European Ph.D on Social Representations and Communication
Description of the co-ordinating M.C.T.S.

UNIVERSITY OF ROME "LA SAPIENZA" - ITALY
DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY OF DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIALISATION PROCESSES
via dei Marsi, 78 - 00185 ROMA ITALIA tel.: 0039-6- 4991-7544; fax: 0039-6-4991-7652

Euro PhD national tutor and scientific co-ordinator: Prof. Annamaria de Rosa

The University of Rome "La Sapienza" training site is the co-ordinator of the Euro PhD on Social Representation and Communication (see http://www.europhd.psi.uniroma1.it). The Euro PhD is co-ordinated by prof. Annamaria de Rosa from the Department of Psychology of Development and Socialisation Processes at the Faculty of Psychology.

The University of Rome "La Sapienza", founded in 1303, is one of the oldest universities in Europe and, with its 180,000 students, one of the largest (see http://www.uniroma1.it). Internationally, it has more than 300 bilateral agreements with other European Universities under the Socrates programme promoted by DGXXII and numerous intergovernmental agreements with universities world-wide. It is one of the founding member universities of the Euro PhD on Social Representation and Communication and is currently responsible for both its scientific co-ordination and administration. The University of Rome's strong commitment to the Euro PhD project is shown by its co-funding of DGXII-approved activities and by its recent funding of a multi-media laboratory and teaching room specifically for the training of students involved in the Euro PhD.

The Euro PhD training site is physically located within the Faculty of Psychology of the University. The Faculty of Psychology, which has 15.000 undergraduates and more than 200 postgraduates enrolled in its degree, masters and doctoral courses, has a total of 132 academic staff. It provides comprehensive training in the various fields of psychology (social and organisational, experimental, educational and developmental (see http://www.psi.uniroma1.it).

The Euro PhD training site is part of the Department of Psychology of Development and Socialisation Processes, a department covering the full range of academic research areas of social and developmental psychology. The Department has 55 academic staff members - of which 16 are full professors, 12 are associate professors and 27 are research fellows. There are at present a total of 12 doctoral students and 3 post-doctoral fellows working in the department. There are 6 staff members for secretarial/administrative duties and 6 technicians. There are 9 research areas covered by the department: (1) cognitive, affective and social development processes, (2) institutions and processes of socialisation, (3) developmental knowledge construction and transmission processes, (4) social interaction, communication and language, (5) social and environmental representations, social categorisation and inter-group relations, (6) normative context and behaviour, (7) adaptation disorders, psychopathological disorders arising from psychic conflict and interpersonal relations, (8) research and treatment techniques, (9) historical and epistemological issues. As well as the Euro PhD, doctoral training is offered by the Department in the areas of Development and Socialisation and Juridical Psychology (see http://dip38.psi.uniroma1.it).

The Euro PhD Training site within the Department belongs to the social psychology research area:

  • 3 full professors
  • 6 associate professors
  • 2 senior researchers

Euro PhD students will also, where necessary, collaborate with other experts at the department in related areas:

  • Social research statistics and methodology
  • Sociology of Communication and Media Studies
  • Visual Anthropology
  • Criminology
  • Work Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Developmental Psychology and Family Relations

The relevant research areas developed in the area of social representations are listed below:

  • National and supranational identities and social representations of the EU and its member states
  • Multi media genres and communication: attitudes towards new technology and social representations
  • Persuasive effects of advertising through traditional channels and by internet
  • Social representations of the urban and natural environment and its impact in the media
  • Social representations of and in organisational contexts and work psychology
  • The construction of social knowledge in children about societal issues: economics, politics
  • Social representations of mental illness
  • Public health and management of living resources in specific periods of the life-cycle: adolescence, ageing
  • Social representations of the family structure, interpersonal relations
  • Social cognition and related processes
  • Normative contexts and representations of the social norm
  • Social representations of the juridical system and applied psychology
  • Communication, language and rhetoric
  • Language, rhetoric and cognitive processes

Research undertaken at the site employs a wide range of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, including experimental, observational and non-verbal work, survey research and interviews. The expertise available in the Department in all these methodologies provides a strong context for implementing the training available for Marie Curie Fellows. Innovative methodologies, which integrate projective and structural techniques and multi-method approaches into the study of Social Representations, have been specifically designed at the Euro PhD Traning Site by its co-ordinator (see for example: the 'associative network')

Alongside departmental administrative staff, the EuroPhD training site has its own dedicated human resources for the administration of the Euro PhD:

  • 1 full time scientific secretary,
  • 1 part-time institutional secretary at Faculty level,
  • 2 part-time language assistants,
  • 4 grant-aided part-time collaborators,
  • 1 part-time engineer (PhD in computer science) dedicated to the Euro PhD server,
  • 3 external service computer assistance agencies.

The Euro PhD research group of the training site is internationally renowned for its research on social representations. A selection of its international, national and current research activities is listed in the dedicated web pages of the Italian national tutor.

Prof. Annamaria de Rosa, who is the leader of the University of Rome training site and co-ordinator of the entire Euro PhD project, is Professor of Psychology of Attitudes and Opinions at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Rome. She has a longstanding national and international reputation for research in social representations and communication and has written numerous publications in national and international journals (see above description of research and selected publications). In 1996 she was appointed to the Rome University Committee for Scientific Research as national expert for the evaluation (research projects funded by M.U.R.S.T. and as an international expert for the evaluation of scientific research in Canada by the FCAR (Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l'Aide a la Recherche).

Prof. de Rosa has considerable experience on implementation and management of scientific networks and institutional co-operation both within and outside the EU. She has been responsible for the orientation, selection, training and evaluation of Italian and foreign psychology students from 17 EU universities involved in Erasmus PIC mobility programmes (93-94-95/3074/14) and subsequent Socrates programmes. In 1996 she was designated for representing Italy on the European Commission for the Development of the European Doctorate supported by DGXXII. She represents the Faculty of Psychology on the University Committee for European and International programmes. She is currently the delegate of the Rector of the University of Rome for the European Socrates programme. In this capacity she has represented the University of Rome at numerous EU-organised higher education conferences. She is the scientific responsible of the project entitled "Azioni innovative per lo sviluppo del dottorato europeo: European PhD on social representations and Communication", approved by MURST (Italian Ministry for University, Scientific Research and Technology) under the action "Internazionalizzazione del sistema universitario" (Art 7 - D.M. 21.06.99) and co-funded by University of Rome "La Sapienza" (contract no. 1100268279).

Given the wide range of research topics studied by Euro PhD students, access is provided to all the University and Departmental facilities and resources needed to meet students' needs. These include:

  • Students have access to the Library of the Faculty of Psychology (19,000 volumes, 440 periodicals, 250 tests) and the Library of the Institute of Psychology of the National Research Council (17,000 volumes, 443 periodicals); students may also use other university faculty libraries if necessary.
  • Computing facilities are available in all departmental offices and include both IBM-PC type and Macintosh computers. The department has a computer room for exclusive use of doctoral students. All computers are fully networked to the Internet and library catalogues. Word processing and data analysis programmes (e.g. Word; Excel) are available on request. Doctoral students are given special computer training in the use of specialist software packages and statistical analysis such as SPSS, SPAD-T, DISCAN, LISREL, ALCESTE, etc.. Induction courses to the Internet and the Euro PhD web-site are also given.
  • A new multi-media laboratory and open distance learning/teaching room specifically for the training of Euro PhD students is currently being built. This multi-media laboratory has been set up with the technical support of EuroPACE 2000. This support started out as a VirtUE project funded by EC under Trans-European Telecommunications Networks-ISDN. The Department also has laboratories for technology and discourse interaction, social psychology, child observation, communication and language research and a video-recording laboratory with extensive videotape editing facilities and transcription equipment.
  • Technical support is available from department technicians. The technicians also co-ordinate the loan of department tape recorders, video recorders and lap-top computers to doctoral students. Doctoral students may also use the Department's fax, telephone and photocopying facilities for research purposes by agreement with their supervisor.

Italian graduate students studying for the doctoral programme in social psychology follow the standard Italian national PhD system involving courses, seminars and a final PhD thesis. As outlined in the training description, all Euro PhD research students from Italy and from abroad work under the supervision of the national tutor, currently prof. Annamaria de Rosa. Students are provided with:

  • individual bibliographic training sessions
  • individual tutoring on the research project on demand
  • distance tutoring and co-tutoring
  • monthly group monitoring sessions
  • forum discussion and video-conferencing
  • individual and group training for research project presentation
  • yearly International Summer School with all Euro PhD students

Of the doctoral students - succesfully trained in Rome under the Euro PhD since 1996 - one (dr. Andrew Smith) achieved a Marie Curie Training fellowship for a stay of 12 months at London School of Economics (contract n¡ ERB4001GT963929) and three others (dr. Sabina Gramigna, Salvatore D'Amore, Livia Bruscagloni and Paszkal Kiss) obtained a grant by public or private Foundations for their 1 year stays abroad respectively in Switzerland, France and Italy.
Two others (dr. Serranito Nunes and Ida Sirolli) have already been appointed by research centres at business organisations for telecommunication.
Among the students enrolled in the first year of the European Doctorate on Social Representations and Communication two others (dr. Max Gigling, Montpellier; Elfried Penz, Vienna) have become university researchers respectively in Canada (University of Montreal, C.I.R.A.D.E.) and in Austria (University of Wien). One of the most recently enrolled (dr. Bocci Elena) has been recently appointed as research assistant for courses in computer aided data analysis for textual data at the Department P.P.S.S. (University of Rome "La Sapienza") and another (Tina Maria Nebe) has been accepted as doctoral student at European Institute of Florence with the support of a German Foundation.