37 Politecnico di Milano Alumni against the “brain drain”

Thanks to them, 20 talented young men and women have stayed in Italy to study and work, contributing to the most innovative industries for the growth of the country.

Thursday 20 October 2022 - the Politecnico di Milano hosted the Circle of Donors, a group of alumni donors that, since 2016, has been committed to supporting the best students at the university financially and through mentoring pathways.

circle gruppo

“The Circle was created to answer a question: what can be done to be make us more attractive to our best students? Those that receive offers of opportunities and prestigious scholarships from the best universities in the world? What be done to stop them leaving? To keep this wealth of talent in Italy and at the Politecnico di Milano?”

Thus the meeting was opened by professor Enrico Zio, the President of Alumni Politecnico di Milano and Rector’s Delegate for Alumni and Individual Fundraising: two positions that combine effectively with the Circle.

Indeed, around the table there is an elite group of very high-profile alumni; alumni that volunteer as mentors to track the development of some of the best students at the Politecnico. No less important is the support of a financial nature: each Circle student has received (or is receiving, in the case of the latest arrivals) a scholarship of 20,000 euros which is disbursed over the course of the two years of the Laurea Magistrale (equivalent to Master of Science); a subsidy capable of competing with those offered by the best international universities.


7 years since the launch of the of the programme, the Circle has collected almost 400,000 euros courtesy of 37 alumni donors who have supported 20 students. Some of these young people have graduated and are already young professionals, both in business and the world of research, and all have had great success in industries that have a significant impact on the future of innovation and society: renewable energies, automation, autonomous vehicles and energy transition.

“Had it not been for the Circle scholarship, I would not have been able to study at the Politecnico,” remarked Daniele, who, after a degree in electrical electronic engineering, works as a designer for a Korean company that develops memory chips in Italy. “But, aside from the financial side of things, I realised the true value of the Circle when I began to have doubts and questions about my future and what I was going to do once I graduated. The Circle mentors have so much experience and through them I found not the answers to my questions, as I thought, but new questions and a guide to finding the answers myself.”

Giulia, meanwhile, studied energy engineering: her dream is to work with renewable energies and to have an impact on the world in which she lives. “After my Laurea (equivalent to Bachelor of Science), I was sure I would leave Italy to do my Magistrale (equivalent to Master of Science) abroad. The Circle convinced me to stay in Italy and at the Politecnico: as they had chosen me for a prestigious scholarship and were asking me to stay, I told myself that perhaps they had seen something that I had not, that perhaps it was worth reconsidering.” Giulia went abroad all the same, rightly, on an Erasmus placement. Today, her career means she travels a lot and is building an international profile, but she says, “I have decided that Italy is where I want to live and contribute to the growth of the country.”

“There is a very close relationship between students and Alumni; Alumni that dedicate time and effort to their university with great generosity. Their support represents one of the pillars of the Politecnico di Milano,”

observed rector Ferruccio Resta, reflecting on the words of Giulia and Daniele. “Their messages give us pause for thought. On one side there is the “diritto allo studio” (right to study), on the other there is the topic of mobility. I wish to point out that from 2017 to 2021, the budget for the “diritto allo studio” grew by 50%. Today it amounts to over 24,000,000 euros, supporting almost 5,000 students. In terms of student mobility, which should be encouraged in every possible way, as we have done by entering into agreements with universities across the world, the Circle project is part of a journey of development that has seen our country become a destination and not just a launch pad. It is an element of attraction in the face of the brain drain of young talent.”

The Circle project is the tip of the iceberg of a close partnership between the Politecnico di Milano and its community of alumni, which, in the last three years, has helped to collect more than 10,000,0000 euros in donations to support the university’s projects: approximately 500,000 euros have funded almost 500 scholarships and doctorates; approximately 1,800,000 euros have contributed to the modernisation of the Politecnico’s laboratories, equipment, infrastructure and campuses; approximately 550,000 euros have funded innovative teaching projects; and more than 2,200,000 euros have been devoted to social impact research. The Alumni project has been funded thanks to almost 300,000 euros in donations.

Find out more: https://alumni.polimi.it/en/2022/10/18/10-milioni-di-volte-grazie-dagli-studenti-e-dai-ricercatori-del-politecnico-di-milano/