The world is facing challenging problems in all aspects of society. Environmental disasters and climate change, social inequality and discriminations, unemployment, nationalisms and wars, pandemics, just to mention some. To contribute to the creation of healthy, fair, and thriving societies, in 2015 all 195 member states of the United Nations signed Agenda 2030, a plan of actions for people, planet and prosperity that comprises 17 integrated and indivisible Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) spanning the three dimensions (economic, social and environmental) of sustainable development. At the beginning of 2020 many SDGs, i.e. end hunger, protect climate and biodiversity, were completely off track. The COVID-19 outbreak has further complicated the SDG implementation efforts as well as posed a real risk to achieving targets on communicable disease, education, life expectancy, and decent work.

To get back on track towards sustainable development, several structural changes would be needed. Among them, the need to: (i) re-couple overall economic development (so far assessed in terms of economic growth) with well-being and quality of life (ii) de-couple economic development from environmental degradation and (iii) end marginalization (no one should be left behind). Business and management research can contribute to address such societal grand challenges by exploring sustainable and responsible consumption and production models.

The School


The School, which adheres to Responsible Research in Business and Management Network’s vision and principles, intends to contribute to spread among PhD students and young researchers the need to carry out research activities on the societal grand challenges while adopting the principle of responsible science. The goals of the School are to (i) provide an overview of business research and practice in the age of sustainable development and intelligent machines and (ii) discuss the challenges for responsible research in the field. The creation of sustainable value, the role of digital technologies and advanced productions systems, the design/redesign of horizontal and vertical relationships within the value chain and the role of the stakeholders to develop sustainable and responsible consumption and production models are some of the topics that will be discussed in the School.


The School is located in Taranto (Apulia Region, Italy). Fascinating city with a long history and site of the largest steel plant in Europe, Taranto embodies many of the contradictions of the current development model. All the speakers will be invited to contextualize their talks also based on the specific and complex “problem situation” that distresses the area in which the School is located.
As COVID-19 continues to challenge our society, we are thinking to offer a blended school experience. Faculties and participants will be able to digitally attend the School. Based on the evolution of the pandemics, we will host the School also physically for those who will have the chance (and the willingness) to travel. However, if times will not be mature, we will be obliged to go online only.


The School is mainly targeted to PhD students and young researchers who would like to improve their knowledge about state of the art and grand challenges in the field of business research and practice. PhD students attending the school will receive 6 ECTS certification.

Learning objectives

How to carry out Responsible Research in the field of Business and Management (principles and exemplary practices). Challenges and pathways to Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development Grand Challenges in Management Research and Practices: state of the art and open questions. How to study complex “problem situation”: the case of Taranto.


The School thematic pillars are three, namely: The context - Sustainable development and circular economy; Academia: Responsible research on business and management; Business: Corporate Sustainability, Sustainable value creation, Innovation & new technologies.

School format

To pursue its goals, the School offers topical lectures and workshops delivered by leading international scholars from high-ranked academia and research centers.
Methodology. Active learning

Logo Description

The school is aimed at spreading among Ph.D. students and young researchers the need to carry out research activities that face grand societal challenges to contribute to move along the path towards sustainable development. The School will be held in Taranto, a place representative of the contradictions of the current development model.
The School logo aims to embody such contradictions as well the instances of sustainability and make them graphically through the union of different pictograms. In particular, during the development of the logo’s concept, symbols that could be traced back to the dimensions of sustainability (social – people, environmental – planet, economic - profit), and to Taranto were sought, to establish the deep connection between the School and the city. Figure 1 shows the pictograms selected and their meaning concerning the semantic spheres "Taranto" and "Sustainability".

Figure 1. Pictogram selection and their meaning referring to "Taranto" and "Sustainability".

With reference to the representative symbols of the city of Taranto, the industry, the bridge and the sea were chosen. These symbols have been selected considering some of the peculiar characteristics of the city: Taranto is home to the largest steel plant in Europe, as well as other important industrial realities (industry); the city is also one of the most important commercial ports in the Mediterranean, as well as internationally known for the cultivation of mussels and for the seaside resorts that surround it (sea); finally Taranto (defined as the city of two seas as it is between Mar Grande and Mar Piccolo), due to its particular position, appears to be architecturally characterized by the presence of three bridges, among which the most iconic is the swing one (Ponte Girevole), which connects the old town and the new town while allowing naval transit (bridge).
The pictograms were then combined in the concept’s draft in a one-trait sketch to reaffirm the intimate relationship that exists between the three dimensions of sustainability, which translates into the holistic and interdisciplinary nature of the School. Furthermore, the pictograms relating to "sea" (or "planet") and "industry" (or "profit"), lacking vertical symmetry and thus creating dynamism, were oriented converging on the central pictogram "bridge" (or "community "), to reaffirm the centrality and responsibility of humankind in those processes that lead to transforming natural capital into economic value (Figure 2).

Figure 2. First concept of the logo.

Once the concept was fully developed, efforts were made to find a brush style that could convey humanness. The inspiration came after observing some rock paintings of the archaeological site known as "Grotta dei Cervi" (Deer Cave). Grotta dei Cervi, located in Puglia just 100 km from Taranto, hosts some of the most impressive Neolithic pictorial complex in Europe. Inside, as shown in Figure 3, simple pictograms, and geometric patterns, hunting scenes, community rituals and natural elements are represented.

Figure 3. Some of the cave paintings present in Grotta dei Cervi.

The stroke used in the logo therefore wanted to imitate the one recognizable in Grotta dei Cervi to obtain a human and simple result that would underline the ancestral link that binds humans, their activities and the environment (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Final logo.

The logo was then rotated and placed side by side with the School’s name.

Credits: The logo was designed by Francesco Paolo Lagrasta, member of the School’s organizing committee.


  • Period

    6-10 september 2021

  • Venue

    Taranto/Camera Commercio di Taranto (Chamber of Commerce)

  • Evaluation

    Full attendance is required to obtain the certificate. 6 ECTS will be assigned upon completion of the School.

Faculty and Lectures

  • Vito Albino (Politecnico di Bari, Italy) Towards the circular economy: economic and social rationale for a transition
  • Giorgio Assennato (National Committe SEA - EIA – IPPC PERMIT – Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition): Environment and Health within Environmental Permits – The case of Taranto
  • Raffaella Cagliano (Politecnico di Milano, Italy): Participatory work design in the context of Industry 4.0 for better organizational performance and quality of work
  • Kevin Crowston (Syracuse University, USA): Work in the age of intelligent machines
  • Rosa Maria Dangelico (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy): Green innovation: state of the art and future research directions
  • Luca Fraccascia (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy and University of Twente, NH): Industrial Symbiosis: state of the art and future research directions
  • Antonio Galati (Asset, Regione Puglia, Italy): The case of Taranto: a technological perspective
  • Lidia Greco (Università di Bari, Italy): The dilemma of the socio-economic sustainability in a de-industrialized area: The case of Taranto
  • Stefano Maggiolino (Tenova HYL): Direct Reduction: the solution for a sustainable steel industry
  • Peter Mckiernan (University of Strathclyde, UK): The Community of Responsible Research in Business & Management; Science for a better world
  • Wilfred Mijnhardt (Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University NL): Career Path for Researcher
  • Piero Salatino (Università degli studi di Napoli Federico II, Italy): Sustainability and the digital transformation of companies
  • Paolo Taticchi (University College London, UK): An overview of modern corporate sustainability
  • Mario Turco (Università del Salento, Italy): The case of Taranto: an economic and institutional perspective
  • Claudia Vitone (Politecnico di Bari, Italy): Contaminated marine sites: engineering issues bridging the gap between characterisation and remediation. The emblematic case of Taranto, between science and passion
  • Sandra Waddock (Boston College, USA): Parallel Universes and transformational systemic change


Organizing Committee

  • Barbara Scozzi
  • Francesco Lagrasta, Politecnico di Bari - Italy
  • Angela Nuzzi, Politecnico di Bari - Italy
  • Pierpaolo Pontrandolfo, Politecnico di Bari - Italy

Scientific Committee

  • Barbara Scozzi, Politecnico di Bari – Italy (School coordinator)
  • Luciano Afferrante, Politecnico di Bari - Italy
  • Vito Albino, Politecnico di Bari - Italy
  • Riccardo Amirante, Politecnico di Bari - Italy
  • Nicola Bellantuono, Università di Foggia - Italy
  • Michele Dassisti, Politecnico di Bari - Italy
  • Rosa Maria Dangelico, Sapienza University of Rome - Italy
  • Luca Fraccascia, Sapienza University of Rome - Italy and University of Twente - The Netherlands
  • Luigi Galantucci, Politecnico di Bari - Italy
  • Ilaria Giannoccaro, Politecnico di Bari - Italy
  • Peter Mckiernan, University of Strathclyde - UK
  • Pierpaolo Pontrandolfo, Politecnico di Bari - Italy
  • Paolo Taticchi, University College London, UK


Application Process

Interested doctoral students and young researchers should register online (and submit the required documents) no later than June 6, 2021 (POSTPONED TO JUNE 12). The number of participants will be limited to create a stimulating environment. The selection among the applicants will be conducted by the Scientific Committee. The member of the Committee will review the following documents which should necessarily complement each application form:

  • the applicant’s curriculum vitae demonstrating his/her capabilities of doing research;
  • a one-page description of his/her doctoral research, indicating the general objectives.
Please use the Application form reported here.
The form should be sent to

Participation Fee

The participation fee is 350 €. The fee includes participation to the seminar, lunches and one social dinner. PhD students enrolled at Politecnico di Bari are exempted from paying the participation fee.
The fee is 150 € for online participation. The fee must be paid by July 6, 2021. Bank transfer details will be communicated to accepted participants.

Practicalities (in case the school will be also physically hosted)

Hotel Accommodation & Social events

You are requested to make your own hotel arrangement. To take advantage of special rates, a list of hotels will be suggested to accepted participants.

Social events will be organized for the participants.

In collaboration with