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This university department assists and coordinates individuals involved in research activity and teaching, and is responsible for research activity in sectors linked by content and method or by goals, as well as the development of skills for corresponding teaching activity.  

The Department for Sustainable Development and Ecological Transition (DiSSTE) pursues research in various fields related to sustainable development as set out in the United Nations 2030 Agenda ( It promotes interdisciplinary research aimed at identifying and developing models that allow the evaluation of the impact of different private and public actions and behaviours on the sustainability of territorial systems, producing useful knowledge for those who have to develop strategies and policies that promote the ecological transition.

DiSSTE researchers belong to various fields: scientific (biological, chemical, ecological, geophysical, medical) legal, economic and humanistic disciplines. Basic research is accompanied by extensive applied research activity, also developed in collaboration with local, national and international companies, aimed at sharing knowledge and good practices.

Research Topics

The theme of impact analysis is developed through research topics that address different aspects. Here are a few examples of issues that DiSSTE research sets out to tackle, accompanied by an outline of the UN goals for sustainable development that are involved:

  • History and crises (SDG 3, 6, 15). What impact have the great crises that humanity has experienced, from economics to epidemics, had and what can we learn and use from them for today's crisis management?
  • What impact do transition processes have on public institutions, in terms of the simplification and digitisation of procedures, the reduction of corruption phenomena, and the speed and efficiency of justice systems? (SDG 16,17).
  • Climate change and health (SDG 3, 13). What impact do extreme events caused by climate change have on the health of the population, in particular on the most vulnerable people? What can be effective risk mitigation and reduction measures? What role will telemedicine play?
  • Food, ecology and biodiversity (SDG 2, 3, 12, 13). What is the impact of healthy food choices on the environment, and biodiversity? What influence can biodiversity policies have on the availability of health food and on other aspects such as the landscape and factors that determine climate change?
  • Energy and environmental policies, health and sustainable cities (SDG 3, 7, 11, 13). Which technologies, materials and energy and environmental policy decisions ensure the best impact on the environment, sustainability, economy, society and health? What effects can they have on the livability of environments? What are the most appropriate legal instruments to pursue political choices? How can consensus of the population be promoted?
  • Health and mobility policies (SDG 3, 11,12,15,17). What impact can possible mobility policies aimed at sustainability have on the transport industry, taking into account the economic, social and quality of life effects?
  • Climate change and population (SDG 3, 11, 12, 13). How should we respond to demands of the population arising from climate change? Migration, depopulation of inner lands, and urban overpopulation create new environmental and socio-economic demands which require action with suitable legislative measures.
  • Mobility Policies (SDG 3, 11,12,15,17) what impact can possible mobility policies aimed at sustainability have on the transport industry, taking into account the economic, social and quality of life effects?  
  • The response to extreme events (SDG 3, 13, 16, 17). How should we tackle the increasingly frequent extreme events linked to climate change and other natural/human factors?. Which decision-making processes and reactions should be made in health and civil protection sectors to respond effectively? What role does international coordination play?
  • Circular economy, prevention and minimisation of waste and secondary raw materials (SDG 3, 6, 7, 9, 12). Which strategies can mitigate the problems caused by production of waste and which new materials, processes and technologies could reduce the quantities produced, recover secondary raw materials, mitigate or eliminate harmful effects on the environment and ecosystems, and promote green processes based on renewable raw materials? What economic, legal and scientific tools, and which political and social choices, could have the greatest impact for the industrial consolidation of these processes?
  • Materials, processes and strategies for the green economy (SDG 7, 9, 12,13). Which processes for the production of energy, goods and services can lead to minimisation of the environmental impact and increase efficiency? Which materials, processes, and technologies can drive the green turn?
  • Logistics and transport (SDG 9, 11). Which mathematical models and algorithms can minimise operating costs and environmental impact related to logistics and transport?

Communicating the ecological transition (SDG 5, 14, 10, 16). Which forms of communication are best to promote eco-friendly and socially sustainable choices, encouraging citizens to absorb the economic and social costs of the ecological transition, and promoting best practices while combatting fake information in all its forms?