Nexa Center Annual Report 2016

Presented in 2016 during the Board of Trustees meeting of the Nexa Center


The 2015-2016 academic year has been a year of both consolidation and change for the Nexa Center.
Firstly, consolidation of its role as one of the reference points in the international community of Internet studies and as one of the main actors of the national and regional digital policy conversations. The coordination of the Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers and the support of the Internet Bill of Rights by the Italian Parliament are worthy to be mentioned here.

Secondly, consolidation of the competences in the four key expertise areas of the Center – Open content, Public Sector Innovation, Network Measurements and Fundamental Rights Online – along the two major, highly coupled, perspectives adopted by the Center – technological and legal. In support of this point, we mention the intensification of the teaching activities – with the confirmed primary role of the Digital Revolution course – and the spin-off of an Open Linked Data company.

While such consolidation shows that a certain degree of maturity has been reached on the aforementioned investigation areas, technology evolves rapidly and new challenges have to be faced. In 2015-2016 the Nexa Center started to investigate technological and legal issues entailed by four potentially disruptive technologies: the Internet of Things, Service Robots, the Blockchain and Big (Open) Data. More efforts in these directions are expected in the near future to improve the understanding of the complex societal implications of these technologies, with the possible adoption of new perspectives, in primis ethical-philosophical and sociological.

Consolidation, spin-offing and the opening of new research questions have been accompanied by major Staff and management changes; such turn over started in late 2015 and will be complete by end of 2017. This ongoing transition, in turn, will naturally foster further changes in the research directions, some of which can be already glimpsed from recently submitted project proposals and from the initial draft of a strategic roadmap, reported in the last part of this report.

Juan Carlos De Martin and Marco Ricolfi – Faculty Directors