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Welfare, business and academia

Examining positive approaches that benefit production and the community

Business and academia. Vital bedfellows, the coupling of which is not always effectively put into practice, but is one which is fundamental to both parties. When you then look to involve the community where this coupling is developing as well, the significance (and the results) can really be quite considerable. However, it is important to understand how to proceed, which is why it is useful to read the work by Cristina Cecchini (University of Florence & LabCom, Research and Action for Psychosocial Well-Being) entitled “Dalla ricerca all’impresa: lo spin-off accademico per agire nella comunità”(From research to business: the academic spin-off to take action in the community). This piece was presented as part of the recently published collection of works Comunità imperfette. Dalle dinamiche disgregative al decision making comunitario (Imperfect Communities, from Disruptive Dynamics to Community Decision Making).

Cecchini explains that one of the university’s missions is to “promote the transfer of results deriving from university research into innovative products and services”. Given this, it works to develop “structured approaches that will facilitate the creation of new business ideas and support their direct application, thus contributing to society’s social, cultural and economic development”. Research thus becomes business and is therefore an opportunity to create well-being and advance social development. Applied culture, according to Cristina Cecchini, has a “positive impact from the point of view of resources and incentives, improving employment prospects for young graduates as well as for academic researchers”.

She continues, adding further detail to this reasoning. In addition to technological transfer, universities can also contribute with spin-off psychological research activities capable of “providing scientifically sound psychological actions based on a community approach, to compensate for the lack of public resources available to support people’s welfare requirements”. This reflects a marked improvement in the relationship between academia, business and the social sector. At a time when welfare is becoming an integral part of national collective labour agreements, and when an increasing number of companies are becoming open to and aware of their welfare and social responsibilities, research can play an important role in terms of providing support.

Cristina Cecchini’s work helps us to understand why and how.

“Dalla ricerca all’impresa: lo spin-off accademico per agire nella comunità”

Cristina Cecchini

In Comunità imperfette. Dalle dinamiche disgregative al decision making comunitario, Palermo, 2019