Our research areas are:

Decentralised cooperation is promoted by local governments and complements bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Its distinctive feature is the development of a new policy of development cooperation focused on the involvement of different actors. Local authorities, universities, trade associations, cooperatives and civil society organisations of a particular area cooperate, according to their specificity and expertise, with counterparts in "other" territories to promote together processes of development and mutual growth.

Decentralised cooperation adopts a community based approach to ensure that planning of development interventions is based on the needs, priorities and resources of an area. It favours participation, dialogue and strengthening of the capacity of local actors to ensure in the "other" territories development processes that promote endogenous and sustainable solutions. It aims to strengthen in its own territory a culture of solidarity and attention to the values of the “other” through awareness raising and the facilitation of contacts and links between corresponding actors in different territories in order to promote mutual knowledge and partnerships.

Between the late ‘90s and the early years of the new millennium, Trentino started four international decentralised cooperation programmes in partnership with four local communities: Prijedor (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Peja/Pec (Kossovo), Caia (Mozambique) and Kraljevo (Serbia). These four programmes, called “Trentino with”, represent a decentralised cooperation policy characterised by high levels of creativity and experimentation. They bring innovation and provide a wealth of practices on which to reflect and from which lessons can be learned that are of value to both decentralised cooperation initiatives promoted by Trentino and more generally by other local authorities nationally and internationally. This area of research includes the following research projects:

  • Evaluation of the four decentralised cooperation programmes "Trentino with";
  • Research on the effects and impacts in Trentino of social networks promoted by decentraliced cooperation;


Trentino international development sector is characterised by a multiplicity of actors, more than 270 organisations, religious groups, foundations that implement development projects in several countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe and promote awareness raising and development education in Trentino. These actors are an important asset for Trentino and in many cases develop innovative approaches and strategies in their development work. Considering the changes that have taken place and that will happen both locally and globally as a result of the economic crisis, migration and the emergence of new actors and approaches in the development sector, it is important to build a complete picture of actors and trends in the Trentino development sector and to monitor it periodically. At the same time, projects implemented provide an opportunity to learn from practices facilitating reflection, documentation and sharing. This area of research includes the following research projects:

  • Periodic surveys on Trentino international development sector to highlight motivations, values and approaches of development actors and identify future trends
  • Action research to produce periodic collections of case studies on specific issues


The General Assembly of the United Nations declared the year 2012 "International Year of Cooperatives" recognising that cooperatives, in their various forms, promote participation and have the potential to contribute to socio-economic development, poverty eradication, employment creation and the promotion of social integration. There is an open invitation to all organisations involved in the pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals to address the issue of cooperatives and their potential for the construction of a better world. The fact that Trentino is characterised by a strongly locally rooted cooperative movement and by the presence of cooperatives in almost all economic sectors of activity make Trentino a truly "cooperative district" like few other experiences in the world. Because of this success, Trentino receives numerous requests to support cooperative movements in different parts of the world. It is thus important to start processes of reflection and research on cooperative initiatives in international development to:

  • study how cooperatives interact with existing social structures and what is their contribution to socio-economic development and to dynamics of inclusion in an area
  • provide insights on what aspects of analysis should be considered in the definition of initiatives to create and/or support cooperative enterprises

This area of research includes the following research projects:
  • 1. Networks of change or networks of power? Relational analysis of a cooperative experience in the Northeast of Brazil