It was a pleasure to be elected as Chair of the newborn ItalianRSA. This year we have faced unprecedented challenges: the COVID-19 crisis has aggravated the social and economic challenges that Italy is facing and has disproportionately affected especially women, including in R&I. However, in spite of all the restrictions, we had the chance to set up our Research Staff Association in Italy which was lacking in the ICoRSA Consortium.
We made some networking among universities, research centres, science museums, and industry researchers, who joined our ItalianRSA with some expectations that I welcome and would like to fulfil. We set our website, decided our logo and set up it in the social media. We need now to program what we want to achieve in this first year of the association. I have proposed a Science Café’ in hybrid format with the support of the Academia Pugliese delle Scienze, in Villa La Rocca, Bari, Italy to convene and organise some events to attract more researchers in the area of University Campus nearby, and to develop a social agenda to support the integration of new researchers in ItalianRSA.
The ItalianRSA has a longstanding commitment to promote gender equality in R&I. We aim to create a fair higher education system where women and men researchers benefit from equal opportunities and equal treatment, allowing them to thrive in their careers. More than ever, we need to encourage institutional change through instruments such as gender equality plans in research and innovation organisations to achieve long-lasting positive effects.