Remo Santagata

Remo Santagata, Phd student at the Department of Science and Technology of the University of Naples “Parthenope”. His research project concerns the multi-method environmental assessment of circularity strategies in a biorefinery perspective and the development of circularity indicators. A “secondary branch” of his research concerns the evaluation of scenarios for the implementation of urban forests in Campania and in several global metropolises, an interest born thanks to a collaboration with Prof. Theodore Endreny, which led him to a period of research at the SUNY-ESF College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. His doctoral path also offered him the opportunity to participate in several conferences and workshops in Italy and abroad, and in research stays at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the Normal University of Beijing, during which he expanded his network of contacts and collaborations and took part in interesting moments of international confrontation.

How does the project “Analysis of the metabolism of urban conglomerates and the cooperative strategy of the circular economy” fit into your research path?
My doctoral project at the Parthenope University of Naples, under the international doctoral program “Environment, Resources and Sustainable Development” and under the supervision of Prof. Sergio Ulgiati, is focused on the concept of biorefinery for the recovery and reuse of organic waste deriving , mainly, from the food chain, in a circular perspective. This perspective thus acts as a link between the agricultural phase of food production, the industrial phase of processing and transformation, and the predominantly urban phase of consumption and generation of waste. At the same time, I also deal with circular economy indicators as tools to quantify the benefits (and disadvantages) of implementing circularity paths. These are developed mainly in the urban context and examined through the integration of different methods of analysis, recognizing the particular complexity of the concept of circular economy, which needs multi-level analysis to be satisfactorily evaluated.

What is your specific contribution to the research activities of the project? What are the possible applications of this research in the future?
So far, my contribution to the project has gone from evaluating processes that already show the circularity characteristics that we hope will be increasingly widespread in the future, such as electricity, biofuel and animal meal generation from the treatment of slaughterhouse waste, the assessment of circular economies scenarios developed on the basis of the City of Naples and the integration of different methods of analysis to encourage a multi-approach prospective to the evaluation of circular economy practices.
I am also involved, together with the University, in a project concerning the creation of urban forests within the area of the Metropolitan City of Naples, with the aim of increasing livability, reducing smog and pollution and avoiding the island effect of heat in urban environments.

During the course of the project, you have carried out a research period in China. How do you evaluate your experience in China? What added value has it brought to your professional experience?
I spent a period of about 40 days around in China, passing through Beijing, Sanya, Guangzhou and Macau, during which I participated in several conferences on the theme of the Circular Economy and the events of the Italy-China week; I attended and held seminars at the Normal University of Beijing and collaborated with many young researchers, both Chinese and non-Chinese, in a spirit of sharing and mutual help. I also had the opportunity to learn about the management and disposal of waste in commercial and industrial sites and in general to approach a development model that is very different from what is currently adopted by the Western economy, where there are certainly contradictions related to sustainability and energy supply sources (China is one of the world’s largest markets for renewable technologies, but still relies heavily on coal) but it also presents many elements to look at with interest, such as the high consideration of research and the prospect of achieving the exit from poverty for large parts of the population.

What do you think are the most interesting aspects of the Chinese system for an Italian researcher?
I saw the greater involvement of the Chinese academic community in the institutional and governmental sphere, despite the political approach so different from what we are used to. For a young Italian researcher it is very fascinating to see the recognition of the work and the activities carried out, which can also lead to achieve a brilliant career in a very short period of time. Another positive note is the amount and ease of access to funds to conduct research activities, including moments of international confrontation such as conferences. The work of young researchers, both Chinese and non-Chinese, that I have known is very close and intense and requires considerable commitment, but it allows a consistent degree of participation and involvement also in international contexts.