2023 was our busiest and most exciting year to date. It saw the launch of the new Fondazione Bassetti website, the development of a host of new and long-established collaborations, the culmination of our participation in one major EU funded project and the start of a new and exciting research and innovation support project, and concluded with the first of a series of events to celebrate the first thirty years of the Bassetti Foundation’s work.
Here we offer a taster of these developments.
An overview of Ongoing Projects
MOSAIC is a research project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme. Its main aim is to study, test and evaluate the effectiveness of co-creation to address broad challenges, such as the Grand Societal Challenges of the European Union or the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. The project explored its multi-stakeholder coc-creation approach in the framework ofthe EU Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities Mission (Mission “Cities) trough two pilot cities ‒ Milan in Italy and Gothenburg in Sweden ‒ both participating in the Mission ‘Cities’. Based on this, MOSAIC has developed tools and recommendations that can also support other cities or territories in embarking on co-creation paths to achieve their own sustainability goals.
The pilot experience conducted in Milan within the MOSAIC project was called InformAria. Fondazione Giannino Bassetti, in collaboration with the Direction Green and Environment of the Municipality of Milan and AMAT, decided to focus this pilot on the co-creation of technological tools to support residents and city users of Milan in making informed decisions related to air quality in the city (e.g., choosing the best days for outdoor sports activities). The pilot was designed, coordinated and run by Giannino Bassetti.
The Foundation is also partner in a groundbreaking project whose aim is to develop techniques that combine 3D printing with synthetic biology and photonics. In the ENLIGHT project, researchers use visible light tomography to shape cells or biomaterials into living tissue in ultrafast, multi-material, high-resolution mode, enabling the 3D printing of cell functions for the first time and opening a new era in medical research.
Regular readers may know that the Foundation has a long-held interest in this field, having hosted Professor Jos Malda within the framework of the SMART-map project in 2017. At this event Professor Malda presented his work in biofabrication using 3D printing technology, describing the situation in the field at that time and the challenges faced in the 3D printing of living organisms.
Since 2023 the Foundation is coordinating the EU project REINFORCING
Funded under Horizon Europe, REINFORCING is the much-needed European central hub for Open and Responsible Research and Innovation. The REINFORCING platform will bethe entry point to knowledge, training, mentoring and capacity building for organizations interested in starting or continuing their journey to creating an inclusive R&I ecosystem. In its 50 months of life, besides gathering and curating knowledge, the project brokers unique networking opportunities for organizations, institutions and territories interested in becoming part of the European ecosystem that is transforming the R&I system by bringing it closer to society and societal needs.
To support this change, REINFORCING has ring-fenced funding for 72 grants – between 20,000 and 60,000 euros – to invite institutions from around Europe to develop projects aiming at implementing new modes of doing R&I that drive more just transitions.
A Selection of Research Interests on Show
Alongside these projects, the year saw the continued development of several broad themes of interest, two of which we shine the spotlight on here: Artificial Intelligence and Longevity and Innovation.
President Piero Bassetti very much set the scene as he and a host of other guests posed the question Are Humans Still Necessary? under the banner of The New Atlas of Digital Art hosted by MEET, and during his interventions at the Salone Off in Turin where he addressed the topic of AI through his looking glass analogy.
In November, our ongoing Dialogue on Responsibility in Artificial Intelligence series opened with interviews with Guido Boella, co-founder of the Italian Society for the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, and Fosca Giannotti, professor at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. Much more will follow in 2024.
The series builds upon a bedrock of initiatives that ran throughout the year. In September the Foundation hosted a cross-generational discussion entitled Artificial Intelligence, Learning and Creative Development, with Bassetti Foundation and Globus and Locus President Piero Bassetti in conversation with Gabriele Giacomini, Researcher in Digital Philosophy at the University of Udine, joined by students from the Polytechnic of Turin and Milan and the University of Milan.
This meeting in turn built upon an earlier discussio, Learning in the era of Artificial Intelligence which took place in May. Pietro Monari, Project Manager for Education at Ammagamma, Annamaria Lisotti, Professor in Mathematicsand Physics and coordinator of the EU funded Bring AI in Schools, Historian and Philosopher Riccardo Fedriga, and the digital entrepreneur Piero Rivizzigno discussed a host of issues including those surrounding knowledge, education and citizenship.
Interested readers will find much more on this topic from a myriad of different perspectives across the website.
A further theme developed throughout the year addressed the relationships between Longevity and Innovation.
The year began where 2022 had left off, with the conclusion of the Longevity and Innovation series of meetings, developed in collaboration with the Ravasi-Garzanti Foundation.
The third appointment of this four-part cycle saw the Foundation host the presentation of Marianna Madia’s latest book Vite disuguali. Salute, longevità, accesso ai diritti: la misura delle grandi fratture sociali (Unequal Lives. Health, longevity, access to rights: the scale of the great social rifts). Bassetti Foundation General Secretary Francesco Samorè moderated a discussion between Marianna Madia, Lia Quartapelle, Cristina Tajani, Elisabetta Donati, and Foundation President Piero Bassetti.
The cycle closed with a seminar entitled Curare l’invecchiamento? (Curing Ageing?), with the collaboration of the The AIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology (IFOM). The Ravasi-Garzanti Foundation’s Elisabetta Donati, Milan Bicocca University Geriatrician Giuseppe Bellelli, IFOM researcher Fabrizio d’Adda di Fagagna and Claudio Vernieri and bioethicist Virginia Sanchini joined Piero Bassetti in a discussion moderated by Francesco Samorè.
Following the longevity theme into further education, the Foundation offered the Society for All Ages. Longevity-driven Design Masters course at Milan Polytechnic and a Longevity-driven Design workshop on the Interaction Design and Service Design Masters courses at Milan Domus Academy, in addition to the second cycle of interventions about Responsible Research and Innovation for the Executive Masters at the Milan Polytechnic School of Management.
Interested readers can find supporting material on the website including a review of the edited collection Digital Ageism: How it operates and approaches to tackling it, an interview with President of the Institute for Transformative Innovation Research Stefano Denicolai, and reports from both the Annual Meeting of the Socio-gerontechnology Network and the launch of the Critical Infrastructure Lab.
Thirty Years Young and a New Website is Born
The year closed with two of our most eagerly awaited events, the official opening of celebrations of our thirty-year anniversary and new website.
On 18th December and in collaboration and with hosting by MEET, the Foundation threw back the curtain on its thirty-year anniversary celebrations. A full morning of presentations and discussions, much of the event was centred on the two the interests described above: Piero Bassetti addressed the problem of responsibility in the face of new knowledge in the form of Artificial Intelligence, Nicoletta Lacobacci, Guido Romeo, Stefano Epifani and Margherita Fronte discussed the issues of generation and gender in relation to AI, and Annarosa Pesole described the need for a new social pact for working in a world with AI.
The event coincided with the launch of the new website.
The Live-archive is the centerpiece and heart and soul of the new Bassetti Foundation website, representing an archive of work and thinking that spans more than two decades. It is a collection of in-depth articles, analyses, and studies that gather textual, audio-video and photographic materials from the extensive exchanges of ideas that have taken place within our Foundation, centered around the theme of Responsibility in Innovation. The new Cover Story section offers voice to our long-term collaborators, while the newly incorporated desk space offers a host of new possibilities for interaction with the archive materials.
We very much look forward to this year’s celebrations and hope you can all join us.