Innovation and sustainability: Webuild donation to University of Genoa for wind tunnel, first in Europe

Webuild confirms its commitment to support young engineers and research in the sector with a €200,000 donation to the University of Genoa for the construction of a wind tunnel, the first of its kind in Europe, referred to technically as an unsteady wind tunnel. The donation strengthens the Group’s partnership with the university and contributes to research applied to infrastructure and its sustainability in the face of climate change. The tunnel, which will facilitate the study of the impact of unsteady wind loads on structures, will contribute to improving Italian competitiveness with the promise of creating jobs in the sector and along the supply chain.

The tunnel, to be built near the Vado Ligure power station, will contribute to research into improving structures that are subject to unsteady and often violent weather patterns like storms due to climate change. The research will lead to the development of safer, more resilient and sustainable structures, whose construction can be done more efficiently in terms of cost. The contribution the tunnel will be able to make to science will be significant in light of the characteristics it will have, unique in the world.

The project is the latest chapter in Webuild’s relationship with the Liguria region where it is building the Terzo Valico dei Giovi high-speed/high-capacity railway and Genoa Juncture. The region is also where the Group built in record time the Genova-San Giorgio Bridge. In June 2020, Webuild signed a framework agreement with the university to promote research in fields of common interest. It led to the creation of the UniWeLab laboratory last February to conduct research into sustainable mobility.

The collaboration with the University of Genoa is one of several being pursued by Webuild with leading universities in Italy and elsewhere, such as the Politecnico di Milan, the University of Technology Sydney and University of Melbourne. The aim is to establish a base to train young talent early in their respective careers. The collaboration is part of a wider investment initiative by the Group to prepare future professionals through a master’s programme and internships. Webuild recently launched a recruitment programme for 100 young people in southern Italian. It is also working on an awards programme to be named after Alberto Giovannini, the Group’s late chairman. It will focus on innovation and bringing digital technology to the infrastructure sector, again to support young talent that can work with the Group throughout the world in the coming years.

This pillar of innovation, which goes hand-in-hand with that of investing in professional training for young people, is at the heart of sustainable growth for Webuild. From the public tender process onwards, the Group turns every project and work site into a laboratory for advanced research, whose results can benefit not only Webuild but also the supply chain, which has shared in the Group’s growth in Italy and other countries thanks to Progetto Italia, an industrial operation to consolidate the sector in Italy that led to the acquisition of Astaldi, creating scale and improving competitiveness in international markets.