Preparing a COST Action proposal on DSI in the European cities

DIGGEO@ESOMAS has recently received a UniTo – MUR Grant for Internationalisation for a proposal titled “Preparing a COST Action proposal on DSI in the European cities” – we are ready to start working in February 2023!

The project is intended to feed basic research and boost international dimension and attractiveness of UniTo by leading the consolidation and further expansion of a wide international networks of academic and high-level research institutions (including strategic partners from UNITA). About 22 universities and research institutions from all over Europe agreed to partner with us. Envisaged collaboration is directed toward the elaboration and submission of a COST Action proposal. COST Actions are pan-European intergovernmental frameworks aimed at creating open networks of excellence in all scientific fields to internationalise the scientific community and to achieve breakthroughs in science and technology by bridging different research communities, disciplines, fields and methodologies. The project and the subsequent COST Action proposal focus on the effects of Digitally Social Innovation (hereafter DSI) in the urban contexts.

DSI Initiatives encompass heterogeneous collaborative innovation practices in which communities of innovators adopt digital technologies to advance knowledge and solutions for a wide range of social needs. Being their consequences particularly felt in cities, the COST Action proposal interrogates how changes in the digital dimension modify the organisation, understanding, and functioning of society in multiple spatial dimensions, with special attention devoted to the agency of innovator communities. The project is lead by Chiara Certomà (UniTo) and has been elaborated in collaboration with Venere Sanna (University of Siena).

The UniTo team includes: Paolo Giaccaria, Samantha Cenere, Luis Martin Sanchez, Guido Boella, Claudio Schifanella, Cristina Viano.

Thanks to the networking of international experts and disciplinary competence cross-fertilisation, the project is intended to achieve the following objectives:

  1. to network top-level scholars from COST European members countries, including scientists working in COST Near Neighbour Countries,  to collaboratively elaborate a successful proposal (by consolidating and expanding the existing partnerships) to promote transdisciplinary dialogue and competences exchange;
  2. to lead and coordinate collaborative and preliminary review of existing research and to elaborate a geographical analytic framework of DSI initiatives in European cities, which will provide a solid and shared base to build the COST proposal upon. This preliminary work includes: (i) a review and critical analysis of international scholarly and grey literature on DSI to describe their key characters; (ii) a systematic web mining to scrape the web and retrieve data on existing DSI initiatives categorised based on approach, topic and practices;
  3. to coordinate the preliminary scientific meetings, training events and the writing process toward COST proposal submission;
  4. to increase the internationalisation of UniTo university by acting as leading partner of a large COST Action proposal.

To achieve a breakthrough the COST Action proposal elaborated during the project will adopt a novel mixed-method approach, entailing a combination of online and offline data collection techniques, data analysis techniques, and critical interpretation processes. In terms of scientific impacts, the COST Action will contribute to understanding and governing the vanguard of socio-technical innovation in contemporary cities.

A dedicated research position has been advertised (DEADLINE 22nd of December 2022).


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