the National Research Council of Italy (CNR)

CNR Science Communication and Education Unit

The Research Unit Science Communication and Education aims to study and foster research on the relationship between science and society, with particular reference to complex, “in action” science; science education; interaction between research, contextual knowledge and decision making; analysis of factors that affect participation in the scientific debate.

Its main activities are: social studies on the contexts and practices of science communication; design and integration of participation and communication methodologies with schools and other social, scientific and political contexts; social analysis and surveys at local, national and international level on science, innovation and values.

Main projects:

ETHICS & POLEMICS, aimed at promoting public debates among secondary school students, lifelong learning people and experts on the critical, ethical and interdisciplinary components of “in action” science, and following the knowledge conversion processes. Includes surveys on attitudes toward science. Main Partners: Italian CNR, British Council, Schools and the Science Academy.

BIOHEAD, aimed at identifying implicit values underlying science education by means of textbook and curricula analysis, and surveys among in service and in training teachers. Main Partners: Research Centres, Universities and Institutions from 19 European, Mediterranean and South Eastern Countries.

REPOPA, aimed to integrating scientific research knowledge, expert know-how and the real world policy making processes to increase synergy and sustainability in promoting health, by means of innovative methodologies of qualitative analysis and participation. Main Partners: Research Centres and Universities from 7 European and North American Countries.

Other Research Unit activities relate to the theory and the patterns of science communication among scientists and between scientists and general and specific publics. Surveys include most Research Centres and Universities at National level.

Representative responsible for the SCE Unit: Adriana Valente


Key personnel


Adriana Valente

Adriana Valente, degree cum Laude in Law and degree magna cum laude in Social Communications, is senior researcher at the IRPPS-CNR and responsible for the CNR Research Unit “Science Communication and Education”, that includes National and International projects in the fields of science and society, participation and science education, relationships between research and policy, epistemology and sociology of science. Contract professor in several Universities (Roma “La Sapienza”, Roma “Lumsa”, Napoli “IUN”, Macerata).  Author and editor of several scientific publications, among others: Sharing Science: researchers’ ideas and practices of public comm-unication, Scienza Express, 2011.  Science: perception and participation, Biblink, 2009.

Tommaso Castellani

Tommaso Castellani, degree cum Laude and Ph.D. in Physics, works in the CNR Research Team “Science communication and Education” of IRPPS-CNR. His research interests are inquiry-based science education, sociology of science and science communication.  He participated in many national and international projects on science communication and education, also as a coordinator.  He works as science communicator for a popular science TV program of Italian National TV (RAI).  He was involved in the SciCafé project as leader of Rome Science Cafés.


IRPPS Social Informatics and Computing Unit

The evolution of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the pervasive use of new devices enable a wide access of data and information by the population, and an effective use of new services. In this scenario the emerging technologies have to be developed taking into account that they will be used by a very heterogeneous group of people taking into consideration their social, cultural and technological features. The SIC Unit carries out studies and research on the dynamic influences of the evolution of ICTs and changes in Society. The aim of this research is to:

Produce theoretical and technological innovation for reducing the population digital divide, improving the availability and access to services, information and knowledge using ICTs.

Analyse the impact of the emerging technologies on people, and their expectations in terms of evolution and perspectives of technologies.

CNR-SIC actively participate and coordinate national and European projects. The project CHAT funded by the Italian Ministry of Research was involved in the design and development of a multimodal Human Computer Interaction S/W, in the FP6 programme, in the CRUE-ERANET programme and in the MED programme including methods and software modules for knowledge management and sharing in virtual communities and on-line platforms were realised designing and developing on-line tools for resources and knowledge sharing, communication and participation using social networks.

Representative responsible for the SIC Unit: Patrizia Grifoni


Key personnel


Fernando Ferri

Fernando Ferri received a degree in Electronic Engineering in 1990 and his Ph.D. in Medical Informatics at the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 1993. He has been a senior researcher of the National Research Council of Italy since 2001. He was a researcher from 1990 to 2001 and a contract professor from 1993 to 2000 of “Sistemi di Elaborazione” at the University of Macerata. He is author of more than 170 papers on international journals, books and conferences. Fernando has coordinated and participated in several national and international research projects. He has organised several international events (Scientific conferences and workshops). His main research areas of interest are: Social Informatics, social computing, Data and Knowledge Bases, Human-Machine Interaction, User-machine natural interaction, User Modelling, Visual Interaction, Sketch based interfaces, Geographic Information Systems, Risk Management and Medical Informatics.


Patrizia Grifoni

Patrizia Grifoni received a degree in Electronic Engineering in 1990 at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. She has been a researcher at the Institute of Research on Population and Social Policies of the National Research Council of Italy since 1990. She was a contract professor from 1993 to 2000 of “Image processing” at the University of Macerata. She is author of more than 140 papers on international journals, books and conferences and is leading and participating in several national and international research projects. She has experience in organising several international scientific workshops (MONET, MIMIC, M2AS, and MAPS); Patricia is a member of Program Committees of International workshops and Conferences, and a member of the editorial board of some international journals. Her main research areas of interest are: Social informatics, Social computing, Human-Machine Interaction, Multimodal interaction, Sketch based interfaces, Multimedia applications, User Modelling, Data and Knowledge Bases, Geographic Information Systems, Risk Management, Web 2.0, Internet of the future, GIS, Social Networks.