6,143 kilometers and 4 hours of travel were not enough to stop him. Roberto La Forgia, a scientist and chemist from Puglia, took the first flight back from Moscow – where he is now involved in a research project by the Russian multinational Rosatom – to receive the “Excellence Pugliesi 2019” award in Rome.
To those who know of his work, this jetting about does not seem astonishing. La Forgia’s work has taken him to Baku in Azerbaijan, on behalf of the UN, for a production project in the radiopharmaceutical field; then to Jamaica and Chile and finally Bahrain. However, what has distinguished him in the eyes of the “Puglia Top Quality” Consortium, and earned him recognition for “Apulian excellence”, was BeForPharma, the innovative start-up that he founded in 2014 in Puglia, in the heart of the south Italy.
One could feel the warmth of that heart in the press room of the Chamber of Deputies during the award ceremony on 1 February. It was impossible not to notice it. You could see it in the excited eyes of the prizewinners, like La Forgia, who have been recognized at home as well as for the many merits achieved abroad (the underlying motivation for the Award). And you could sense it too in the satisfied smiles of the BeForPharma team members, who had traveled that morning to personally support their CEO.
Roberto La Forgia, however, does not wish to speak of excellence. “Excellence”, he says, “is an unattainable goal. Instead, in our case it was the normality, the passion and the sacrifice that, day after day, got us here.” BeForPharma is a project directed towards one great goal but running on two different and parallel tracks: the national and international ones. “BeforPharma is the synthesis that we bring to Italy of all the activities carried out abroad, in different countries of the world.”
Asked his opinion about preventing brain drain, La Forgia smiled: “It’s a demanding question, this one”. But seeing him together with his team, one can only hope that many young researchers will follow their example: brains never really escape and fortunately, as in the case of Roberto La Forgia, always come back.
(article and photo by Valentina Pigliautile)