Research interests are located at the intersection of three main themes: a) risk, uncertainty, environmental change and sustainability; b) the impacts of scientific advancement and technological innovation; c) conflict, participation, deliberative democracy, the public sphere and the transformation of governance. These issues are explored both empirically and in their implications for social theory.
He has a long experience as program and unit coordinator or senior researcher in national (e.g. PRIN) and international projects (e.g. European Commission’s FP IV, V, VI, VII and Interreg programs) on issues related to environment, technology, innovation, social conflicts, expertise, governance and public participation (GMOs, electromagnetic fields, food risk, chemical, nuclear and natural hazards, energy, waste, territorial and urban policies, ecotourism etc.). He has worked with organizations and bodies such as WHO, ENEL, SNAM, EC-JRC, regional governments and local administrations.
In recent years he has been committed to elaborating on the major process of change begun in the 1970s, a crucial part of which concerns ‘nature’, ‘human nature’, new and emerging techno-sciences, environmental challenges and socio-political and economic transformations. This research program, which aims at understanding the major underpinnings and implications of this process (for society and social theory as well), has led to date to a book editorship, some book chapters and journal articles and a book.
In recent years he has been as well engaged in elaborating on the issue of responsibility and expertise in the governance of the environment and techno-scientific innovation, and is presently working on socio-technical imaginaries, anticipations and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). In this context he has organized a dedicated session at the First International Conference on Anticipation (Trento, 5-7 November 2015). In regard to climate change, he is co-author of the widely cited article ‘Changing the intellectual climate’ (published in 2014 in Nature Climate Change), on the need to overcome narrow conceptions of and approaches to the ‘human dimensions’ of climate change towards a more broad-based, integrated knowledge, building on an extensive, pluralistic dialogue between ‘hard’ sciences and social sciences and humanities. He is presently working as well on the themes of practice-oriented social mobilizations and emergent forms of ‘commoning’, with some publications in preparation.
Research projects (selection)
2014-16 Advisory board member, project ‘SEFIRA – Socio-economic implications for individual responses to air pollution policies’, European Commission VII Framework Programme.
2013-15 Research unit member, project ‘Sustainable everyday practices in the context of crisis in Italy: toward the integration of work, consumption and participation’, Sub-project ‘Green energy practices’, MIUR, Prin.
2010-12 Research unit coordinator, project ‘The quality of deliberation, MIUR, Prin 2008.
2009-12 Senior researcher, project ‘Social Capacity Building for Natural Hazards: Towards More Resilient Societies’, European Commission, VII Framework Programme.
2007-09 National coordinator, project ‘Expertise, institutions and citizens in environmental conflicts’, MIUR, Prin 2006.
2008 Project supervisor and rapporteur, project ‘Health Impact Assessment, Methods and Strategies’, World Health Organization.
2006-08 Senior researcher, project ‘Riskbridge. Building robust integrative interdisciplinary governance models for emerging and existing risks’, European Commission, VI Framework Programme.
2005-07 Senior researcher, Forum of Peace and War Problems, Florence University, project ‘Values and principles in the EU’s foreign policy’, European Commission, VI Framework Programme.
2005-06 Research unit coordinator, project ‘Mahldenet-Mare Adriaticum local democracy network’, European Commission, Interreg IIIA Programme.
2005-06 Research unit coordinator, project ‘An inquiry into some core problems of public deliberation’, MIUR, Prin 2004.
2003-05 Senior researcher, project ‘TRUST-Food risk communication and consumers’ trust in the food supply chain’, European Commission, Quality of Life Programme.
2003-04 Research unit coordinator, project ‘New deliberative paradigms to face uncertainty of ill-structured problems’, MIUR, Cofin 2002.
1998-00 Senior researcher, project ‘PABE-Public perception of agricultural biotechnologies in Europe’, European Commission, FAIR-ELSA Programme.
1998-00 Adviser, project ‘The relationship between competitiveness, environmental performance and management of small and medium sized European manufacturing firms (SMEs)’, European Commission, Environment and Climate Programme.
1996-98 Senior researcher, project ‘PRISP-‘Public risk perception and European Union environmental policy’, European Commission, Environment and Climate Programme.
1993 Project coordinator, project ‘Major hazards, land use planning and participation’, European Commission, JRC.