DiSSTE develops research on the impact of individual, collective and political activities, events and choices on the well-being of people as part of a physical-social environment, and the study of possible strategies for prevention and harm reduction1 .
Research at DISSTE in three words: impact, multidisciplinarity and sharing
- Social impact: the research developed by DISSTE aims to exert a significant influence on society, producing useful knowledge for those who have to build strategies and policies that promote sustainability.
- Multidisciplinarity: DISSTE was created with a multidisciplinary nature, in accordance with the strategic plan of the University. Scholars from different fields, acclaimed nationally and internationally as experts in their discipline, are committed to pursuing those multidisciplinary projects that research institutions and society now recognise as necessary in addressing the problems of sustainability.
- Sharing: in line with the previous points, the organisation of research must be based on sharing, not only of knowledge but also of spaces that guarantee the encounter between researchers, students and stakeholders.
The theme of impact analysis is developed in a multidisciplinary and plural way through research topics that address different aspects.
Here are a few examples, with a significant indication 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.
- Study of the impact of transition processes on public institutions, with reference to 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 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 will be the likely consequences of these measures on the economic and social well-being of the populations most at risk?
- 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?
- Circular economy, prevention and minimisation of waste and secondary raw materials (SDG 3, 6, 7, 9, 12). Which new strategies to mitigate the production of waste and which new materials, processes and technologies could have the greatest impact on the issues related to the context of civil and industrial waste and by-products currently of little use to 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 are the most relevant issues, what innovations can be developed in processes and products, what economic, legal and scientific tools could have the greatest impact for the industrial consolidation of these processes, which political and social choices?
- 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? What scientific knowledge needs to be developed for this sector; which processes, technologies and materials can drive the green turnaround, what economic and social models, and how can we enhance the workforce, and pursue man-machine integration?
- Logistics and transport (SDG 9, 11). Mathematical models and algorithms to minimise operating costs and environmental impact related to logistics and transport.
1By ‘analysis’ we mean a qualitative-quantitative examination of the phenomenon conducted with the methodologically most suitable tools for the various study disciplines. The activities considered are those of an economic-industrial type (production of goods and services) connected to primary needs (nutrition, housing, health) and to individual and collective social and cultural needs which impact, in environmental and economic terms, on the resources of the planet and ecosystems. Events include meteorological phenomena, environmental pollution, events related to environmental degradation, hydrogeological instability, loss of biodiversity, fires. Socio-economic and cultural phenomena are also events, such as economic and political crises, migratory phenomena and massive disinformation campaigns. Individual choices concern present, past and future behaviours and lifestyles, which have a direct or indirect effect on the physical and/or social environment and on the resources and opportunities for future generations. Collective and political choices are the public and collective expression of individual choices, which can emerge from more or less informal groups (from volunteering, to interest groups and active citizens, to the third sector) or through representative instruments of the political sphere (public administrators at various levels), regulatory (authorities at national and European level) and of economic interest (trade associations). Well-being is the condition/ability of the individual to feel at ease in the environment in which he/she finds himself, adapting to the change in the socio-environmental context with a conscious and inclusive approach and a resilient and, at the same time, proactive attitude. The person is considered in all phases of life, as a member of a community and bearer of psycho-physical, economic and cultural needs, but also of responsibility for one's own actions. Prevention and reduction strategies embrace all the intervention methods that can be implemented through basic and applied scientific research, the implementation of technical and production, managerial and political choices, the adoption of regulatory instruments and the involvement of community.