Innovation characterized the first Chile-Italy Academic Forum held in Concepción

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Academic authorities and researchers participated in this binational meeting organized jointly by the Universities of Concepción, Chile and Católica, sharing research with their counterparts from 10 Italian universities.

Food and health; environment and socio-natural disaster; design, art and heritage; and social sciences and humanities, are the topics that brought together university authorities and researchers in the first Chile-Italy Academic Forum, at the University of Concepción, on May 22nd and 23rd.

In the framework of its centenary, Universidad de Concepción, along with Universidad de Chile and Universidad Católica, organized this meeting in which Universidad Andrés Bello and several regional study houses participate: from Playa Ancha, Austral de Chile and Aysén. On the part of the Italian institutions, there are: Polytechnic of Milan, University of Bologna, Messina, Naples, Genoa, Politecnico di Torino, University of Pegaso, Sapienza University of Rome, University of Basilicata, Camerino and Trento. In addition to the support of the embassies of both countries.

President of Universidad de Concepción, Carlos Saavedra, began the opening ceremony, welcoming the attendees. He was followed by President Ignacio Sánchez, who revealed the long-standing relationship we have with Italy, as a country and from academia. “For UC, this is a great opportunity to increase our collaboration. We currently have agreements with more than twenty Italian universities, more than 500 Italian students have had academic exchanges with us and we have more than 500 collaborative publications.” Likewise, he emphasized the joint work with Universidad de Chile and Universidad de Concepción, to achieve this academic meeting that allows the generation of new knowledge at the service of both countries.

“In the context of this meeting, remember that Italy was a country that had a tremendous migration to Chile and South America. Today when immigration is a very important problem in our country, in Europe, in Italy, this is an invitation to think about this issue from a humanist perspective, from a frame in which we remember the best of the contribution of both countries to the world,” said Universidad de Chile President, Ennio Vivaldi, who received the Order of Merit from the Italian Republic from the hands of from Ambassador Mauro Battocchi. Likewise, the diplomatic representative delved into the challenges of Chile and Italy in the midst of the current technological irruption.

At the opening ceremony, the representative of the Politecnico di Torino, Alberto Godio, stressed that this is an “opportunity to cooperate and consolidate in the field of mobility at all levels between universities”. Donatella Strangio, on behalf of the Sapienza Università di Roma, expressed her interest in advancing in the internationalization process, and increasing the possibilities of collaboration and student mobility. From Rome, the Chilean Ambassador, Sergio Romero, greeted the Forum participants – “a milestone for Chile and Italy relations” – stating that it “formalizes a network that will allow us to build important ties so that our countries can together face the challenges of the future ”.

Joint work

During the two meeting days, the researchers met in thematic workshops, where they shared their projects and lines of research, and delved into areas and topics of joint work. For example, the academic from UC José Allard School of Design, says that among the issues that emerged for a possible joint work are digital manufacturing and how to innovate in the public sector from design. Claudia Catalani from the Material Experience Lab, from the Milan Polytechnic, adds that another interesting line of research is the innovation and experimentation of materials based on waste.

For her part, professor of the Faculty of Letters, Macarena Areco, revealed the need to position the social sciences, especially the issues that challenge us as a society today, such as migration. On the other hand, Professor of Engineering, José Miguel Aguilera, says that among the investigations addressed are the “new” foods, production chains, and how to preserve the quality and nutrients of products through bioprocesses.

The links and exchanges that take place in these spaces are of great value and tremendously fruitful, since they generate synergies, questions and ideas, financing possibilities, exchange of academics and postgraduate students, and opportunities for joint work and new research, which otherwise they would hardly be possible. There are several forums that UC has organized and participated in, within the framework of the Internationalization Agreement of the Ministry of Education, among them, with Japan, Sweden, France and universities of the Pacific Alliance.

As the academic from the Institute of History, Claudio Rolle, on behalf of the UC, concluded, “we have learned to listen to each other in different languages, with different accents and also with varied disciplinary views, which stimulate the ability to wonder and think together at work, between Italians and Chileans to better serve our societies from our skills and knowledge”. The next meeting is expected to take place in Italy in 2021, to take the next step in this collaboration.

The Forum in images:

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