Smart University Forum (SUF) is a current initiative aiming at becoming a global‐ reference opportunity to meet, exchange experiences and discuss academic developments towards open, smart and thriving universities. SUF brings together national and  international leaders, senior university staff, noted researchers and strategists, together with key supporters, university partners and beneficiaries.
The issues we exchange ideas and views and experiences on concern how universities and their staff and students can survive and prosper even in turbulent times, and achieve big goals that everyone can be proud of. Special attention is devoted to how universities can become smarter on the following dimensions:

  • Why they do what they do;
  • Who benefits from what they do;
  • How they set their goals and make it more likely that goals will be achieved;
  • How they track the external environment for any threats and opportunities that could affect their goals;
  • How they can become incisively proactive in the fast continuous innovation processes which ground glo‐cal development;
  • How they achieve their goals in cost‐effective and time‐effective ways;
  • What wider benefits they bring to their communities;
  • How they and their staff and students get recognized for their successes.

The “Festival d’Europa”, being an European laboratory for promoting the exchange of visions and experiences across Europe and beyond, is taken as an occasion to launch the Smart University Forum. The conference took place in the extraordinary Salone dei Duecento (Room of the 200) of the Palazzo Vecchio. Palazzo Vecchio (Old Palace) is the city hall of Florence and it has been the symbol of the civic power of Florence for over seven centuries. The conference room is adorned with beautiful paintings and a ceiling made up of 39 panels designed and painted by Vasari, representing scenes from the life of Cosimo I de’ Medici. This present workshop was purposely organized in Florence, with the main goal to outline and push reflections on the proper ways through which Universities can enhance the contribution they make to society.
University smartness implies the structural enhancement of University capabilities needed to pursue such objectives. That includes also proper use of ICT‐based tools, systems and methodologies to support the enhancement of local knowledge and education processes.
Smart University and Smart City are intertwined concepts, with joint spaces of synergic action. Smart City prospective evolution can be represented through the following general axes of smart innovation and development:

  • Basic and infrastructural utilities
  • Health, safety and security
  • In‐door and out‐door local living places
  • Citizenship, social inclusion and cohesion, education and socio‐cultural evolution

Smart University is expected to be one of the key actors of innovation towards Smart City. Furthermore Universities and Cities can properly make joint ventures in the same City to pursue their innovation, also to support local development and the associated economic and cultural growth and new kinds of jobs.
Actually, such joint venture can ground virtuous processes aimed at promoting and deploying those local assets which can co‐operatively support a new eco‐systemic glo‐cal development. Such assets have to make short and stable circuits, operational for co‐operation and beneficial mutual transfer at both local and global level.
Within this perspective, particular attention has been given also to ways to include in SUF Universities from developing countries, which are to be recognized as an important partners to widen the SUF vision beyond Europe’s boundaries. Initiatives for joint ventures of Universities, between each other as well as with the corresponding cities, is also promoted to ground the prospected glo‐cal development approach roadmap.

The workshop has therefore developed and examined, through the presence of international and national experts, the themes on which the SUF conceptual framework is synergically grounded to address Smart University evolution, that is:

  • Reference ecosystemic evolution:
  • New age of wide and fast innovation
  • New models for social‐economic development
  • Sustaining internationalization and globalization through a glo‐cal approach
  • Smart Cities
  • Smart Universities
  • University‐city joint venture for glo‐cal development
  • Smart university processes for new knowledge and education development

The WORKSHOP was promoted by:
Università degli Studi di Firenze
Comune di Firenze
Provincia di Firenze
Regione Toscana

Download the full presentation article (PDF, 165 Kb)

A full report of the meeting will coming soon.

Contact for more information: Mr. Giorgio da Bormida (


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