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Launching the first Italian PhD in Sustainable Development and Climate Change with IUSS


November 24, 2021

In response to the rising attention towards sustainability and the UN Agenda 2030, Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS Pavia recently launched the first Italian PhD program in Sustainable Development and Climate Change (SDCC). Enel Foundation will be Knowledge Partner of this exciting new education venture that will be launched at the kickoff event on November 24. More than 100 international students have been selected, and more than 150 professors from 30 Italian Universities are involved in training and conducting research activities.

In collaboration with the Center for Climate Change studies and Sustainable Actions (3CSA) of the “Scuole Superiori Federate” (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna di Pisa and IUSS) and with the support of the Italian University Network for Sustainable Development (RUS), the PhD-SDCC aims to foster research on the main challenges currently faced by humanity. In order to properly tackle the issues related to climate change and the necessary pathways to reach the goals set by the United Nations in the 2030 Agenda, the new program is highly innovative and takes a polyhedral approach to the subjects under study. The 6 curricula are: Earth System and Environment, Socio-economic risks and impacts, Technology and Territory, Theories, Institution, Cultures, Agriculture and Forestry, Health and Ecosystem.

Research activities will be organized on three levels. The first will be a transdisciplinary training on the core topics of the PhD and on a set of transferable skills (Career Development, Cognitive, Communication, Digital, Enterprise, Interpersonal, Mobility, Research, Teaching, and Supervision); the second will allow a deeper dive into the subject of specialization; and lastly there will be a final focus on each research project. The combination of these levels will provide students with all the necessary tools to gain a broad perspective of the consequences of climate change and the opportunities that are linked to a sustainable development.

“Today’s choices will determine the future of our children and grandchildren,” commented Riccardo Pietrabissa, Magnifico Rettore of Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS. “This new PhD Program offers an extraordinary chance to experiment on a large scale the formation of a new leading class that will have a wide vision on the risks and opportunities brought by the progress towards the achievement of the goals of the 2030 Agenda.”

Enel Foundation’s contribution will be focused on the scientific contents of the syllabi together with case history studies, thematic seminars, research presentations on sustainable development and climate change, and our researchers will support joint research theses. The event will be attended, in addition to the consortium universities, by the Ministry of University and Research, the Network of Universities for Sustainability and the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS).

The spokesman of ASviS, Pierluigi Stefanini, will focus on the challenges of sustainable development in university education, while Carlo Papa, Managing Director of Enel Foundation, will highlight the challenges for socio-economic systems caused by climate change and the opportunities for sustainable development, recalling the contribution of knowledge that the Enel Foundation will make available to the PhD program to support multidisciplinary scientific research and socio-industrial innovation.

The 30 Universities that will contribute to this PhD are Bari (Università and Politecnico), Brescia (Cattolica), Cagliari, Cassino, Ferrara, Firenze, Genova, L’Aquila, Messina, Milano (Cattolica, Politecnico, Università), Modena and Reggio Emilia, Padova, Pavia (IUSS, Università), Pisa (Normale, Sant’Anna, Università), Reggio Calabria, Sassari, Siena, Torino (Politecnico, Università), Trento, Trieste, Urbino, Venezia (Ca Foscari), Varese (Insubria).


November 24, 2021 – 16:00-18:00

Sede dell’Accademia dei Lincei, Palazzo Corsini, via della Lungara 10, and online



16:00 – 16:30    Welcome coffee and registration

16:30 – 16:40    Greatings from the Presidency of the Accademia dei Lincei

16:40 – 16:50    Greeting from the Rector of the IUSS School, administrative seat of the national doctorate - Prof. Riccardo Pietrabissa, Rector, IUSS Pavia

 16:50 – 17:00   The doctorate in the context of the national research plan and the recovery and resilience plan - Prof. Cristina Messa, Minister of University and Research

17:00 – 17:15    The program and the organizational model of the doctorate - Prof. Mario Martina, Coordinator of the Doctorate

17:15 – 17:30    The challenges of sustainability and climate change for scientific research - Prof. Roberto Buizza, Director of 3CSA

 17:30 – 17:35   The support of the RUS to the National Doctorate - Prof. Patrizia Lombardi, President of the RUS

17:35 – 17:40    The support of ASviS to the National Doctorate - Pierluigi Stefanini, ASviS Spokesperson

17:40 – 17:50    The challenges for companies and the support to the National Doctorate - Dr. Carlo Papa, Managing Director Enel Foundation

 17:50 – 18:00   Closing remarks



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