A leadership built on excellence


ICONS is a private Italian group founded in 1999 that develops large-scale projects in the field of science innovation and culture. 

The commitment, passion, innovative spirit and skills of its team allow ICONS to be leader in the design of innovation strategies aimed at creating and measuring the impact of scientific research on society. 

ICONS is formed by Fondazione ICONS, a rare example of fully operative Italian foundation mainly operating in the field of European funded research and at the heart of the cultural philanthropic initiatives; and ICONS srl, a reputed consultancy providing high added value services in all areas of the group’s expertise, with a specific focus on business innovation strategy.


Over the years, we have worked for several international research institutions and organisations, public authorities and many other societal players, wishing to improve and upscale the impact of their activities towards their communities and external stakeholders.

We work with the European Commission, the European Training Foundation (ETF), the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), the European Banking Authority (EBA) and several other organisations.

In 2020, the European Commission awarded ICONS a Framework Contract for running the Horizon Results Booster, the European flagship initiative providing public dissemination and exploitation consultancy steering research towards strong societal impacts.

«The secret of getting ahead is getting started»


Our history


ICONS srl: the beginning of the journey

In June 1999 two young market and business analysts, Elena Gaboardi and Mario Martinoli, decided to join forces to embark on an entrepreneurial adventure and founded ICONS srl, the first kernel of what was to become one of the main European players in public communication and business exploitation.

It was a truly good year: we won our first European project – SODA – whose goal was to create an information system to provide detailed data on solar radiation at global level.

The service, for which ICONS designed most of market uptake strategy, is still active and widely used by architects and solar radiation scientists worldwide.


Modeling the public communication of research

Shortly after its inception, ICONS came across the opportunity to assist the European Commission in developing enhanced models for communicating European research results through the media.

These were early times for the public communication of research and the topic featured at the top of the EU research agenda. ICONS, through a very large pilot project funded under the FP5 budget – IST-TV – elaborated and delivered a new, revolutionary and scalable model for the communication of research to the media, setting the capacity of penetration as the principal TV media production criterion, de-facto outracing traditional branded communication.

A new paradigm that would set the fortune of ICONS for several years to come.


youris.com: the media outlet

2004 is a milestone for the history of ICONS, as it is year of birth of youris.com – European Research Media Center – the platform for the production of media content on the achievements of the European research and its distribution to the international TV networks. youris.com is the coronation of ICONS’ endeavours over the previous years.

Created to offer a comprehensive and dedicated service to TV broadcasters, the platform established itself as the one of the main content providers of media resources in the field of science and technology in Europe. 

All major European TV broadcasters, as well as the pan-European network Euronews and the Association of European Broadcasters (EBU), have found in youris.com their source of reference for European public research information.

Over the years, the content developed by youris.com reached more than 120 million viewers worldwide in 2011, covering the 3% of the world’s total TV viewers.


Theresia Orchestra: the philanthropic dream

Theresia Orchestra is the musical project at the heart of ICONS’ philanthropic, cultural and artistic activities. Founded in 2012 at the instigation of a group of private patrons, Theresia Orchestra brings together musicians under the age of 28 from the main European academic music institutions, allowing them to perform at prestigious venues and to deepen their knowledge in the professional and artistic field.

The main activity of Theresia is to increase the study of historical performance practice of music by authors of the classical period (1770-1820) and the exclusive use of classical instruments.

Theresia has represented a paradigm of integration and dialogue between cultures, and today it is internationally recognized as one of the most prominent European classical music projects.


Fondazione ICONS: the way forward

The need to move towards a legal form that could better represent our values led us in 2016 to set up Fondazione ICONS as a synthesis of the scientific and cultural activities carried out by the group.

A new development strategy was designed, adding to the core competences of science communication new areas of expertise, namely business and social innovation and a new research area focusing on quantitative research impact measurements.

ICONS srl maintains a strong focus on European innovation and increases its strategic consultancy, addressing a variety of clients across Europe. The vocation for training and education now becomes stronger.


An award-winning organisation

In the following years ICONS reorganized its structure and expanded its know-how and expertise. The team grew and the portfolio of ICONS’ EU-funded projects reached 23. 

In this context, we were very proud, in November 2018, to be awarded the prestigious .eu Web Awards for the development of the best .eu sites of the year.

The two websites developed by ICONS for the FETFX and STARDUST projects were awarded the first prize in their category, boosting the reputation of excellence of our team’s work.


The Horizon Results Booster: ICONS at the forefront of the European Innovation

The most recent years. In 2019 ICONS celebrated 20 years of activity with the release of a new brand identity, while 2020 marked another fundamental milestone: the European Commission awarded ICONS the Framework Contract for running the “Common Support Services for Dissemination, Exploitation and Valorisation of Research and Innovation Results” – Horizon Results Booster – the principal service of the European Commission to boost the dissemination, communication and exploitation activities of all FP7, Horizon2020 and Horizon Europe projects.

Praise for our work and an acknowledgement of our history in supporting the European research over the past 20 years.


Theresia Orchestra at the leading edge of European talent development initiatives

The Creative Europe Programme of the European Commission awarded Theresia Orchestra with a three-year EMPOWER grant to develop and implement activities to promote artistic excellence among young talented musicians. Thanks to this recognition, Theresia joined the group of leading youth orchestras co-funded by the European Commission.


EUBO returns to play thanks to ICONS

In November 2022, after four years of inactivity due to Brexit, ICONS took over the day-to-day management of EUBO, the European Union Baroque Orchestra, in full agreement with the historic founders and the last managers. EUBO is now part of the philanthropic activities of ICONS, with Mario Martinoli as new artistic director. ICONS thus confirms its leadership in the management of youth orchestras in Europe.


ICONS on the podium in Lombardy for Horizon Europe projects funded by European Commission

In 2022, ICONS resulted as the third organisation in Lombardy in terms of the number of Horizon Europe projects approved and funded by the European Commission, immediately after Politecnico di Milano and the Università degli Studi di Milano.