Meet the Team – Interview with Giovanna Grossi from the University of Brescia, Italy

Meet Giovanna Grossi, Associate Professor in Hydraulic Structures at the University of Brescia in Italy talking about their involvement in the SciShops project.

Q: Firstly, tell us a bit about the University of Brescia’s involvement in the SciShops project.

This was the result of my expression of interest in participating in project proposals in the European framework of the call ‘Science with and for society’. As I read about those calls, I thought I would have liked to contribute in developing projects aiming at connecting water science and society. So I was very happy when I was asked to be a partner in the SciShops proposal and even more when I learnt that the proposal was successful!

The tasks assigned to the University of Brescia have dealt mainly with strategy development relating to the new Science Shops and setting up WatShop, a new Science Shop focusing on the sustainable water resources management, control and consumption in a changing climate. You can read more about WatShop in our online profile.  


Q: What has the response been from local civil society in Italy to the establishment of your new Science Shop – WatShop?

For the events that we have organised so far, feedback from the participants (citizens, stakeholders etc) has been very positive and many are keen to plan more events in the future. What we are still missing is citizens taking the first step to express their interest in a specific project, although they are very happy to be involved in (citizen science) projects suggested by us. 


Q: Tell us a bit about the recent SciShops symposium, which was hosted by the University of Brescia.

Hosting the SciShops Symposium was a great experience for all our staff! It was challenging but also very gratifying: welcoming about a hundred people coming from other countries in Europe and beyond, verifying their real interest in the activities of the SciShops project and our new  Science Shops. Seeing them so active and deeply involved in the Symposium sessions was much more than I initially expected. I think it has been an excellent opportunity for the whole consortium to assess the project achievements and pave the way for future networking and cooperation opportunities.


Q: What have you personally gained / found most interesting from participating in the SciShops project?

During the last few years of my research and teaching activity, I have been trying to promote an interdisciplinary approach as an added value both in thesis and research projects. SciShops has given me a chance to actually prove the potential of this approach and further promote it for future activities. 


Q: Now the SciShops project is coming to an end, what are your hopes and expectations for the legacy of the project?

My hope is that the Science Shop network will further grow, encouraging new initiatives both at the national and at the international level. The high level of the outputs of the project is providing an excellent background for future cooperation aimed at supporting participatory research as a means of social innovation in many different fields. 

I have also recently been involved in the launch of an Italian network of Science Shops, so am looking forward to collaborating and sharing experiences more with other Italian Science Shops too.