Maria Sangiuliano


Maria is a senior gender expert, CEO and Research Director at Smart Venice. She has 20 years’ experience in designing and executing EU funded projects focused on mainstreaming gender particularly in the areas of innovation policies, employment and education, with a focus on intersectionality and multicultural integration.

She holds a PhD in Cognitive and Learning Studies, a Master Degree in Migration Studies and a Master in Training Policies and Methodologies (all dissertations on gender related subjects) and her education has been complemented with a Summer School at Central European University on Feminist Intersectionality and a Training Course at ILO (International Labor Organization) on Gender Audit Methodology.

From 2016 to July 2019 she has been a Senior Research Fellow at Ca’ Foscari University (Department of Computer Sciences) in charge of implementing the EQUAL-IST H2020 project supporting 7 Research Organizations in conducting internal gender audits and co-design their Gender Equality Plans. In the same framework, she has coordinated face to face and mutual learning sessions among partners as well as a webinar series on implementing structural change for gender equality in ICT-IST institutions.

Very active in EU level networking and knowledge sharing activities, she has been leading the Action Cluster on Citizen Engagement at the EIP European Innovation Partnership Smart Cities and Communities since 2014 until today. Maria is in this framework in charge of designing and promoting a webinars’ series with the organizational support of the EIP management team, as well as EU level workshops and policy outreach activities and events on inclusive smart cities and communities.

Maria been employed at ECWT (European Centre for Women and Technology) as Senior Project Manager and Researcher between 2014 and 2016 where she coordinated gender mainstreaming actions within the SeiSMiC FP7 Project on social innovation in cities, as well as the H2020 WeHubs project research actions on engendering digital start-ups ecosystems, delivering surveys and toolkits for incubators and accelerators to enable them to integrate a gender approach in their operations and services.

Calogero Lo Giudice


Calogero has a degree in Economics of Tourism Management at Ca’ Foscari University and an MA in Project Management at the University of Padua. He has extensive experience in communications and events organizations, being the founder and CEO of two cooperatives between 1990-2007 organizing festivals, exhibitions, and events for local authorities in the Veneto, Puglia and Sicily Regions and through international collaborations with Ministries of Culture and Foundations in Hungary and Romania. With Maria Sangiuliano in 2007 he co-lead the production of multimedia digital tools to contrast gender stereotypes targeting upper secondary schools’ students within the ESF- EQUAL PONTI project. From 2007- 2013 he has been working at the City of Venice Government as head of the Secretariat of the Councilor for Cultural and Environmental Affairs, coordinating multiannual programs. Calogero is contributing on management, planning and administrative issues.

Marzia Cescon


Marzia is a young and dynamic professional who after joining Smart Venice in 2018, has contributed to the implementation of all ongoing projects and in drafting new proposals as well. She is also in charge of financial reporting of EU projects. Prior to this,  Marzia had already been for three years a Junior EU Project Officer at the Veneto Regional Administration where she has worked on a wide array of EU funded projects mainly focused on SMEs, sustainable development and tourism. Her tasks included project management and financial reporting, communication and stakeholders’ engagement activities as well as support to research. She holds a Master Degree in Business Administration as well as a Master Diploma in Global economics and social affairs at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice in partnership with the International Labour Organization, where she graduated with honors. After graduation, Marzia spent some months in Brussels working for the European Delegation of Unioncamere del Veneto, where she got familiar with the European context. At the Veneto Region as Junior Project Officer Marzia is also active in the third sector with an NGO promoting raising awareness activities, such as events and festivals, on global economic, social and environmental issues. She is also volunteer teaching Italian to refugees. Her main research field of interest is the one connected to socio-political issues, inequalities, and intercultural integration.

Oriana Salomon Balsamo

Oriana has experience in consulting and research on public policy, especially in the health and education sectors, as well as in the design, implementation and evaluation of development projects. She has participated in the EU project GE Academy, focused on the capacity building of gender equality in research and innovation. Currently, she is a MA candidate in Local Development at the Università degli Studi di Padova (Italy). Oriana has a Bachelor Degree in Economics in the Universidad del Pacífico (Lima, Perú) and has studied at the ICADE Business School – Comillas Pontifical University (Madrid Spain). Between 2016 and 2020, she worked in Videnza Consultores (Peru) as a senior analyst, conducting consultancies and researches with several national and international organizations. From 2013 to 2015 she worked in the Research Centre of the Universidad del Pacífico. At Smart Venice she is Project manager and researcher, she has contributed as data analyst to the final evaluation report of the GE Academy project as well as to the design of a feasibility study and business model of a Pan European Network of gender trainers. She is also contributing to the CASPER project.

Felicita Pedevilla

Felicita has a bachelor in International Studies and close to get an MA double degree in Sociologyand Social Research from the University of Trento and the University O. Friedrich in Bamberg (DE). Her research interest span from gender equality to interethinic integration and forced displacement and she is specialized in mixed quanti-qualitative methods. She has been collaborating with within several national and regional level projects on gender and employement and a ESF project on work life balance in organizations from a gender perspective. At Smart Venice she is Assistant researcher and project manager mostly but not exclusively contributing to the CASPER project and its bencharking study on compliance of Cettification and awarding systems for gender equality with the Horizon Europe requirement on Gender Equality Plans.

Michelangelo Secchi

Michelangelo Secchi (M) is researcher at the Urban Planning department of the Polytechnic University of Milan where he works on digital social innovations and studies the impact of digital technologies on public policies and democratic systems, divided himself between academic research and field work.

He holds a Degree in History, a Master´s in Public Management and a PhD in Social Sciences, obtained at the Center for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra, and in recent years he has been involved in several R&I innovation projects with both roles of research and management, most of them delivered within the framework of European funding lines and initiatives, including national Ops, H2020, ESPON, EuropAid, INTERREG.

Between 2016 and 2018 he has been scientific coordinator of the H2020 project EMPATIA ( aimed at the development of digital tools to support citizen participation processes and within this project he participated in the design and management of the participatory budget carried out in 2018 in the Municipality of Milan. Between 2019 and 2020 he has been a member of the research team of the PLUS project (, coordinated by the University of Bologna which aims to study the impact of the platform economy on working conditions and life in European cities. Currently he is actively engaged in two ESPON projects (IMAGINE and DIGISER), focused on the spatial analysis of the social impact of the digital transformation of public service delivery. In addition to his extensive research activity, he also brings a relevant field experience as consultant for the public sector in the design and management of democratic innovations and participatory governance strategies of urban space. In the last 15 years he has been involved as consultant in more than 20 democratic innovation projects working, among others, with the Municipality of Milan, Tuscany Region, the Italian Ministry of the Environment, United Cities and Local Government, World Bank, UN-DESA and the Presidency of Brazil.

He is consulting Smart Venice on designing new projects on citizen participation and engagement, after having actively collaborated with Maria Sangiuliano in co-chairing the EU level initiative on Participatory Budgeting for Smart Cities within the Smart Cities Market Place.