Projects \ Research for Global Challenges

Ca' Foscari researchers take part in a number of strategic projects of relevance.
This section presents all on-going projects related to Ca' Foscari's Global Challenges. To  discover the past projects, please visit the Archive.

BIORIMA- BIOmaterial RIsk MAnagement

The project BIORIMA aims to develop an integrated risk management (IRM) framework for nano-biomaterials (NBM) used in Advanced Therapeutic Medicinal Products (ATMP) and Medical Devices (MD). The BIORIMA RM framework is a structure upon which the validated tools and methods for materials, exposure,hazard and risk identification/assessment and management are allocated plus a rationale for selecting and using them to manage and reduce the risk for specific NBM used in ATMP and MD. BIORIMA will deliver a web-based Decision Support System to help users, especially SME, evaluate the risk/benefit profile of their NBM products and help to shorten the time to market for NBM products.

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Researcher: Antonio Marcomini
Duration: 01/11/2017 - 31/10/2021

Restoration of dune habitats in Natura 2000 sites of the Veneto coast

Despite their valuable attributes for both human society and nature, dune ecosystems share a history of exploitation and mismanagement. Environmental problems associated with coastal misuse include loss of natural habitats and loss of the natural pattern of landscape, alien species spread, threats to native species, and decreased resilience of plant communities. Tourism is nowadays considered one of the principal cause of degradation, in particular intense tourism pressure coupled with a general lack of ecological consciousness of the value of these ecosystems may compromise not only the natural value and the ecological functionality of these systems, but also the quality of the recreational experience itself, raising the issues of environmental management and sustainable use. In light of this, the general purpose of this project is to re-establish and maintain over time the ecological integrity of habitats 2IIO|2L2O, 2130*, 2250* e 227 0+ and of Stipa veneta* populations, as a means to guarantee the ecological functioning of the entire coastal dune mosaic, in 4 Natura 2000 sites of the North Adriatic coastline, making use of an ecosystem approach that considers all ecosystem components (e.9. human activities, habitats and species, and physical processes) and applies well developed methods. 

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Researcher: Gabriella Buffa
Duration: 01/09/2017 - 31/03/2022

Preserving European Deaf Signing Communities

The project SIGN‐HUB ‐ Preserving, Researching and Fostering the Linguistic, Historical and Cultural Heritage of European Deaf Signing Communities with an Integral Resource ‐ aims to provide the first comprehensive response to the societal and scientific challenge resulting from generalized neglect of the cultural and linguistic identity of signing Deaf communities in Europe.
This Horizon 2020 project will provide an innovative and inclusive resource hub for the linguistic, historical and cultural documentation of the Deaf communities' heritage and for sign language assessment in clinical intervention and school settings.
To this end, it will create an open state‐of‐the‐art digital platform with customized accessible interfaces.

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Researcher: Chiara Branchini

Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe

The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe SHARE is a multidisciplinary and cross‐national panel database of micro data on health, socio‐economic status and social and family networks of approximately 123,000 individuals (more than 293,000 interviews) from 20 European countries (+Israel) aged 50 or older.

Synergies for Europe’s Research Infrastructures in the Social Sciences SERISS, aims to equip Europe’s social science data infrastructures to play a major role in addressing the key societal challenges facing Europe today and ensure that national and European policymaking is built on a solid base of the highest‐quality socio‐economic evidence.

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Researcher: Agar Brugiavini

Green Organic Agents for Sustainable Tanneries

Leather manufacturing is classified as water, energy and waste intensive and, according to European Directive 96/61EC, is considered to be an activity demanding for integrated prevention and control of pollution. Tannery effluents, if not properly treated, cause significant damage to soil and water bodies. Environmental concern clearly emerges from the European IPPC Bureau report 2013: at present over 85w% of the world leather production is chrome tanned and only 20-25w% of raw bovine hides processed are transformed in final leather goods. The current use of chrome poses serious environmental and health problems due to the formation of carcinogenic Cr (VI) in finished articles, prompting users to find innovative solutions. According to the EU directives, sustainable industrial processes and waste management are fundamental for ensuring a low level of risk and high environmental protection. LIFE GOAST project, with a LCA-LCC “cradle to grave approach”, will aim at demonstrating sustainability of the overall production chain from manufacturing of leather articles to treatment of solid and liquid wastes: the implementation of LIFE GOAST technology on a semi industrial scale will be demonstrated to be more environmental friendly than Traditional Chrome Tanning Process (TCTP). The ultimate aim is to obtain comparable/better quality leather product with lower environmental impact and costs, no concern substances disposal rather than TCTP.

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Researcher: Michela Signoretto
Duration: 01/07/2017 - 30/06/2020

Boosting green agrifood through aquaponics sustainable solutions

Aquaponics is an integrated production practice, strongly rooted on circular economy principles, which could lead to reduce impacts deriving from the agricultural sector: vegetables can be cultivated without the use of soil and limiting the water consumption up to 90%, if compared to traditional agricultural practices. In addition, this technique avoids the use of pesticides for plants, since these would harm the farmed fish, and it reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gases emissions. The project BLUEGRASS aims at introducing and sustaining the development of the Aquaponics technique in Italy and Slovenia (the area covered by the funding Interreg Programme).

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Researcher: Daniele Brigolin
Duration: 01/10/2017 - 30/03/2020

Life Lagoon Refresh

In the project "Coastal lagoon habitat (1150*) and species recovery by restoring the salt gradient increasing fresh water input" the concrete actions of recovery will be realized along the margin of the SCI Northern Venetian Lagoon, at the interface between lagoon and mainland. Among the main objectives: the diversion of a freshwater flow of approximately 1,000 l/s (action C1) from the river Sile into the lagoon - such action is necessary for the recreation of a salt gradient typical of buffer areas between lagoon and mainland, that has been artificially prevented in the course of the historical site management; the variation of bottom morphology through biodegradable structures, with a configuration designed in order to decrease the freshwater dispersion and favour reed bed development; the transplantation of turves or single rhizomes of Phragmites australis in order to accelerate reed bed formation and of small clumps of Ruppia cirrhosa, an aquatic species characterizing habitats 1150* and highly fed upon by waterfowl, with high degree of conservation and adapted to low salinity, to trigger and accelerate the recolonization of the area. The projects also aims at decreasing of the hunting and fishing pressure, by introducing a strict fishing regulation and involving local fishermen and hunters.
Project activities will be followed by an intensive environmental monitoring activity to verify the achievement of expected results and implement any useful corrective action (eg. regulation of freshwater flow). Parameters necessary to quantify recovery ecosystem services will be detected. The project also includes dissemination activities for both a general public and Italian and European specific targets.

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Researcher: Adriano Sfriso
Duration: 01/09/2016 - 31/08/2021

Sustainable fish production under climate change

Ca’ Foscari scholars are involved in the ClimeFish project, Co-creating a Decision Support Framework to ensure sustainable fish production in Europe under climate change.
ClimeFish is a Horizon 2020 project, which involves 21 academic and non­academic partners from all over Europe and focuses on marine and freshwater fisheries and aquaculture, It aims to forecast effects of climate changes at the species and ecosystem level, creating responsive management schemes, and delivering a decision support framework co­created with stakeholders.

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Researcher: Fabio Pranovi
Duration: 01/04/2016 - 30/03/2020

Making the Most of Social Science to Build Better Policies

Knowledge For Use (K4U) is an ERC Advanced grant hosted by the University of Durham, involving Ca' Foscari researchers.
The project will construct a radically new picture of how to use social science to build better social policies and it will launch an entire new field in philosophy: the philosophy of social technology.
K4U will provide not just a theoretical but a practical understanding‐ for users: intelligible and practically helpful to those who need to estimate and balance the effectiveness, the evidence, the chances of success, the costs, the benefits, the winners and losers, and the social, moral, political and cultural acceptability of proposed policies.

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Researcher: Eleonora Montuschi
Duration: 01/11/2015 - 30/10/2020