The CUCS network


The University Coordination for Cooperation and Development (CUCS) has been constituted formally in 2007 with a Memorandum of Understanding which currently has more than 30 Italian signatory universities. CUCS network is part of a long and complex process of dialogue initiated between the Italian universities and the General Directorate for Cooperation and Development of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The universities of CUCS network believe they are called to cover an innovative and effective role in strengthening international cooperation for development. These Universities want to deepen the reflection about the expanding boundaries of the academic mission in terms of training, research and knowledge/technology transfer, willing to align them to new global challenges.

Worldwide, the Agenda 2030 of the United Nations and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, represent complex challenges and call for multidisciplinary approach. Therefore, involved actors need to identify different and mutually reinforcing roles in order to deliver effective, efficient and impactful actions while defining well validated monitoring processes which are able to build solid and transparent assessments.

Looking at the Italian context, these considerations should be framed in the new framework of Italian international cooperation, that thanks to the Law 125 / 2014 is now reformed. The role of cooperation becomes significant element as it is now officially part of Italian foreign policy. The role of the more traditional actors, such as civil society, territorial cooperation and international bodies, should now be definitely supported by other expertises such as the academic and the private sector.

In particular the contribution that the University can offer to the system of the Italian Cooperation is threefold:

  • Enrich the training programs with new skills, both for Italian students who are going to act (directly or indirectly) in the sector of international cooperation and for partner countries’ students who are going to specialize in our/their own country. This urgent need for “filling this educational gap” should also be seen as a response to the need to equip the transitioning economies with the tools and policies that are useful to prevent the emergence of crises due to external shocks (economic, environmental, political and social). One of the ways to achieve this goal is to implement and/or strengthen the existing exchange programs, through the establishment of scholarships (jointly with local universities where possible ) which grant the possibility for foreign students to visit Italy and to support our students who wish to engage in international institutions that address the international development issue.
  • Contribute to the development and strengthening of institutional capacities while putting in place a triangulation between universities and public/private sector. This goal should be reached by enhancing both the indigenous creation of entrepreneurial / craft activities and the value of international scientific relations already in place, with their contributions in knowledge transfer. In fact the relationships that universities have with similar higher education and research institutions around the world represent an invaluable network of mutual understanding and dialogue. Many Italian universities have contributed and actively continue contributing to form the generation of professionals and managers in many partner countries. These actions become driving force for future development of new  private or public business.
  • Offer the knowledge gained in all disciplines and make available advanced scientific research instruments, in order to design innovation and to develop methods for the evaluation of interventions that are aligned to international best practices. The University has a strong tradition of scientific cooperation which is characterized by direct dialogue with local stakeholders and by a specific mutual-learning approach . In this sense, scientific research becomes a tool for development and can be used to innovate the practices of co-operation. It can be used to improve its effectiveness, by developing new models for appropriate technology transfer, which are participatory and capable of creating endogenous development. Moreover, the University can make a valuable contribution to effective assessment of the results and impacts of interventions. In particular, the universities may be competent and institutional M&E actors, able to ensure a high degree of scientific objectivity – in the framework of the OECD-DAC principles – and to develop the most appropriate and modern methods of evaluation.

CUCS partner institutes:

  1. Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori di Pavia
  2. Politecnico di Milano
  3. Politecnico di Torino
  4. Università IULM di Milano
  5. Università IUAV di Venezia
  6. Università degli studi della Basilicata
  7. Università degli Studi di Bergamo
  8. Università degli Studi di Bologna
  9. Università degli Studi di Brescia
  10. Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano
  11. Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi
  12. Università degli Studi di Ferrara
  13. Università degli Studi di Firenze
  14. Università degli Studi di Genova
  15. Università dell’Insubria
  16. Università degli Studi di Milano
  17. Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca
  18. Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
  19. Università degli Studi di Padova
  20. Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”
  21. Università degli Studi di Parma
  22. Università degli Studi di Pavia
  23. Università degli Studi di Siena
  24. Università degli Studi di Trento
  25. Università degli Studi di Torino
  26. Università degli Studi di Trieste
  27. Università degli Studi di Urbino
  28. Università della Valle D’Aosta
  29. Università di Verona
  30. Università Cà Foscari di Venezia
  31. Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”
  32. Università degli Studi di Sassari
  33. Università di Napoli L’Orientale

The CUCS network is open to applications from new members.

CUCS research: the database about Italian University Cooperation initiatives is the  DaBaCu, the University Cooperation Database sponsored by DGCS-MAE and dedicated to projects led by the CUCS universities. The Data Base is being updated.