Genoa city of transit? Cuniberti: "To restart, let's follow the Korean model."

July 6, 2024
©la Repubblica

"Genoa cannot limit itself to being only a transit hub for cruise traffic, but must ambitiously aim to develop industrial sectors that can generate tangible economic growth and employment, not only for our city." Giovanni Cuniberti, a Genoese physicist, full professor of Materials Science and Nanotechnology at TU Dresden and member of the scientific and technical committee of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), speaks on the debate opened by Carlo Castellano on the future of Genoa "not only a transit city, between tourists, cruise passengers and containers."


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"Genoa," the scientist explains, "brings unparalleled experience in the intersection of physics and nanotechnology, contributing significantly to research and innovation. Orographic constraints have not helped the city, squeezed between sea and mountains, which has gradually lost its financial hegemony and failed to grasp the greatness of industrialization. "Today, however, industry is no longer limited to halls for the production of machine tools or manufacturing products," Cuniberti added. The challenge is not just for capital and space; it is purely of capital. Especially of human capital."
The underlying question is clear: how to develop these industrial sectors to revive the area? Cuniberti proposes the South Korea model, a country he knows well from academic experiences. "The country lacks natural resources and was very poor after the terrible Korean War -he explains. In the 1960s its economic indicators and population were the same as in Ghana. The rise to a modern economy was achieved by investing massively and exclusively in primary and secondary education." The professor then urges people to take a cue from Korea, pointing to a priority list of sorts. "It is crucial not to lose any talent, especially in the STEMs disciplines to support both these new sectors and the craft sectors” -he explains. School must become a real gymnasium again, in the Greek sense of the word. Every student must be able to be stimulated to fully develop his or her talents, seeking to go far beyond his or her apparent limitations. This goal cannot be achieved without enhancing, especially financially, the teaching staff. We want to train and enhance the best teachers for Genoa. The quality of the school will automatically follow." Equally decisive must be support for the University of Genoa and the IIT, to make them "the undisputed number one technological research pole in Italy and aspire to greater international leadership. If we could turn the Erzelli area into a mini-SEZ (a special economic zone), as has been successfully done in Songdo in South Korea, we could attract significant investment and thus stimulate innovation."
The key to revitalization, however, is high technology, which cuts across all areas. "We need to focus on it not only because of our inherent lack of space, but because of the disruptive reach this is having and will have over other traditional sectors of the economy. This is the big challenge -says Cuniberti. How to achieve this is the issue on which public affairs together with business must seriously debate with long-term breath and clear commitment. But without schools and research I think we will go not only not very far but far worse, without a compass. This must become our mantra: without a good school, no research of excellence. Without excellence research, no industrial growth in high-tech sectors. And, finally, without growth, no tangible increase in tax revenues."
So the difference will be in a school model that can cultivate talent. "We need what in mechanics is called the jerk: acceleration growth."
-(massimo minella)

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Genoa city of transit? Cuniberti: "To restart, let's follow the Korean model."

July 6, 2024
©la Repubblica

"Genoa cannot limit itself to being only a transit hub for cruise traffic, but must ambitiously aim to develop industrial sectors that can generate tangible economic growth and employment, not only for our city." Giovanni Cuniberti, a Genoese physicist, full professor of Materials Science and Nanotechnology at TU Dresden and member of the scientific and technical committee of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), speaks on the debate opened by Carlo Castellano on the future of Genoa "not only a transit city, between tourists, cruise passengers and containers."


Full article

"Genoa," the scientist explains, "brings unparalleled experience in the intersection of physics and nanotechnology, contributing significantly to research and innovation. Orographic constraints have not helped the city, squeezed between sea and mountains, which has gradually lost its financial hegemony and failed to grasp the greatness of industrialization. "Today, however, industry is no longer limited to halls for the production of machine tools or manufacturing products," Cuniberti added. The challenge is not just for capital and space; it is purely of capital. Especially of human capital."
The underlying question is clear: how to develop these industrial sectors to revive the area? Cuniberti proposes the South Korea model, a country he knows well from academic experiences. "The country lacks natural resources and was very poor after the terrible Korean War -he explains. In the 1960s its economic indicators and population were the same as in Ghana. The rise to a modern economy was achieved by investing massively and exclusively in primary and secondary education." The professor then urges people to take a cue from Korea, pointing to a priority list of sorts. "It is crucial not to lose any talent, especially in the STEMs disciplines to support both these new sectors and the craft sectors” -he explains. School must become a real gymnasium again, in the Greek sense of the word. Every student must be able to be stimulated to fully develop his or her talents, seeking to go far beyond his or her apparent limitations. This goal cannot be achieved without enhancing, especially financially, the teaching staff. We want to train and enhance the best teachers for Genoa. The quality of the school will automatically follow." Equally decisive must be support for the University of Genoa and the IIT, to make them "the undisputed number one technological research pole in Italy and aspire to greater international leadership. If we could turn the Erzelli area into a mini-SEZ (a special economic zone), as has been successfully done in Songdo in South Korea, we could attract significant investment and thus stimulate innovation."
The key to revitalization, however, is high technology, which cuts across all areas. "We need to focus on it not only because of our inherent lack of space, but because of the disruptive reach this is having and will have over other traditional sectors of the economy. This is the big challenge -says Cuniberti. How to achieve this is the issue on which public affairs together with business must seriously debate with long-term breath and clear commitment. But without schools and research I think we will go not only not very far but far worse, without a compass. This must become our mantra: without a good school, no research of excellence. Without excellence research, no industrial growth in high-tech sectors. And, finally, without growth, no tangible increase in tax revenues."
So the difference will be in a school model that can cultivate talent. "We need what in mechanics is called the jerk: acceleration growth."
-(massimo minella)

Related team member
News