MARILIA: bridging the gap between market and research

Design Thinking, Strategic Marketing and working together with the stakeholders since the early stages are essential in the product development process within MARILIA


Continuous improvement in living condition and pervasive technology have created an imaginary in which micro-biological threats seemed to be ancient history or history book material. Truth is that now, more than ever, COVID-19 outbreak has showed us the opposite and the micro-biological world appears full of threats for us. Pathogens are everywhere but we tend to worry about them only when their consequences directly affect us. For example, drinking water is one of the principal possible sources of contamination in everyday life. Making water safe, along its entire distribution process is very difficult and requires several tests and quick interventions. That is why fast and accurate microbiological testing is so important. The methodologies applied for micro-biological analysis have reached new heights so far, in terms of analysis time and accuracy. However, the best current technologies are too expensive to be used on large scale as water distribution would indeed require.


Bringing the most advanced microbiological analysis techniques to such vast and safety-critical sectors is the main goal of the H2020 funded – project MARILIA. In particular, the FET Proactive project aims at implementing new technologies and tools to identify and characterize human pathogens through a new detection assay building upon the results of the FET-Open MARA project increasing its TRL’s level from TRL 2 to TRL 5.


Design Thinking and Strategic Marketing are playing key roles in the MARILIA product development. Indeed, the R&D project activities are led by information on requirements, expected performances, ergonomics and limitations of current approaches. Such knowledge is the result of direct interactions with the most relevant stakeholders of the application scenarios.

The novity is that such user-led approach is common in the best industries’ product/service development workflows, but it is rarely applied to low TRL EU-funded projects. Connecting technical development with the market as soon as possible can optimize resources and successfully lead to the creation of a real value proposition. Stakeholders’ information can radically change the course of the product development’s path, enabling a better use of resources, even in early phases, and therefore making a difference between entering into a blind alley or becoming a success story.


Within MARILIA, if the detection test meets the requirements defined by the market analysis, a start-up will be established to commercially exploit the innovations after the project lifetime.

The MARILIA road to market has just started and Day One, that is a Startup Studio for technology transfer projects, in its role as as business incubator and responsible for the exploitation activities within the project, is analyzing applications’ scenarios using tools like:


  • MACRO (E.S.T.E.L., Trends, Benchmark) analysis;
  • MICRO (Value Chain, Stakeholders, Interaction’s Opportunity) analysis;
  • Direct interactions and surveys with the main scenarios’ stakeholders;
  • Quality Function Deployment, and House of Quality, to turns the Voice of Customer into product requirements and specifications for R&D Team;
  • Use Case’s analysis to create a comparison between current methods and the MARILIA one.

Stay tuned for more information about MARILIA progresses!


Background information

FET-Open and FET Proactive are now part of the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot (specifically the Pathfinder), the new home for deep-tech research and innovation in Horizon 2020, the EU funding programme for research and innovation


Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash