ITALIAN MOUNTAIN LAB – Research and Innovation for the environment and the mountain areas

Special Integrative Fund for Research (FISR)

The “Italian Mountain Lab” project – Research and Innovation for the Mountain environment and territories, in line with the provisions of national guidelines, such as the National Internal Areas Strategy, and European processes, such as the Alpine Macro-regional Strategy – EUSALP, plans to promote the establishment of a high level training and research laboratory for Italian mountain areas, based on capitalizing and enhancing existing experiences, as well as on promoting national and international collaboration for the expansion of activities regarding research, experimentation, technology transfer, training and support to local institutions for the development and valorization of mountain areas.

The “Italian Mountain Lab” Project – Research and Innovation for the Mountain environment and territories is carried out by the Mountain University (UNIMONT) – Center of Excellence based at the Edolo Campus of the University of Milan in collaboration with the University of Piedmont Eastern, University of Tuscia, with accounting, effectiveness and efficiency control by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR). The project partnership also aims to involve other Italian and foreign universities and institutions that already collaborate with UNIMONT in project activities.


  • To set up joint research and technology transfer activities on strategic issues for the socio-economic development of mountain areas, with particular reference to the creation of youth enterprises (green jobs) and land management in a changing socio-cultural and environmental context (climate change).
  • To set up joint activities of training, advanced training, information and qualification of human capital functional to the development of the mountain territory with particular attention to entrepreneurship and land management;
  • To promote collaboration between universities and public and private, national and international organizations in order to establish a cross-sector platform for mountain areas, sharing of good practices, skills and experiences useful to develop tools and services for the development of mountain areas.

The main result is the creation, also in Italy, of a MULTIDISCIPLINARY, CROSS-SECTOR ACADEMIC PLATFORM, in order to share the skills and experiences currently available in Italy.

The target geographical areas for intervention are all the mountainous areas of Italy, thanks to the use of web technologies for the sharing and dissemination of knowledge.

WP1: Research, Innovation and Technology Transfer

With special reference to the:

  • Creation and promotion of young entrepreneurship – Green jobs; Green economy; Green communities;
  • Land management in a changing socio-cultural and environmental system -Governance; Ecosystem services; Climate change;
  • Activation of a joint research project for each strategic sector identified:
  1. Agro-Forestry
  2. Environment, territory and community
  3. Development strategies, socio-economic and local governance aspects


  • High income supply chains and high environmental sustainability;
  • Hydrogeological risk management;
  • Bioengineering;
  • Bioeconomy.


  • Identity and vocation of mountain territories and communities;
  • Cultural, historical and landscape heritage;
  • Sustainable tourism;
  • Climate change: effects on mountain agro-forest ecosystems and their resilience;
  • Eco-architecture.


  • Land management tools and governance;
  • Territorial marketing;
  • Start-ups and innovative companies;
  • Co-working and sharing economy;
  • Multi-functional management of businesses
WP2: Traning & Dissemination
To set up joint activities of provision of information, advanced training, and qualification of human capital functional to the development of the mountain territory with particular attention to entrepreneurship and land management

The training activities will consist in an inter-university training offer and will be mainly oriented towards the promotion of entrepreneurship and the governance of mountain areas.


Elaboration of a joint calendar of at least 2 cycles of conferences on issues relevant to the development of mountain areas (national and international best cases, innovative techniques and methods, cultural and methodological aspects, etc.), provided by the various partners involved and shared via virtual classroom (“Antennas” system), promoted through the UNIMONT network, the respective UNIMONT portals and the academic partners involved, and available free, on demand, through the UNIMONT portal.

The calendar of conferences will be decided and promoted at the beginning of the academic year, according to, and in line with, specific priorities and emerging interests.


  1. Organization of at least 3 joint advanced training courses, on 3 themes chosen by the three partners, of which at least 1 at an international level:
    A) Production, processing, ownership, legislation and areas of use of medicinal plants
    B) Organizer for territorial development (in collaboration with local administrations and authorities)
    C) Sustainable Tourism for Mountain Areas (international)
  2. Activation of 3 summer schools for PhD students and young researchers, one for each partner’s area of reference.
  3. Planning of a joint international master’s course, involving the main public and private institutions and organizations operating in Italian and European mountain areas. The course must provide the specific employment-relevant contents and tools required for young people interested in working in mountain areas. The project should be evaluated according to appropriate European and/or national calls.


Each University partner undertakes to:

  1. activate their own “Antenna”
  2. convey contents and activities of interest for the development of mountain areas through the Antennas
  3. involve other universities and institutions to become “Antennas” as well.
  4. define a specific joint work plan for the upgrading and diffusion of the Antennas and of the contents to be conveyed through the Antennas.

The Antennas will be promoted and perceived as territorial declinations (local nodes) of a single national project and platform, which will enhance the brand of the “Italian Mountain Lab” initiative at a national and European level with a strategy coherent with the UNIMONT network activated by the University from Milan. UNIMONT will continue to coordinate the activities of the Antennas implemented and enhanced by the project partnership.

Antennas Target: CONTACT

  • Among students from different courses/departments/ universities – establish a calendar of meetings, define a strategy of involvement and promotion of the activity.
  • Between students and teachers from different departments/disciplines/backgrounds – collaboration via Antennas.
  • With third parties and European and international actors
    – from the business world (companies, start-ups, investors, chambers of commerce, trade associations, technology centres, clusters, local schools, etc.)
    – from institutions (local and national)
    – from the third sector – fundamental elements to enrich the training experience
WP3: Coordination & Network
To promote collaboration between universities and public and private, national and international organizations for the sharing of good practices, skills and experience for the elaboration of tools and services useful for the development of mountain areas


  • Enlarge and promote the existing Network on a national and European scale;
  • Enhance the network through the reporting and sharing of information regarding national and international mountain areas, as well as useful services and relevant legislation for mountain areas;
  • Implementation of the UNIMONT portal section dedicated to young entrepreneurs by promoting the collection of data and information regarding innovative companies involving young people in the relevant geographical areas. The section will be equipped with tools that will encourage networking between young entrepreneurs and with the university institutions and other organizations in Italy, and continuously updated, in order to facilitate collaboration and technology transfer (linked with the Antennas);
  • Establishment of a work group of the institutions involved in the development of mountain areas aimed at establishing a non-episodic dialogue on mountain areas;
  • Promotion of the organization of at least 1 joint CONVENTION/WORKSHOP of national/international relevance.

Funding Body
MIUR - Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research
Start Year
End Year

CrC Ge.S.Di.Mont.

CrC Ge.S.Di.Mont.

Anna Giorgi, Valeria Leoni, Luca Giupponi

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