Passion and the interest for research are distinctive traits of illycaffè since its beginnings and have improved much more under the direction of Ernesto Illy. After his graduation in chemistry, Ernesto Illy knew how to look at coffee with the scientist’s eye in order to see the unexplored details and complexities of its study subject, and he committed his whole life to understand them.
After his death, in 2008, The Ernesto Illy Foundation has kept alive his commitment to the scientific research and it has sponsored important projects of partnership with universities, institutions, and bodies of excellence.
The Foundation is involved in a research project on Computational Toxicology, in collaboration with Sissa, the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste (Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati di Trieste). It participates to a network of international studies (International Coffee Genome Network), focused on a program of coffee genome sequencing.
In Ethiopia, The Ernesto Illy Foundation, illycaffè and the University of Addis Ababa have launched a project to protect the varieties of Ethiopian coffee, by taking into account the close link with the socio-environmental conditions that have allowed and improved its development. The main purpose of this initiative is to promote the protection and development of the original varieties of Arabica coffee, besides protecting on site the germplasm of some primeval varieties of coffee in the wild forests of Ethiopia.
As for training, the Foundation has promoted with a group of partners of excellence in the educational field the Master in Coffee Science and Economics.