For a Human-Centered AI

“La bottega della scienza”: Students and Citizens Protagonists of Research

November 16, 2018

The new Alternating School and Work Program project designed by FBK, which aims to conduct research projects based on proposals from citizens officially started with a kick-off meeting

La bottega della scienza“, an innovative participatory research laboratory that involves local citizens, schools and research, has opened its doors at FBK. The project was presented at the FBK offices in via S. Croce on November 14.

The initiative is inspired by the Science shops, organizations that operate in many European universities and research institutions conducting research projects on behalf of citizens with the aim of making them an active part of the scientific research.

“La bottega della scienza” aims to bring this model to the province of Trento, giving the opportunity to Trentino residents to advance ideas and real research proposals based on specific needs or on curiosity. The innovative element, compared to similar initiatives, is the involvement of schools: the students of a number of Trentino-based high schools participating in the Alternating School and Work Program will, in fact, be involved first-hand in the collection of proposals, and above all will be called to carry out research projects based on the most interesting proposals, supervised by researchers from Fondazione Bruno Kessler. The schools involved are the “Marconi” High School in Rovereto, the “Maffei” High School in Riva del Garda and the “Martini” High School in Mezzolombardo.

The initiative is part of the “Cittadini per la scienza-CISA” communication project, hosted by Fondazione Bruno Kessler and funded by the Autonomous Province of Trento as part of the “STAR Communicators of Science” call for proposals.


The launch event – which kicked off with the greetings by Stefano Trainotti, liaison officer for the Alternating School and Work Program of the Knowledge Department of the Autonomous Province of Trento, and Claudia Dolci, head of FBK’s Research and Innovation for Schools Unit (RIS) – started with the presentation of the initiative by Matteo Serra, the project’s coordinator. Next, Franco Bagnoli and Giovanna Pacini, researchers from the University of Florence, went on to show some participatory research initiatives carried out in the Tuscan capital, which hosts one of the few existing Italian “Science shops”.

The kids of the schools involved proved to be very active right from the start, proposing numerous interesting ideas on the spot. These ideas and proposals can be advanced by all citizens by December 31 online by visiting the website

The next step includes a selection of the best proposals by a scientific committee. In February 2019, following an additional selection that will involve the schools directly, the projects that each class will have to carry out (one project for each group) will be selected. The students will work on the projects from March to June and will present the results to citizens after that.

The students will also be asked to write a scientific article on their works. The papers will then be compiled in a text, which will represent the final product of the project.

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