Complexity \ Research for Global Challenges

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


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High-impact and award-winning projects

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

Smart manufacturing for EU Growth

"MAKERS ­-Smart Manufacturing for EU Growth and Prosperity" brings together leaders from business, academia and policy to study issues related to the drivers and dynamics of sustaining the competitiveness of EU manufacturing sectors.
The project’s innovative research, training and mobility activities address key concerns related to the historic opportunity for the EU to lead a manufacturing renaissance that not only upgrades existing manufacturing competences but, more importantly, develops new technological capabilities across EU regions to support regional industrial resilience for more distributed and sustainable socio­economic growth and prosperity.

This project is funded by Horizon 2020 - Research and innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) and is developed at the Ca’ Foscari Economics Department.

Researcher: Mario Volpe
Duration: 01/01/2016 - 31/12/2018

Predicting Tropical Atlantic climate and its impacts

PREFACE - Enhancing prediction of Tropical Atlantic climate and its impacts - is a climate change FP7 project with 28 partners across 18 countries in Europe and Africa, and 3 associate partners directly involved in the sustainable management of the three Eastern boundary large marine ecosystems of the Tropical Atlantic.

Ca’ Foscari leads the work package “Statistical methods to assess and improve forecast of Tropical Atlantic variability (TAV)”.

Researcher: Angelo Rubino
Duration: 01/11/2013 - 31/10/2017

Developing mathematical tools of information and dynamic-systems theories

A consortium of six European partners have joined forces to carry out original research on complex systems through a common project that aims to develop a mathematical theory of complex multilevel systems and their dynamics.
In addition to considering systems with respect to a given level structure, as is natural in certain applications or dictated by available data, the MATHEMACS project (FP7) has the unique goal of identifying additional meaningful levels for understanding multi-level systems.
This is achieved through a general formulation based on the mathematical tools of information and dynamic-systems theories.

Researcher: Massimo Warglien
Duration: 02/10/2012 - 30/09/2015

Linkages and vulnerabilities of the financial system

The FP7 project SYRTO explores the relationships between Sovereigns – Banks and other Financial Intermediaries (BFIs) – Corporations of the European Union the group aims to realize a research center in order to give a formal structure to the mission, objectives and results of the SYRTO project.
This center will use the methodologies developed by the team to produce indicators about the state of the markets, corporates, banks and financial intermediaries, and sovereigns, both through the publication of periodic reports, and through risk indicators.

Researcher: Monica Billio
Duration: 04/05/2013 - 19/02/2016