Pubblicazioni scientifiche


Who is afraid of science?


Public engagement with scientific research is one possible strategy to cope with the challenge of poor public understanding of science, nowadays a hot topic because of the pandemia.

The issue, and a case study, are explored by Marta Ugolini, Fabio Cassia and Nicola Cobelli in a forthcoming book chapter to be published by Palgrave Mc Millan.
The authors consider a case study of University of Verona’s public engagement through an event, Kidsuniversity Verona. In Italy public engagement development is recent and still there are not many good practices.

KidsUniversity represents a bridge between academic research and local families, through the involvment of children, teen agers and their parents and teachers in initiatives of scientific dissemination. During a week in september, many workshops in the different scientific fields studied at the University of Verona are specifically organized for “kids”, aged from 8 to 13. Workshops and shows, exibitions, talks take place not only at the University venue, but also in the town.
Kidsuniversity was a successful event, with 5 editions as from 2015 to 2019 and approx 2.000 participants each year. It was introduced in Italy by the University of Verona and then adopted by other Universities.

In the book chapter, the authors explain the aim and the format of the event and identify the internal and external networks that are activated to create each year an attractive programme, yet fit with the purpose. The authors also reflect about the success of Kidsuniversity, its sustainability and its replicability. Considerations about the measurement of the impact of the event are also presented.

The entire book where the chapter belongs is titled: Re-envisioning Higher Education’s Public Mission. Global Perspectives. The book is edited by Antigoni Papadimitriou of Western Kentucky University and Marius Boboc. Il will be available in february 2021.

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The Authors

Marta Ugolini is full professor of Management at the Department of Business Administration, University of Verona, Italy. From 2016 to 2019 she acted as the Rector’s Delegate for communication and she was in charge with public engagement strategic planning and control. She is editor in chief of Sinergie, Italian Journal of Management. Her research interest are in marketing and in services management.

Fabio Cassia is an Associate Professor of Management at the University of Verona (Italy), where he is in charge for the Quality Assurance of a Master’s degree. His main research interests include: service quality and marketing, hospitality and tourism management, business-to-business marketing and branding, international business development. He is member of the Editorial Committee of Sinergie Italian Journal of Management, of the Editorial Review Board of The TQM Journal and of the Review of International Business and Strategy.

Nicola Cobelli is Assistant Professor of Business Management at the Department of Business Administration, University of Verona (Italy). He is member of the Editorial Committee of Sinergie Italian Journal of Management. His main research areas are in the field of: Enterprise 4.0; Retail Management; Destination Management; Servitization e Value Co-Creation in B2B and B2C. His main publications are in international journals.


Public Engagement, Children, and the Pleasure of Knowledge: the experience of Kidsuniversity Verona

Ugolini Cassia Cobelli

In Italy, only a few universities have established significative community engagement practices. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a better understanding of the community engagement in Italy using the University of Verona as a case study. An initiative of scientific dissemination is analyzed, i.e. Kidsuniversity. It is a hallmark event targeted to primary and middle school children and their families. The study intends to explore the critical success factors of Kidsuniversity, their sustainability over time and the areas of improvement. The results confirm the importance of selecting a capable co-organizer and the involvement of the faculty as key success factors. Also relevant to ensure effective community engagement are collaborations with the school system, openness to local partners and the ability to ensure customer satisfaction. Even if some limits remain, Kidsuniversity has paved the way to open up the university to its community and to enhance trust in scientific research.