Trento City of Scientific Culture Case study

City of Scientific Culture
Case study
Federica Manzoli
MaCSIS – Master in Science Communication
and Sustainable Innovation
Università Milano Bicocca
7th PLACES Training Workshop
Turin, January 31st, 2013
The case study: Trento as a city of scientific culture
Understanding our knowledge society
 studying the places where science and society meet
• PLACES aim: to identify dymnamic models of cities of scientific culture
• My aim: to study the features of Trento as a CSC and focus on the
“transferrable lessons (not transferrable solutions)” (Tuff)
PLACES Impact Assessment Toolkit: desk analysis and in-depth interviews
(political sphere)
Trento as CSC - Case Study
The Trento Province
To study a CSC: clear map of the actors, their
Population: 524.8626, 115.511 in Trento
Territory,: 11 districts mainly mountainous
Economy: based on tourism and agriculture
Administration: Autonomous Province (the
financing of science in society activities
comes easily from public funds rather than
private investments).
Local scientific and technological culture based on environment, climate and
sustainability  local politics
Trento as CSC - Case Study
Presence of important scientific institutions
The local institutions have a role from a political point of view. The history of this place tells also
about the investments in research. Here the slogan of basing the economy on the knowledge
has a substance, in the University, in the two big Foundations [Fondazione Bruno Kessler and
Fondazione E. Mach]. The university in it self was born from a provincial institute. All the public
schools are not depending from the Italian central State, but from the Province…
University: funded by the Province
• 10 departments
• Degree titles 1962-2011: 39.655
• Enrolled 2011/2012: 16,331
• Professors and reseachers: 563
• Administrative and technical staff: 656
• PCs: 956
The Microsoft Research–University of Trento Centre for Computational and Systems Biology
(COSBI) is applying computer science to the development of modeling, simulation, and
analysis tools for understanding the behavior of biological systems.
Trento as CSC - Case Study
Presence of important scientific institutions
FBK – Bruno Kessler Foundation
The Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK), is a private non-profit research centre working for
the public interest.
Research in the areas of Information Technology, Materials and Microsystems,
Mathematics, Italo-Germanic Historical Studies and Religious Sciences, Networking
and Telecommunications, and studies on the effectiveness of public policies.
Over 350 researchers, 220 between students working on their thesis, doctorate
students and visiting scientists combined;
8 international Research Centers;
7 laboratories, including a Microtechnologies laboratory fully equipped for the
production of silicon devices ;
11 between spinoffs and start-ups combined
Trento as CSC - Case Study
Presence of important scientific institutions
FEM – Fondazione Edmund Mach
The Istituto Agrario San Michele promotes and carries out research, scientific
experiments, education and training activities as well as providing technical
assistance and services to companies. These activities are aimed at promoting
cultural and socio-economic growth in the agricultural sector and at developing the
forestry and agro-alimentary systems, with particular regard for the environment
and the safeguard of the territory of the Trentino region.
Trento as CSC - Case Study
Presence of important scientific institutions
Technological transfer
Trento Rise: a single organizational body that connects several of the major actors in
ICT research, education and business in the Trento region, including, among others,
FBK and the University of Trento, with the aim to foster start-up initiatives and new
research ideas and experimentations to breach the gap between technologies and
single applicative domains.
Trentino Sviluppo: Aim to foster the sustainable development of Trentino by taking
action and providing services aimed at supporting the growth of business skills and the
capacity for innovation in the province through the promotion of its competitive
features , operating on the basis of a network system and in accordance with the
principles of business skill, innovation, social cohesion and the quality of life, work and
the environment, in order to build the Trentino of the future.
Trento as CSC - Case Study
Focus on sustainability
Value to the local research
Prominence of the Province
Provincial law “Trentino for the climate protection”: frame aimed to develop a
local sustainable economy, agriculture, tourism, and also to communicate to
the citizen.
“… The network monitoring the climate is based on locally based focal points. The
network promotes the Trentino Climate Observatory, with the aim to develop
the knowledge on the evolution of climate phenomena and to communicate
and disseminate it, also involving other competent entities” (09/03/2010,
art. 5).
Trento as CSC - Case Study
Economical support to SCIPs
Main sources of funds: Province
Bank foundations: important but minor role in comparison
Private companies; no real interest in communication yet.
Main supporters are the bank foundations, which periodically bring out calls to finance
cultural projects. But nothing in the private sector can compete with the public
money coming from the TAP. (cultural manager)
We do not have big industries financing the research, as FIAT in Piemonte to give an
example, the Province has to play as the skeleton of the body. In the future,
instead, it will decrease and the private contribution will grow (administrator).
We are Province-dependent and this is a problem and an advantage. We have one of
the highest rate of public investments in research, but of the lowest for private
ones. To work in communication means for me to reduce this gap (communicator).
Future  new promising forms of public/private collaboration
Trento as CSC - Case Study
Public participation and Cultural Identity
• Environment-oriented
Our land is the citizenship, the inner landscape. If with innovation we mean the introduction of
best practices in favour of the quality of the environment, in this sense citizens are part of an
innovation society and the work of communication on sustainability strongly influences it… We
have big research institutes here and they start to be better perceived by the population, fact
that take them closer to an innovation society (administrator).
• Innovation Society
Citizens of Trentino do not perceive to be part of the innovation society, but of an efficient
system. I give you an example: when I arrived at the COSBI [Centre for Computational and
System Biology], some citizen of Povo [the small town where the Centre is located] came to
make sure that scientists weren’t experimenting with animals. (communicator).
• No real influence (but with their votes to the politicians…)
I’m not able to think of any direct influence of the common citizens to policies related to S&T.
More influence, even not direct, is in environmental issues. It seems as we completely trust in
our administrators (cultural manager).
• TAP Statistical Service (2009) “The perception of the impact of the scientific
research in Trentino”
Trento as CSC - Case Study
Communication Activities
• Importance of local media as opinion leaders
• Growing participation of local scientists in SC events
• Growing investments in communication by the scientific institutions
• Wide offer of labs and activities for the schools
• Platform for the implementation of local SCIPs  MUSE
Hub of creativity, sustainability, industrial technology showcase, but also of
integration, mitigation of conflict  agora of Trento’s citizens
Core activity of the new Science Centre  to promote participated research
among different stakeholders on current questions that citizens are facing, with
the final goal to “contribute in creating a citizenship which recognizes itself the
proposed politics… in creating a cultural welfare for citizens adn build a sense of
Trento as CSC - Case Study
Trento (dynamic) model
Scientific institutions: eccellence in environment, IT, agriculture
Policies and politics: main topic are policies to foster the environmental
protection and sustainability; law “Trento for the climate protection” (2010)
formally addressing SCIPs
Funding: Province, minor role of bank foundations, aim to reach a better
public/private collaboration
Science Communication: presence of MUSE  at the centre of the policy making
+ opening of the new science centre
Public participation: focus on environmental issues, improvable
Relatively good collaboration among different actors in the field of the scientific
research (university, scientific institutes, museum).
Challenge  setting up better local network comprising all actors playing a role in
science communication, from the Municipality to the local hospital, to ensure
soas to
- Case Study their efforts
Trento Transferrable Lesson?
Trento represents a model of CSC based on
• a strong science communication centre (MUSE)
• on the ground of a solid environmental tradition and
• excellent scientific institutions,
• a model of funding based on the public support.
Unique experience?
What to communicate to the stakeholders in your town?
Trento as CSC - Case Study
• to the interviewees: Laura Boschini, Massimiano Bucchi,
Elisabetta Curzel, Michele Lanzinger, Franco Miglietta, Davide
Modena, Osvaldo Negra, Michele Nulli, Alberto Pacher,
Assessorato alla cultura della Provincia di Trento
• to Agnes Allansdottir, who crucially contributed to the
research, elaborating the methodology and reviewing my text
• to Antonia Caola, who helped me in setting the research and
is crucially contributing to the opening of the new MUSE
• to all the colleagues who collaborated to the making of the
PLACES Impact Assessment Toolkit, and to Gema Revuelta of
Universitat Pompeu Fabra in particular
Trento as CSC - Case Study
July 27th 2013
Trento as CSC - Case Study