the Bicocca Crowdfunding University. For the Small Projects category (maximum fundraising goal of 5,000 euro), Un bene da coltivare, Monna Lisa Bytes and Ready Patient One were chosen. The objectives are, respectively: the creation of an educational and community garden in a villa confiscated from the mafia in Rozzano, in the Milanese hinterland; the creation of a site – and in the future of an app – to distribute interactive “scientific communication products” connected to social networks, including for an audience of non-specialists; the creation of initiatives based on the use of video games and virtual reality for the psychological well-being of patients admitted to hospital.

In the coming days, the selected designers, together with their teams, will begin a training course to learn how to create successful campaigns, having already recently participated in support and consulting initiatives promoted by Assolombarda, the Milanese Rotary District’s Virgilio Program and iBicocca’s iHelp desk. Starting in March, the five crowdfunding campaigns will be gradually launched on the “Bicocca Crowdfunding University” network on the Produzioni dal Basso platform (https://www.produzionidalbasso.com/network/di/bicocca-universita-del-crowdfunding).

The initiative’s hashtag is #BiUniCrowd.

“Selecting projects for this call was challenging because there were a large number of interesting entries,” commented Salvatore Torrisi, Vice-Rector for Research Valorisation. “The projects we have chosen offer solutions to problems that are relevant to the community: environmental impact, psychological well-being during hospitalization, dissemination of scientific knowledge and social enhancement of the assets confiscated from the mafia.”