Polytechnic brings inclusion, skills and ideas – Corriere.it

Polytechnic brings inclusion, skills and ideas – Corriere.it

Where science, technology and human relations intersect. Where science opens up to relationships and questions the ethical dimension of its role in major global challenges. There is science diplomacy there. It uses research and international cooperation, between universities and study centres, as a means of developing global diplomatic outreach and a support base for policy-making on a planetary scale. School diplomacy, carried out by those involved in environmental, scientific and technological issues, such as the Polytechnic of Milan, which renews its commitment to the Earth And those who live there with the first Strategic Sustainability Plan 2023-2025, presented by University President Donatella Sciuto during The first “Change” event, organized in collaboration with Pianeta 2030, took place on October 16. A diplomacy that defines sustainability as synonymous with equality, inclusion and shared growth, in line with the final goal of the 2030 Agenda, Partnership for the Goals.

In the Strategic Sustainability Plan (presented at the “Change” event), the topic of cooperation is among the priorities “With the Master, there are now 35 of our scientific ambassadors in Ethiopia,” says Emanuela Colombo, PoliMi delegate

In 2021, the European Commission, recognizing the urgent need to increase interest in and trust in science, launched the European Alliance for Science Diplomacy.. Objective: To promote new models of international cooperation and increase the presence of scientific research in the global debate to counter misinformation and ideologies. After years that witnessed a succession of unexpected events, which called into question many of our traditional reference systems, “Science becomes a strategic focus in international cooperation and a guide for informed policies“, explains Emanuela Colombo, full professor at the Department of Energy at PoliMi and Rector’s Delegate for Science Diplomacy. «The world of research is the candidate to look beyond crises, to promote studies and initiatives on global issues with a competitive logic, to stimulate innovation and technological development, and collaboratively, so that “Innovation is accessible to all social groups everywhere.”

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Towards Africa

Scientific diplomacy also returns political attention to Italy regarding international relations, especially with the African continent. Even more so in times of environmental transition, taking into account the presence of raw materials and rare metals such as platinum and cobalt. “The main theme when we talk about Africa is equity in the energy transition. If we do not also include Southern Hemisphere countries in this process, Europe and Italy’s efforts in the Green Deal may be marginal» Colombo explains. Africa is growing, both in population and economy. The middle class is growing and, consequently, market opportunities are expanding for companies that want to invest or establish local subsidiaries or affiliates. The geopolitical role of the territory will become increasingly centralized, with development opportunities on site and in existing countries, which could create conditions to mitigate some of the causes of the migration phenomenon at the source.

Projects under implementation

The response is the Polytechnic University of Milan, one of the leading actors in the Italian scientific world, able to appeal to diplomatic interests through concrete projects. In the long term, support the work of governmental and multilateral bodies with scientific evidence. In particular, in Africa. From a national perspective, whether in the field of research strategies, such as the Pnrr call for reciprocal education issued by the Ministry of Universities and Research, or in the political field, with the margins granted by the recent Mati Plan decree. Among the projects being implemented on the continent is an institutional training program starting in 2020 in Ethiopia and Tunisia with the Italian Higher Education Foundation with Africa. (Ihea Foundation) was founded together with five other large Italian universities and Mur. “The first edition of the inter-university master’s degree specializing in sustainable management of resources and cultural heritage has just been completed. With the blended teaching, it saw the participation of 35 young professors and administrators from 20 institutions in a country in conflict. “Meeting and working together at the headquarters of the Italian Cultural Institute in Addis Ababa was an exercise of scientific diplomacy and an opportunity for learning. Today in Ethiopia we have 35 scientific ambassadors of our country».

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From research to decisions

For science to become a language of dialogue between different actors and fields, with unequal access, there is a need for specialized training for young people. In Italy and Africa to fill gaps in research capabilities and vocational skills of productive sectors. “Providing researchers with the necessary skills to transform the results of scientific research into policy recommendations,” Colombo adds. “This is the goal of the first edition of innovative teaching on science diplomacy for our doctoral students in January 2024.” This is to enhance the skills of future policy makers. “Science diplomacy as the ability to accompany systemic actions will certainly be the focus of Mattei’s plan and the Italian G7 presidency will be an opportunity to relaunch Africa’s centrality as a strategic partner.Columbo concludes. “With research in service, so that an equal and non-predatory relationship is created, for mutual learning and knowledge exchange, for the benefit of all.”

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