MIT-Italy brings "Roberto Rocca Project" to MIT

International education opportunities expanded by signing of agreement with Milan politician
April 14, 2005

CAMBRIDGE, MA—On April 14, 2005, MIT President Dr. Susan Hockfield and Dr. Gianfelice Rocca, Chairman of Italy's Techint Group, will sign an agreement formalizing the start of an important new collaboration between MIT and the Milan Politecnico, Italy 's top engineering school.

The collaboration will honor Dr. Roberto Rocca, an alumnus of the Politecnico and MIT (where he obtained a ScD. in Metallurgy), and will significantly contribute to international education at MIT. A second official signing, with the president of the Politecnico, will take place in Milan on April 19 th.

The Roberto Rocca Project-as the new collaboration will be called-is the culmination of Dr. Rocca's lifelong interest in research. The Project will provide $250,000 a year for five years (renewable) to support and promote exchanges between MIT and the Politecnico, primarily in the fields of materials science, bio-engineering and mechanical engineering. The funds will support Politecnico post-doctoral students and visiting students at MIT, and research internships for MIT students at the Politecnico. It also will provide seed funds to launch research collaborations between MIT and Politecnico faculty.

The Roberto Rocca Project represents a major step in the consolidation of the MIT-Italy Program, which, under the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) umbrella, promotes international education at MIT and prestigious Italian research institutions. The Rocca Project will greatly enhance the effectiveness and visibility of similar initiatives, such as the Consorzio Italia MIT, which the Program has launched with the support of the Italian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Rocca Project activities will be advertised and managed by the MIT-Italy Program, under the supervision of an Advisory Board to include Gianfelice Rocca; Politecnico President Giulio Ballio and Professor Giuseppe Zerbi; MIT Institute Professor Emilio Bizzi, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Suzanne Berger, Raphael Dorman and Helen Starbuck Professor of Political Science, and MISTI Director; Assistant Professor Francesco Stellacci, MIT Department of Materials Science and a alumnus of the Milan Politecnico; and Dr. Serenella Sferza, Co-Director of MIT-Italy.

A prominent industrialist, Dr. Roberto Rocca spearheaded the expansion of Techint, a steel company founded by his father Agostino in 1945, into an $11 billion company active in a variety of industries, including steel, construction and energy. Today Techint operates worldwide with a workforce of 40,000.

Throughout his life, Dr. Rocca maintained closed ties with his almae matres. Several Techint executives and researchers were trained at MIT-at the Sloan Fellows Program and at core engineering departments-with generous Techint support.

Following the signing ceremony at President Hockfield's office on April 14, Dr. Gianfelice Rocca will give a talk to the Sloan Fellows on "Competitiveness in the New Global Order: Observations Drawn from the Tenaris Case." Richard Locke, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Political Science at the Sloan School and the Department of Political Science, and MIT-Italy Program Co-Director, will chair the talk.

Gianfelice Rocca is a physicist who graduated from Harvard Business School. In addition to his chairmanship of the Techint Group, he is Vice President of Confindustria (Italy 's leading business association) and a member of the Trilateral Commission, the Harvard Business School European Advisory Board, and the Aspen Institute Executive Committee.

Information about the Roberto Rocca Project is available at:

Information on MIT-Italy and the MISTI Program at MIT's Center for International Studies is available at:

The Center for International Studies (CIS) supports interna­tional research and education at MIT. It is the home of MIT’s Security Studies Program; the MIT International Science & Technology Initiative, its pioneering global education program; the Program on Emerging Technologies; and seminars and research on migration, South Asia politics, the Middle East, cybersecurity, nuclear weapons, and East Asia. The Center has traditionally been aligned with the social sciences while also working with MIT’s premier science and engineering scholars. CIS produces research that creatively addresses global issues while helping to educate the next generation of global citizens.