Dubbed “Galileo”, a name that evokes the best in Italian science, this General Electric project calls for USD 600 million in investment in the Italian regions of Tuscany (the core of the project), Lombardy, Piedmont, and Puglia. The US multinational, one of the largest corporations in the world, hopes to make Florence’s Nuovo Pignone GE’s hub for international research into next-generation turbines and compressors. This is a massive investment for an ambitious project, which will entail the hiring of 500 engineers in the near future.
The project is a big win for Italy, for the country’s culture of scientific, and for the ability of our best universities to provide excellence in education—all factors that helped guide GE’s decision to pick Italy over countries such as South Korea, the Czech Republic and Mexico. Also contributing to the selection were the quality of Italy’s human resources, the special cultural and humanistic traits of our young engineers and researchers, and that “polytechnic culture” based on a unique blend of scientific talent and humanistic knowledge that only Italy can express to such a high degree and which drives the country’s extraordinary, highly competitive culture of enterprise.
GE’s Galileo project (defined at the end of January with the help of the Italian government and the Region of Tuscany) confirms Italy’s growing attractiveness for international investment in areas in which the quality of “human capital”—of individual talent—is key. Recent investments by Cisco, Bayer and Apple for a research centre in Naples are further evidence of this allure and prove the validity of a strategy that we must continue pursuing, that of quality education, strong relations between academia and the business world (including increasing involvement of the vocational schools and career training), research, innovation, and the transfer of technology.
GE in particular has a special relationship with Italy. In 1994, they acquired Nuovo Pignone (Florence) from Eni, radically reorganised it, and made it an international benchmark as GE Oil & Gas, which paved the way for the this ambitious Galileo project. In recent years, GE also acquired Avio from Cameri, in the province of Novara, and made it an aeronautics firm of extraordinarily high quality—a leader in “Industry 4.0” and sophisticated applications of 3D printing—and the organisation continues to believe that Italy is the ideal location, both with its own facilities and the strength of the nation’s high-quality supply chain, for cutting-edge manufacturing of international scope. It is a strategic decision that can act as an innovative paradigm both for other multinationals and for the best in Italian manufacturing.