Giuseppe Guzzetti
2018 Istituto Lombardo - Accademia di Scienze e Lettere - Incontri di Studio  
Paolo Mantegazza started to cooperate with our Foundation in 2006 as a member of the Charity Central Commission, the board competent to the definition of the intervention priorities of the Cariplo Foundation. That occasion, however, was not the first one in which I got to know the professional and human qualities of Paolo Mantegazza. His competence and diligence in favour of the research were in fact well known to me from the early meetings with him, then Rector of the University of Milan. As a
more » ... sity of Milan. As a member of the Charity Commission, he was appointed as Coordinator of the Scientific Research Subcommittee, to which Paolo Mantegazza put an incomparable effort until 2013. During the seven years of cooperation I firmly confirm the commitment and competence of Paolo Mantegazza, and I personally bear witness to the energy and creative impetus he had in himself. He took on his commitment in the Foundation with his typical seriousness, being present at every meeting and becoming available to any further confrontation besides the formal engagement. He has always showed a deep respect for the work of the Foundation, particularly for the Research Area with which he closely cooperated. He was always careful and systematically updated about his research field, as well as the ongoing debates at international level on the research policies and financing. Moreover he always shared with his collaborators the more recent progresses, carefully selected in the fields closer to the activities of the Foundation, bringing always new life to the debate in the Subcommittee. I can say without any doubt that is unusual to find, in personalities of such a distinction and competence, a spirit of cooperation and a sincere willingness to operate personally for the sake of the research, and to ensure the transparency of methods and choices, even when unpopular. I am therefore honored of the invitation I have received, because it gives me the occasion to recall in particular the commitment of Paolo Mantegazza in favour of the new generations and the "frontier" research. I think that an example can clarify the open mindedness and the propensity to innovation that characterized his personality. Paolo was very alert to the role of the financing mechanisms in the development of the creativity in the research. In particular, he was aware of to what extent the financing agencies, the governments and the companies tended to give priority – at the international level and even more in Italy – to lines of action intended to achieve short-term results, driven by the exigence to give account to the public opinion or to maximize their investments. The methods used in the selection of the proposals tend to reward the excellence placing one's trust in subjects who already possess preliminary results or who own a rich curriculum vitae, considered as a guarantee of future success. Besides, Paolo Mantegazza was strongly convinced that strict disciplinary bounds in the distribution of funds could disadvantage the pursuit of interdisciplinary research approaches, which on the contrary represent uncontested opportunities to face complex issues. Just to promote unconventional lines of research and allow the exploration of new frontiers of knowledge, Paolo Mantegazza has firmly pursued and sponsored the birth of a new erogative instrument specifically devoted to the frontier research, dedicated to young researchers, who struggle to affirm original approaches in the context of more traditional funding channels. In our Foundation we consider the "Prize for the frontier research" one of the most significant heritage of the Commissioner Paolo Mantegazza, who in this way has contributed to the creation of a favorable context to the frontier research, essential driver of the scientific and social progress, encouraging the young researchers to undertake unconventional lines of research. I always believed that the treasure that will allow us to face new challenges of our society is really in the dialogue among the various competences that young people are able to express. The importance that Paolo Mantegazza has always recognised to young people, drivers of innovation, has been inherited by one of the three challenges which the new Charity Central Commission took for the current term, besides the community welfare and the well-breng.
doi:10.4081/incontri.2018.364 fatcat:tiabryyyqratdfh6yjh2pxqwfe