Turin Observatory on Economic Law and Innovation

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Cristina Poncibò, Riccardo de Caria.

Altri collaboratori o partner

Research fellows: Francesca Bichiri, Oscar Borgogno, Letizia Coppo, Riccardo de Caria, Marco Giraudo, Umberto Nizza, Silvia Martinelli, Geo Magri, Andrea Piletta Massaro, Cristina Poncibò, Elena Tirrito, Shaira Thobani.

Associate fellows: Enrico Goitre, Lucio Scudiero

Dipartimenti / Centri di ricerca Coinvolti

Dipartimento di Giurisprudenza, Università di Torino
Dipartimento di Informatica, Università di Torino


Francesca Bichiri, Oscar Borgogno, Marco Giraudo, Andrea Piletta Massaro


The mission of the Observatory is to advance knowledge in all the innovation-related areas of the law. The relationship between the two is bidirectional, as the legal framework certainly influences the development of innovation, but innovation urges at its turn the law to adapt and evolve. The Observatory intends to cast light on that relationship and improve its smoothness as well as the mutual benefits it is likely to entail.
The aim of our team is to help all the innovation market players (lawyers, future lawyers, academics, technologists, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders) find some common grounds and fruitfully cooperate in the continuous advance of progress in the most efficient way but within a framework of legal certainty.

The concept of innovation has become broader, across fields and eras, both in terms of ‘means’ and ‘ends’. The mainstream literature emphasizes the role of technological development as a driver of economic change and performance. Looking beyond the mere technological and economic aspects, the concept of social innovation emphasizes social processes as ‘means’ and social purposes as ‘ends’.
Thus, our initiative is a response to the increasingly complex and uncertain regulatory environment with respect to technological and social innovation and their interplay in a global and comparative perspective.
In the absence of truly comprehensive or integrated legal education or research programmes in Italy dealing with law and innovation, we identified a critical need for a dynamic, collaborative research and teaching hub, in order to help build a shared understanding of the field, and a launch pad for efforts to advance reflection on regulatory and policy initiatives, on which the Observatory plans to comment and promote informed debates. We aim at establishing a neutral forum where policymakers, builders, researchers, legal thinkers and the public can come together to discuss, learn, and share their insights.
We thus seek to provide an open discussion forum for policymakers, technologists and academics, while also acting as an information hub for participants to monitor, review, analyse, and discuss regulatory, legislative and policy developments in technological and social innovation.

At the Observatory, we believe:

  • that technological and social innovation represent a unifying new paradigm for legal research;
  • that legal education should be redesigned to take into account the scientific, social and political developments of our times;
  • in the need for a comparative approach to law & innovation;
  • in the necessity of adopting an interdisciplinary approach in research. We seek to work on solutions that cut across boundaries of cultures, disciplines, and institutions;
  • that the driving forces of research are excellence, cooperation and enthusiasm.

Argomenti oggetto di ricerca

The projects of the Observatory broadly fall into the following areas:

  • Technology (Data driven law; Data and private law; Code driven law; Digitalisation; Blockchain and Smart Contracts; AI; IoT; Automation);
  • Markets (Disruptive Innovation; Innovation, Law & Markets; Consumers & Innovation; FinTech, InsurTech);
  • Society (Technology for social good; Social Innovation)


The Observatory intends to realise a wide range of different activities: it will promote its own agenda and will also benefit from the vibrant set of already existing activities in the Turin environment, for which it will provide a potentially unitary and unifying framework.

More specifically, we plan to:

  • engage in cutting-edge legal research in the field of law and innovation. We intend to gather together, under a common umbrella, works published independently by the affiliated members, to possibly publish previously unpublished works, in the form of working papers (also by external authors), and to keep track of existing publications all over the world on the field of law and innovation;
  • promote an international peer-reviewed, open access journal under the tentative name of Turin Journal of Comparative Economic Law & Innovation (to be hosted on the platform SIRIO of the University of Turin);
  • regularly host / organize conferences and seminars, also in connection with the journal, both online and in presence. The observatory is already organizing a first short series of seminars by young scholars at the University of Turin on a relevant topic in the public debate. In the future, we will also work in connection and join efforts with the LLM in Trade Law offered by the ITC-ILO, and possibly also with the similar program on intellectual property;
  • offer short courses, winter / summer schools, and possibly in the future master’s degrees for graduate students and professionals;
  • disseminate our activities through a newsletter;
  • be active on the main social networks (certainly Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook), also in order to build an open, collaborative online community and encourage contributions and insights;
  • attract visiting fellows from abroad, offering them an opportunity to spend some time in Torino. Ideally, the Observatory could establish itself as a pole of attraction for researchers in the field, and could apply for some of the many funding opportunities for mobility programmes (starting from Eu programs such as the Marie-Curie);
  • occasionally take side in the public debate, by issuing position papers or otherwise taking part in it, on issues particularly topical and relevant in the area of law and innovation.

Corsi e didattica

On top of the teaching activities mentioned in the section just above, the observatory will be involved in the educational workshop “Start-up Legal Lab”, that is poised to become the “Entrepreneurship and Innovation Law Clinic”, coordinated by Dr Riccardo de Caria and Prof Cristina Poncibò


For the moment, some events that have already been organised by some of the perspective members, and that could be framed under the observatory label, are the following ones: