Research Institute for Complexity

Science of complex economic, human and natural systems

The transdisciplinary study of complex systems offers innovative solutions to outstanding scientific questions and global societal challenges. It requires the work and contributions of mathematicians, computer and data scientists, physicists, linguists, historians, social scientists and researchers in the fields of humanities, economy, ecology and climatology. In complex systems, growth patterns and final structures are not predictable: no design is possible from a priori knowledge but design possibilties are experimented: it requires evolutionary algorithms to optimize complex systems.
Pattern identification
 and the study of dynamic interactions in complex systems allow the development of models and simulation tools that fit stylized facts and can be applied in a variety of fields, ranging from climate projections to the implementation of risk management and mitigation strategies and the understanding of behaviours in socio-economic, and natural  systems.


Advanced and smart materials, Behavioural models, Big data, Climate science, Complex networks, Computational models, Computing, Data mining, Modelling, simulation and forecasting tools, Network modelling, Pattern identification and analysis, Risk assessment, Risk management, Smart cities and, communities, Systemic risk


Achille Giacometti
Carlo Giupponi

Research facilitator

Lara Lamon
Carole Maignan


High-impact and award-winning projects

Monitoring and preventing online hate speech

"IMSyPP – Innovative Monitoring Systems and Prevention Policies of Online Hate Speech" aims to automatically detect hate speech in several languages, to identify triggers, to recommend effective counter narratives, and to propose policies to the European communication regulators. The data will be manually annotated for types of hate speech, and quality carefully controlled. We will develop hate speech models by applying advanced machine learning methods. The models will be deployed in online settings and used to analyze the large amounts of data already collected. This will allow to analyze mechanisms and trends in hate speech, and identify different types of triggers. We will conduct a pilot study on possible counter narratives and develop recommendations.

Researcher: Fabiana Zollo
Duration: 01/03/2020 - 28/02/2022

Optimised personalised drug therapies for renal pathologies in type II diabetes

Diseases, co-morbidities, and patients responses to certain therapies are the result of a complicated interplay of numerous factors. The relationships defining how this intricate network of inputs leads to various outputs is extremely difficult to derive using conventional means. Thanks to Big Data, high-level applied mathematics and computers, the EU-funded DC-ren project (Drug combinations for rewriting trajectories of renal pathologies in type II diabetes) is developing a tool that will take all this and more into account, and enable optimised personalised drug therapies for significantly enhanced outcomes. The team is focusing on diabetic kidney disease, a common co-morbidity of type 2 diabetes often accompanied by cardiovascular disease. Currently, the drug cocktails targeting it produce highly varied responses. Thanks to its vast patient database, advanced experimental techniques and dynamical systems theory, DC-ren is developing a completely new and widely applicable computational framework for decision support.

Researcher: Debora Slanzi
Duration: 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2024

EeMMiP - Energy efficient Mortgage Market Implementation Plan

EeMMIP responds to the objectives of the EU in the areas of sustainable finance and climate change and aims to influence the entire value chain, from consumer to bond investor, stimulating mentality change and securing energy efficiency in market attitudes and best practices both in Europe and globally. The Project conducts an analysis of the current market systems relevant to the development of an EEM market and establishes demonstrators to support the demonstration of the end-to-end customer journey and EEM life-cycle. It will establish market-based governance and an EEM Label to support recognition of and confidence in EEM and facilitate access to quality information for market participants.

Researcher: Monica Billio
Duration: 01/09/2020 - 31/08/2022

Environmental impacts of shipping emissions

The objectives of "EMERGE - Evaluation, control and Mitigation of the EnviRonmental impacts of shippinG Emissions" are to quantify and evaluate the effects of potential emission reduction solutions for shipping in Europe for several scenarios, and to develop effective strategies and measures to reduce the environmental impacts of shipping. EMERGE objectives are achieved through real-world test cases involving measurements and modelling on actual vessels, along main shipping routes and in sensitive European marine regions. EMERGE collects and synthesizes experimental evidence on waste streams to water and emissions to air originating from ships, for different emission control technologies. The measurements will focus on abatement techniques and will include emissions to, and concentrations in water, air and marine biota.

Researcher: Antonio Marcomini
Duration: 01/02/2020 - 31/12/2024

A sustainable, resilient and innovative European aquaculture

"NewTechAqua - New Technologies, Tools and Strategies for a Sustainable, Resilient and Innovative European Aquaculture" intends to expand and diversify EU production of finfish, molluscs and microalgae by developing and validating technologically advanced, resilient and sustainable new solutions. The organizational approach of NewTechAqua is to group the solutions in 6 different categories: feed, Industry 4.0, sustainable farming, genetics, new species and new products. They are validated on conventional (Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, seabass and seabream) and emerging (greater amberjack, meagre, Senegalese sole and grey mullet) finfish species, molluscs (Pacific oyster, mussel) and microalgae.

Researcher: Roberto Pastres
Duration: 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2023

A European AI On Demand Platform and Ecosystem

Artificial Intelligence is a disruptive technology of our times with expected impacts rivalling those of electricity or printing. Resources for innovation are currently dominated by giant tech companies in North America and China. To ensure European independence and leadership, we must invest wisely by bundling, connecting and opening our AI resources. The AI4EU project will efficiently build a comprehensive European AI-on-demand platform to lower barriers to innovation, to boost technology transfer and catalyse the growth of start-ups and SMEs in all sectors through Open calls and other actions. The platform will act as a broker, developer and one-stop shop providing and showcasing services, expertise, algorithms, software frameworks, development tools, components, modules, data, computing resources, prototyping functions and access to funding. Training will enable different user communities (engineers, civic leaders, etc.) to obtain skills and certifications.
It will mobilize the whole European AI ecosystem and already unites 80 partners in 21 countries including researchers, innovators and related talents. Eight industry-driven AI pilots will demonstrate the value of the platform as an innovation tool. In order to enhance the platform, research on five key interconnected AI scientific areas will be carried out using platform technologies and results will be implemented. The AI4EU Ethical Observatory will be established to ensure the respect of human centred AI values and European regulations. Sustainability will be ensured via the creation of the AI4EU Foundation. 

Researcher: Marcello Pelillo
Duration: 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2021

QUality and Effectiveness in Science and Technology communication

Science Communication (SciCom) plays a key role in addressing today’s societal challenges. To be effective, it must be conceived as multi-directional communication, involving scientists, policy-makers, journalists, other communications actors and citizens. On one side, scientists produce research results but are not always equipped to communicate efficiently to the public and to policy-makers. On the other, journalists and other communications actors act as the interface between science, citizens and other audiences, although they may face challenges in fully comprehending the scientific message. Citizens will have a varied perception of the information received but limited knowledge and tools impeding a qualitative assessment. The variety of means of communication existing today makes communications faster and easier, but that increases the complexity of these interactions and the challenge to communicate “sound” science. We also need to consider that much of today SciCom passes through the digital sphere, as the advent of digitalization has changed the way in which information flows and opinions are shaped, also regarding science. Social media are one of the key representatives of these modern means of communication, deserving a special focus.
QUEST aims at facing this challenge with a multi-step approach that will: (1) understand the dynamics of today SciCom (2) design tools to evaluate SciCom quality (3) experiment best practices and proposing innovative ways for SciCom (4) promote SciCom training (5) build an engaging SciCom community. The focus will be on (a) journalism (b) Social media (c) Museums, recognized as having the highest impact in this context. Climate change, vaccines and Artificial Intelligence are used as case studies.

Researchers: Fabiana Zollo, Enrico Costa
Duration: 01/01/2019 - 31/01/2021

Risk Governance of Nanotechnology

Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are covered by REACH/CLP regulations; the general opinion is that the risk assessment (RA) approach routinely used for conventional chemicals is also applicable to ENMs. However, as acknowledged by OECD and ECHA, the OECD and ISO Test Guidelines (TGs) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) need to be verified and adapted to be applicable to ENMs. The project RiskGONE will support the standardization and validation process for ENM by evaluating, optimizing and pre-validating SOPs and TGs and integrating them into a framework for risk governance (RG) of ENMs.

Researcher: Antonio Marcomini
Duration: 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2022

Innovative packaging and display tools for cultural heritage: APACHE

Most cultural heritage objects housed by museums are often stored under unsuitable climate conditions. The project APACHE will develop a cutting edge technology to control and prevent the degradation of such patrimony. It will take advantage of advanced sensing and absorbing materials to control the artifacts’ environment, modeling of artifacts’ degradation and remote control of the works of art stressors to reduce to the lowest possible level the costs actually required by conventional technology for art conservation. On the other hand, new generation of active and intelligent display cases, crates, and storage boxes, will be implemented. Wireless sensing devices will be employed, as well as multiscale models integrated in an open simulation environment will be used to predict the degradation of artifacts.

Researcher: Antonio Marcomini
Duration: 01/01/2019 - 30/06/2022