SAR Italy 

SAR Sections are groups of higher education institutions and associations operating in a given national territory, and that actively collaborate towards the protection of at-risk scholars and of academic freedom. This aim is achieved mainly in two ways. 

  • Development of strategies to protect at-risk scholars at the SAR member institutions by arranging different kinds of temporary research positions and by fostering scholars’ inclusion in the academic community, so that they can continue their research activities. National sections facilitate the sharing of best practices and difficulties related to protection initiatives. Moreover, they facilitate the dialogue with national and regional institutions in order to increase the resources required to make these projects sustainable for the host universities.
  • Creation of communication channels with other national sections in Europe, US and Canada in order to promote protection, advocacy and learning activities related to academic freedom. National sections and universities can foster relationships with local or international associations, for instance with Council for At-Risk Academics - CARA (UK), Scholar Rescue Fund (US), the New University in Exile Consortium (US), Threatened Scholars Integration Initiative (OSUN-TSI) . 

 Therefore, the membership with a national section facilitates the engagement of the single university at both national and international levels. In detail, this participation allows to:

  1. Work together to inform the academic community, political institutions and civil society on violations of university autonomy and academic freedom overall around the world. This activity can be pursued through conferences, seminars, or summer/winter schools.
  2. Organize fundraising events in order to activate scholarships dedicated to at-risk scholars.
  3. Join international monitoring projects on academic freedom or initiatives for the development of hosting strategies at the European level. For example, see the project Inspire Europe
  4. Promote learning activities aimed at developing specific competencies within the universities on hosting at-risk scholars and favouring their integration within the hosting community, also involving students.

The Italian section of Scholars at Risk was officially launched on the 19 February 2019, under the initiative of the University of Padova and the University of Trento. During that occasion, the first National Assembly was also held with 14 member universities. In 2021, Scholars at Risk - Italy had 30 members, which include Italian higher education institutions, research centres and scientific associations. In constituting SAR Italy, the governance of member institutions, as well as researchers, educators, students and administrative personnel sends a strong message of solidarity to scholars and institutions that experience situations whereby academic freedom is at stake, and research, educational and ‘third mission’ activities are constrained. SAR Italy founding principles reaffirm the importance of freedom of research, teaching and learning, as well as of university’s institutional autonomy as fundamental principles, not only for the academic community, but also for the whole civil society. In particular, SAR Italy principles refers to:

  • Art. 33.1, of the Italian Constitution, where the freedom of Arts and Science and the freedom of their teaching are recognized;
  • Art. 13 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which states “The arts and scientific research shall be free of constraint. Academic freedom shall be respected”;
  • Art. 15.3, of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966), which states that “The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research and creative activity.”

SAR Italy is organized around a coordination and a steering committee.

Coordination (2019-2021; 2021-2023)
University of Trento and University of Padova.

Steering Committee (2021-2023)
Scuola Normale Superiore, University of Padova, University of Roma ‘La Sapienza’, University of Torino, University of Trento, University of Trieste.

SAR Italy members
Visit SAR Italy's webpage for updates on SAR Italy membership.

During the 2019 National Assembly (Trento, 11 December) and the 2021 Assembly (online, 8 March), six working groups were established to concretely address specific activities and to involve SAR members other than those in the steering committee. Members of the steering committee are involved in each of the working groups:

  1. WG - Hosting
    Coordinated by Carla Savastano (University of Trieste). Mandate: Hosting and protection of at-risk scholars and development of activities aimed at increasing their inclusion within the academic community and the hosting society.
  2. WG - Outreach, lobbying and fundraising
    Coordinated by Ester Gallo (University of Trento). Mandate: Building and reinforcing relationships with public institutions, no profit organizations and private institutions at local, regional, national and international levels. 
  3. WG - Advocacy
    Coordinated by Claudia Padovani e Francesca Helm (University of Padova). Mandate: advocacy initiatives in order to promote and protect academic freedom, also with regards to concrete situations involving scholars and/or students.
  4. WG - Learning and Events
    Coordinated by Lorenzo Bosi (Scuola Normale Superiore). Mandate: Organizing public events, debates and learning initiatives as a national section, in particular: annual conference, Autumn Speaker Series, round tables and thematic seminars.
  5. WG - Research
    Coordinated by Barbara Gagliardi (University of Torino) e Amos Bertolacci (Scuola IMT Alti Studi Lucca). Mandate: promoting a scientific and interdisciplinary discussion on academic freedom.
  6. WG - Communication (not defined).

List of members of the national board

At a national level, since 2018 several Universities have hosted scholars thanks to temporary protection programs. These Universities are: University of Padova (info), Scuola Normale Superiore (info), University of Milano Statale, Scuola Sant’Anna di Pisa and University of Roma ‘La Sapienza’. Based on these experiences - and thanks to the working group “WG Hosting and Support” coordinated by Carla Savastano from the University of Trieste - SAR Italy elaborated a Hosting Vademecum. The document aims at providing useful guidelines in order to facilitate the inclusion of scholars selected for protection programs. The Vademecum (in Italian) is available upon request. 


application/pdfSAR Italia Principi(PDF | 325 KB)
application/pdfReport annuale 2019(PDF | 8 MB)
application/pdfReport annuale 2020(PDF | 2 MB)


Co-ordinators of SAR Italy

Ester Gallo
Università di Trento
Delegate for Academic and International Solidarity; Scholars at Risk – Italy Co-coordinator and member of the SAR International Advisory Committee. 
Department of Sociology and Social Research
Via Verdi 26 - 38122 Trento (Italia)
Email: [at]
Phone: 0039 0461 281375.

Claudia Padovani
Department of Political Science, Law and International Studies, and member of the European Coordinating Committee for Academic Freedom Advocacy
Università degli Studi di Padova
Via del Santo 28
Padova, 35123
claudia.padovani [at]

Francesca Helm
Department of Political Science, Law and International Studies, Università degli Studi di Padova
Via del Santo 28
Padova, 35123
francesca.helm [at]