WHO WE ARE
The “Laboratory for Law and Innovation” is composed by academics of the Law Department of the University of Macerata, who are studying the relationships between law and social, scientific and technological development.
It has been founded following the qualification of our Department as a “Department of excellence” by the Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research (MIUR) for 2018-2023, within a national selection process. Our Department’s research project, selected within the said process, is titled: Law and innovation. Europe and China facing the challenges of globalization.
The main focus of our project is the role of law in both technological and social innovation processes. We believe, first of all, that scientific and technological development, in order to be capable of creating real innovation, must also respond to the interests of citizens and respect their rights. Moreover, the challenges posed by a complex, multicultural, inclusive, supportive and sustainable society, make it necessary to read, interpret and, sometimes, change the legal systems. Within this framework, the role of education and research in the legal field is crucial to supporting and shaping innovation, by providing a fundamental contribution to social, cultural and economic development. Lastly, as Italy and Europe are facing these challenges not only by integrating their policies in a common strategy, but also by collaborating with other countries that are faced by the same challenges, we chose to dedicate a special attention to China, which offers very significant research perspectives. It is clear, actually, that the breadth and speed of its social and technological development, as well as its increasing importance on the global scenario, are raising new issues concerning the regulation of social phenomena and the framework of legal safeguards and individual rights that are involved.
The main issues posed by the research we are engaged in can be articulated in two areas:
1) Law and technological innovation (eg. Industry 4.0, Protection of privacy and information, Law and internet of things, Big data, Cloud computing, Responsibility and precautionary principle, Justice and scientific and technological innovation, etc.);
2) Law, innovation and social challenges (eg. Environmental law, Health, Welfare, Diversity and inclusion in multicultural societies, etc.).
On these subjects, the Lab platform aims to offer a common and open space for dissemination and debate, in order to share ideas, suggestions, projects and research results, events, initiatives and study materials.
GOALS AND STRATEGIES
The project aims at:
a) implementing the qualitative growth of research (excellence in the selected fields);
b) boosting up innovative didactics (better attraction for national and international students on innovative law courses);
c) improving the social and economic impact of Department initiatives and events.
The Law Department’s project that earned it the qualification as a “Department of excellence” presupposes the development of the Department as a modern scientific infrastructure, supported by scholars and administrative staff, intended to implement a five years programme of specific actions. The said programme will feature scientific studies, research activities and formative events, with a meaningful impact on the scientific world, local communities, the society and the economic system.
Specifically, the project aims to:
– develop the Department as an excellence research centre on “Law and Innovation”, by creating a Law &Innovation Laboratory, opened to the business world and the society, and owning a dedicated website;
– promote the specialization of the Department’s library on subjects concerning the relationships between law and social, scientific and technological innovation;
– focus and strengthen the Department’s research activity on the said issues;
– foster the debate and collaboration with China, also developing the China Centre and integrating it with the Law &Innovation Laboratory.
Within this framework, our Department intends to focus on:
– a strong Open Science approach (resources, data and results of our research will be widely disseminated);
– an approach aimed at increasing the innovation for local communities (specific attention will be dedicated to the connections with the Smart Specialization of the Marche Region and with the needs and development of the local social and economic system);
– the creation of an “ecosystem” inspired to Open Innovation principles, with a strong involvement of our stakeholders;
– the coordination of multidisciplinary actions and events focused on research, education and public engagement, likely to combine legal subjects with applied international economics and social and human sciences in general (based on initiatives already successfully experimented in this field).
The activities that will be carried out in the five years period of the project’s implementation are aimed at producing an impact on: civil society, cultural life of communities, local business, market and industrial fabric, policy makers and legislative bodies. The Department intends to boost up public engagement activities, in order to maximize the social and economic impact of its work. A priority will be given to the organization of:
1. “open days”, festivals and informative publications, intended to help in bringing science into society;
2. discussions and “open science technology”, with the purpose of interacting with the town and the local industry and business world;
3. laboratories and common projects with local stakeholders (including schools and professionals).
Our Department strategy adheres to the Research Vision recently set out by the European Commission in its document on “Open Innovation, Open Science, Open to the World: a vision for Europe” (European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, 2016).
Our Department strategy implies:
1. the Department’s development as a modern scientific infrastructure, supported by scholars and administrative staff in the implementation of a five years programme, on the issues related to law, innovation, technologies and societal new challenges, assisted by an Open science specialized library and a Law & innovation Laboratory;
2. the promotion of scholars and administrative staff involved in the programme;
3. the improvement of collaborations on an international level, with a specific attention towards China, through internationalization initiatives concerning both research and didactics;
4. further enhancement of the third and fourth mission;
5. the development of innovative didactics, involving all educational levels, including Ph.D. studies and permanent/continuous education.
A special attention will be devoted to:
1. the promotion of new agreements with foreign non-European Universities (starting from the existing ones with China, Australia and Brazil);
2. the cooperation with local firms and corporations, in order to develop common lines of research on law and innovation, especially in the field of Industry 4.0;
3. the relationships with secondary schools (also following the success of the Laboratory of Human Sciences for Creativity and Innovation);
4. the relationships with local professional organizations.
Our strategies for talents attraction are focused on:
- research projects (eg. Marie Curie fellowships), through which hosting scholars from EU and non EU countries;
- the University programme for visiting professors (with our additional grants aimed at promoting the incoming mobility of international scholars and develop the issues of Law and Innovation and the educational program titled CIELIP);
- the creation of a research environment inspired to the European Charter of Researchers (to which our University adhered in 2014).
In order to improve the higher education offer at our Department in the field of innovation, a specific Ph.D. programme has been established, titled “Law and Innovation”. The programme is aimed at offering a specialized education for candidates intending to embark on research focused on the problems and perspectives of the legal changes related to technological and social transformations. It is based on three lines of research:
–Law and new technologies (on the legal implications of the use of new technologies);
–Law and social innovation (on legal changes connected to scenarios of crisis and social, cultural and economic transformation);
–Problems and methodology of legal innovation (on the phenomenology of legal innovation: changes and transformation of production, interaction and functions of the law).
Our Department has also established, within the traditional course of the Law school, a specific programme, titled CIELIP (Comparative, International, European Law and Innovation Programme). It is an educational itinerary based on specific classes held in English and aimed (as part of the traditional preparation for law experts) at offering an international vision, develop a specialized language competence in English, and cultivate the strategic issues of law and innovation.
The implementation of the project is monitored according to the model Plan-Do-Check-Act. A Steering Committee has been appointed by the Law Department’s Board and a Contingency Plan has been drafted, in order to focus the risks inherent in the implementation of the project, plan corrective actions and identify the subjects involved in their adoption. The Steering Committee also checks the progress made in the implementation of the project on an annual basis, and reports to the Law Department’s Board.