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The Associated PhD in Service Design for the Public Sector (SDPS) aims to train highly qualified professionals to respond to the innovation process in the public sector, particularly in Public Administrations (PAs). It focuses on the thematic axes of digital transition, ecological transition, public engagement, and health society, which encompass all citizen services through participation, awareness, and sharing, with the goal of improving the quality of social contexts. The PhD program is based on the scientific production of Service Design, at the interdisciplinary convergence of design, psychology, management and engineering, computer science, social sciences, and policy-making knowledge. uni logos The nature of the program is associated with the purpose of collaborating with seven national partners (Sapienza University of Rome, Politecnico di Milano, IUAV University of Venice, University of Bologna Alma Mater, Isia Rome, and Isia Florence), as well as international professors (University of Arts London, Central Saint Martins - UK; University of Lapland - Finland; Aalborg University - Denmark).



The PhD focuses on the digital and ecological transition of citizen services, promoting participation, awareness, and sharing to improve the quality of social contexts. The realization of a digital society and environmental crises necessitate a rethinking of actions and the organizational nature of Public Administrations. Different European welfare models, including the Italian one, require skills that adopt a critical and interdisciplinary approach to govern new technologies and manage complex problems. The PhD program trains professionals capable of addressing the complexity of the public sector at various scales, integrating local services and policies, digitalization tools, and European visions such as the Green Deal and the New European Bauhaus.


The doctoral program aims to develop theoretical and applied models through "Research for Design" and "Research through Design" methodologies, operating on four thematic axes:
- Green Transition for the environmental sustainability of public services, targeting climate neutrality through synergistic work strategies between individuals and institutions.
- Digital Transition for the digitalization of public services, with particular attention to participatory and inclusive approaches.
- Public Engagement for the cultural transformation of the public sector and the development of new governance models.
- Health Society for the development of person-centered healthcare services, requiring cooperation between individuals and institutions, process reorganization, and the promotion of inclusive solutions.


In line with European guidelines, the PhD program aims to provide competencies to:
- Conceptualize, design, implement, and adapt research or innovation programs independently.
- Conduct critical analysis, evaluations, and synthesis of new and complex ideas and processes in research institutions, the production system, public administration, and the field of liberal professions.
- Contribute, through the acquisition of new scientific and cross-disciplinary skills, to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals identified by the United Nations in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- Contribute to the development of the European Research Area and higher education, considering the related standards and guidelines for quality assurance.
Additional educational objectives include the development of training experiences in non-academic sectors such as public administration, services, and institutions, involving industry experts to develop cross-cutting skills and facilitate their transfer to the professional context.


The knowledge and skills offered by the PhD in Service Design for the Public Sector (SDPS) enable graduates to work in high-level research positions, including at the international level, in public sector entities and organizations. Professionally, graduates can pursue careers in research centers, public institutions, social, healthcare, and environmental associations and organizations, third-sector companies, and digital field companies.


Regarding specific Service Design competencies, the PhD aims to develop innovative and highly qualified research profiles capable of interacting with the public sector and developing expertise in:
- Design Thinking, which encompasses cognitive, strategic, and practical processes for innovating products, systems, and services. It is a design approach focused on solving complex problems through creative vision and management.
- Co-Design and participatory design, involving different actors with diverse skills in idea generation and the design process.
- User-Centered Design, emphasizing designing for the user's needs, understanding and identifying them through meaningful interactions, translating needs into solutions, and managing priorities.
- Communication across various organizational, technical, and political contexts to simplify and make complex information and languages accessible to a wider audience.
- Digital economy and technological advancements, enabling informed decision-making based on user needs, available technology, and resources.
- Problem-solving, visualizing and articulating complex problems and concepts, applying logical thinking, and making disciplined decisions based on available information and research evidence.
- Leadership and decision-making to interpret visions, guide choices, and manage complex design activities in team settings.
- Strategic thinking, developing a global perspective on issues, events, and activities, understanding broader implications and long-term impacts, defining models, standards, policies, and roadmaps.
- Prototyping techniques to model ideas and scenarios, both tangible and intangible, to test their validity and interaction with contexts and users.


The activities of the PhD in Service Design for the Public Sector result from collaboration between different Italian universities and training institutes that are already engaged in research, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), and advancements in project cultures. The reasons for establishing an associated PhD program are:
- Synergy between the expertise and backgrounds of the involved institutions, creating connections, knowledge networks, and opportunities for education and research.
- Capitalization of the identity and skills of each institution through joint training and specific activities.
- Collegiate dimension to foster perspective contamination among the participating institutions in the doctoral research path.
The educational program provides theoretical, methodological, and technical tools for innovation in the public sector, considering different social, cultural, and economic systems.
The training activities of the PhD are conducted in English and encompass disciplinary and interdisciplinary levels. They include computer proficiency, preparation for teaching, applied and basic research management, knowledge of European and international research systems, including competitive funding schemes, research valorization and dissemination, intellectual property, open access to data and research products, as well as fundamental principles of ethics and integrity.



Le attività presentate in questa pagina sono finanziate totalmente, o in parte, dai fondi del Piano nazionale di ripresa e resilienza.
L'elenco e le finalità delle attività intraprese dalla Sapienza sono descritte nella pagina dedicata Sapienza per il Pnrr.

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