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An overview of 2018

by Redazione FGB [1], 30 January 2019

2018 was a busy and successful year for the Bassetti Foundation and its team of collaborators that saw a host of publications, participation within numerous conferences, collaborations across a wide range of fields and several events hosted in Milan.

The following aims to offer an overview of a year's work, is not exhaustive but offers readers an insight into the Foundation's projects, participation, achievements and interests over the last twelve months as it works towards its mission of promoting and debating issues surrounding responsibility in innovation.

Long Term Collaborations

As regular readers will know, the Bassetti Foundation is part of a network of collaborators working across the globe. The following examples offer a flavor of how such relationships allow debate around responsible innovation to find its way into different fields and realities and cultural settings.

This year saw the launch of a partnership between the university of Pavia and the Bassetti Foundation. The partnership agreement aims to promote collaboration on projects and initiatives across various emerging research themes, tying together the scientific aspects involved in such research with the social, political, economic, ethical and juridical issues that surround such developments.

The first taste of this collaboration brought a series of five meetings that began in March under the title "Precision Medicine: therapeutic opportunities and public responsibility". The seminar style meetings were all held on the Foundation's premises in Milan and featured a host of experts from across the field.

The participation of such a broad field of experts working in and in fields related to precision medicine meant that an array of specific aspects of these developments could be addressed from different perspectives. Beginning from a discussion and description of the structure of precision medicine, over the series speakers went on the address topics such as big data and machine learning, the role of patients, the possible and current effects of developments upon cardiology and the economic sustainability of developments within precision medicine.

Further details are available here (in Italian) [2] and video and comments of the meeting also in Italian can be enjoyed here [3].

A further collaboration between the two institutions took place in October with a meeting with the Delegate for the Rector of University of Pavia Arianna Arisi Rota and ilaria Cabrini, head of the university fundraising unit, who together presented the Universitiamo Crowdfunding Platform currently in operation at the university. A pioneering platform in Italy that was built upon the model operated by Berkley in the USA, video of the event is available here [4] (in Italian).

The collaboration also led to the "Building a biotech cluster: the MedCity experience [5]" seminar, an audience with Eliot Forster.

The Foundation welcomed the speaker, President of the MedCity project [6], whose aim is to promote life sciences investment, entrepreneurship and industry in the London/Cambridge/Oxford area.

In an interesting and animated presentation Forster recounted his experience with MedCity and its aim to respond to the financial crisis and diversify and grow the economy of London through the life sciences by constructing a public-private partnership and creating an alliance between the actors working in the sector in the "Oxford-Cambridge-London" Golden Triangle.

As regular readers will know, the Bassetti Foundation is a Founding Institutional Member of the Virtual Institute for Responsible Innovation (VIRI) [7]. Alongside its regular work, the VIRI network expanded once more with the inclusion of the Australian National University, and 2018 saw the VIRI celebrate its Fourth International Meeting in Szeged Hungary, with Foreign Correspondent Jonathan Hankins attending to present his work.

The meeting brought together members from across the globe, with presentations from both senior scholars and junior researchers.

Hankins presented the findings from his recent research on Poiesis intensive Responsible innovation within craft and scientific workplaces within a packed program, details of which can be found here [8].

Polytechnic of Milan
For the fourth year, the Foundation collaborated in the Laboratory for final submissions at the Milan Polytechnic School of Design degree in Innovation of Product Systems. The collaboration included a series of lectures following on from an introductory lecture delivered by President Piero Bassetti that introduced his concept of Made by Italics (as opposed to the more restrictive Made in Italy). Details are available here [9].

Further lectures were delivered by Francesco Samoré and Fabio Besti that carried on the Italic theme as an analysis tool for user experience, international design approaches and interactional design (within a broader set of issues and questions)

Regional Forum for Research and innovation
December 2017 saw the launch of the region of Lombardy's Regional Forum for Research and innovation [10].

The Forum worked throughout 2018 receiving executive support and coordination from the Bassetti Foundation, led by Angela Simone.

Two virtual meetings were held to discuss the responsible regional governance of cutting-edge issues on research and innovation, such as AI, smart mobility and precision medicine. The Forum was also kept busy commenting, revising and improving the Regional Research and Innovation Three-Year Strategic Plan.

The Region's Open Innovation Platform hosts a series of interviews with the Forum members, which are also included as individual posts on the Foundation website. Links can be found here [11].

Journal of Responsible Innovation
The Foundation continued its collaboration with the Journal of responsible Innovation throughout the year. The website hosts reviews of each edition [12] and this year once again saw the publication of an article written in the name of the foundation within the Journal.

Jonathan Hankins published a review of the Delft University Responsible innovation: ethics, safety and technology, some personal thoughts on the MOOC, a review of which is available here [13], alongside the opportunity for readers to download this and other articles from the journal free of charge through the website. Hurry though, copies are limited.

AI4People Forum
AI4People [14] is the first global forum in Europe on the social impact of AI, promoted by Atomium in cooperation with the EU Commission and the EU Parliament, with the Bassetti Foundation holding a seat in the Forum through Angela Simone, the only Italian CSO appointed to represent what might be described as the societal point of view.

Launched in November 2017 with a three-year roadmap, the goal of AI4People is to create a common public space for laying out the founding principles, policies and practices on which to build a "good AI society".

On behalf of the Foundation [15], Simone contributed to commenting and revising the "Ethical Framework for a good AI Society", authored by the AI4People's scientific committee, released in November 2018.

The Framework has been also used as a basis for by the EU AI Alliance "AI Ethics Guidelines" (currently under discussion) which will feed in to the European Commission's policy-making in this area. Watch this space for further developments.

The Foundation has a long relationship with the CORES network (Consumers, Networks and Practices for Economic Sustainability), as one of its co-founders Cristina Grasseni is a long time Foundation collaborator and former scientific Director.

This year CORES network celebrated the launch of its new website, a cycle of meetings on social change and transition and the Feeding the World; local solutions foe a global issue Conference.

Both Jonathan Hankins and Cristina Grasseni attended the meeting, with Hankins presenting a paper in which he described the relationship between aesthetics and morality, arguing that communities often use the concept of beauty to determine whether something is morally just or not. Full details of the event and links to the CORES website are available here [16].

After 30 months of trans-European work, the EU H2020 SMART-map project held its final conference in Brussels on 1st October 2018. Representatives from companies in precision medicine, 3D printing in biomedicine and synthetic biology (WeMake, Imegen, Sintea Plustek, Repositive, Sparkling Science) came together with industry associations, policy makers, civil society organizations as well as funders, think-tanks and strategic consultants (such as representative from EU DG RTD, GROWTH, CONNECT and FISMA, EFPIA, EVPA, IEEE, EIRMA, Patient Innovation, Future of Privacy Forum, Mc Kinsey and Company, Fondazione TOG, SoScience) to discuss and share inspiring experiences in RRI and comment on SMART-map outcomes.

The event included the presentation of three specially designed roadmaps, i.e. the "SMART Maps" on Precision Medicine, Synthetic Biology and 3D printing in biomedicine. Each SMART Map contains a collection of concrete tools that companies, responsible innovation ecosystem stakeholders and RRI enablers can use to implement responsible innovation processes in industrial settings, while discovering new business opportunities, anticipating trends in the market, and improving business and technological roadmaps to account for new values and societal instances.

Further details can be found here [17].


SMART-map e-book
As the project drew to completion, under the guidance of the Bassetti Foundation team SMART-map collected the most relevant material, reports, multimedia products in an e-book. In the final review of the project, the e-book was evaluated as a novel and relevant dissemination tool. It is free to download here [18], and its aim is to provide an easy-to-use guide for RRI enablers of responsible innovation ecosystems.

To celebrate its release a launch event was held at the Foundation at the end of October 2018 that brought together the coordinator of the project, Prof. Francesco Lescai (Aarhus University), the deputy coordinator, Angela Simone, from Bassetti Foundation, and representatives from the project and from many of the other organizations that form part of the Foundation's network. Details can be found here [19].

White Paper: Responsibility driven design for the future self-driving society
Responsibility driven design for the future self-driving society is a white paper prepared by Fabio Besti and Francesco Samorè with contributions from Angela Simone and Jonathan Hankins, which analyzes advances in driverless technologies and investigates the possible impacts of this new technological phenomenon on the future society.

The paper is the result of the collaboration between the Giannino Bassetti Foundation and the Design School of the Milan Polytechnic, for whom Self Driving Society @2030, the Final Synthesis Laboratory of the Master in Integrated Product Design took place in November 2017.

The white paper implicitly covers innovation opportunities and innovation responsibilities, the two main areas to emerge from the analysis of the self-driving society. How can these two (often but wrongly identified as opposite) aspects of innovation be integrated? It is available on free download [20] from the website.

Scienziati in Affanno
2018 also saw the publication (in Italian) in both paper and digital format of "Scienziati in affanno? Ricerca e Innovazione Responsabili (RRI) in teoria e nelle pratiche" edited by Alba L'Astorina and Monica Di Fiore for IREA-CNR (the Institute for the Electromagnetic Sensing of the Environment and the National Research Council of Italy [21]).

The book featured articles by Foundation collaborators, Anna Pellizzone, Francesco Samorè, Jonathan Hankins and Angela Simone, writing on topics that include Responsible Research and innovation (RRI) and ethics, practicing RRI in business, Responsible Innovation in governance and Poiesis Intensive Innovation.

The authors find themselves in good company, with a host of chapters from well known authors in the field.

The book is available to download here [22] and a series of interviews conducted by Anna Pellizzone with the editors conducted for the Foundation is available here [23].

Guardare oltre. Innovazione e politica nell'esperienza di Piero Bassetti
As part of the celebrations of Foundation President Piero Bassetti's 90th birthday he was presented with "Guardare oltre. Innovazione e politica nell'esperienza di Piero Bassetti", authored by the Foundation's Francesco Samorè and published through Carocci Editore.

The book retraces Piero Bassetti's political career and his landmark intellectual and strategic contributions to fundamental institutions of Italy's economic, political and academic functioning such as the Region Lombardy, Milan's Chamber of Commerce of Milan and the Union of Italian Chambers of Commerce, the Globus and Locus foundation and last but not least the Giannino Bassetti foundation itself.

The publication was accompanied by a presentation at Palazzo Giureconsulti in Milan, the historic seat of the Chamber of Commerce at which Carlo Sangalli, Francesco Samorè, Fabio Rugge, Massimiano Bucchi, Roberta Garruccio, Ferruccio De Bortoli, Cristina Grasseni and Mauro Magatti all spoke about their experiences of working alongside President Bassetti.

Video of the presentation and various conversations and festivities are available here [24]

Science, society and citizens: suggestions (and hopes) on how to foster RRI in Horizon Europe
This publication, a flash commentary published in the open access Journal of Science Communication, was co-edited by Foundation collaborator Angela Simone with public engagement expert Marzia Mazzonetto. The document is a collection of short commentaries authored by a broad range of contributors from within academia and public policy, all of whom have consolidated experience of working within or alongside European Union funded projects, and with the aim of highlighting the importance of maintaining the central role of the RRI approach in the forthcoming EU framework programme to support EU Research and Innovation (Horizon Europe).
Beyond her co-authorship of the introduction, Simone has also penned the first commentary in the collection, "Steering Research and innovation through RRI. What Horizon For Europe?"

In her commentary, Simone pointed out the Europe could strengthen its role as leader in prioritizing civil and human rights and the needs, values and expectations of its citizens through its steering of science and technology through its continued pursuing and fostering of RRI. She argues this need pointing to the duration and effort (and public money) already invested in RRI to support projects to ground RRI principles and practices in key contexts for the flourishing of science and technology in Europe, such as the industrial realm and regional settings.

This and the other articles address the question of the role of RRI thinking within EU policy in the near future in short well-rounded arguments in an innovative format. The entire publication is available for free download here [25].


The Bassetti foundation participated in many other long-standing projects and collaborations that will run into this and coming years. The ongoing collaboration with the International School in Utrecht [26] (NL) that brings ethics and responsibility in technological development into the classroom, lectures and study grants for participation within the Biccocca University Towards a Bio-based Economy: science, innovation, economics, education [27] Summer School , The Region of Lombardy, Milan Polytechnic, AI4, the UE sponsored ROSIE project [28] and a host of others.

The year will also see the publication of The International Handbook on Responsible Innovation [29] (Edward Elgar Publishers), Edited by Renè von Schomberg and Jonathan Hankins that includes a wide-ranging interview with President Bassetti within a comprehensive collection of authors from across the globe. It will be available in hardback and to download from July.

All at the Bassetti Foundation look forward to sharing this journey with you all.


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  1. 1] /schedabiografica/Redazione FGB
  2. 2] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2018/03/cinque_incontri_sulla_medicina.html
  3. 3] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/tags/medicina%20di%20precisione
  4. 4] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2018/10/universitiamo_la_piattaforma_d.html
  5. 5] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2018/12/building_a_biotech_cluster_a_m.html
  6. 6] https://www.medcityhq.com/
  7. 7] https://cns.asu.edu/viri
  8. 8] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2018/10/viri_2018_a_short_report.html
  9. 9] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2018/10/un_nuovo_anno_con_politecnico_.html
  10. 10] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2017/12/nasce_il_foro_regionale_per_la.html
  11. 11] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2018/03/federica_lucivero_nel_foro_lom.html
  12. 12] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/tags/Journal%20of%20Responsible%20Innovation
  13. 13] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2018/08/responsible_innovation_ethics_.html
  14. 14] http://www.eismd.eu/ai4people/
  15. 15] http://www.eismd.eu/ai4people/partners/
  16. 16] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2018/11/cores_network_seminar.html
  17. 17] http://projectsmartmap.eu/final-meeting/
  18. 18] http://projectsmartmap.eu/results/e-book/
  19. 19] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/segnalazioni/2018/10/smart-map_project_e-book_event.html
  20. 20] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/publications/2018/05/responsibility_driven_design_f.html
  21. 21] http://www.irea.cnr.it/en/
  22. 22] http://doi.irea.cnr.it/scienziati-in-affanno-ricerca-e-innovazione-responsabili-rri-in-teoria-e-nelle-pratiche/
  23. 23] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2018/06/scienziati_in_affanno_un_dialo.html
  24. 24] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2018/12/guardare_oltre_la_presentazion.html
  25. 25] https://jcom.sissa.it/archive/17/03/JCOM_1703_2018_C01
  26. 26] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/en/focus/2018/06/collaboration_with_internation.html
  27. 27] https://www.fondazionebassetti.org/it/focus/2018/07/assegnate_le_borse_di_studio_p.html
  28. 28] https://www.interreg-central.eu/Content.Node/ROSIE.html
  29. 29] https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/international-handbook-on-responsible-innovation
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An overview of 2018
Articles by:  Redazione FGB
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