Public service providers and the ecological transition

Managing systemic change, innovation, and circularity for decarbonized and sustainable Utilities and Infrastructures

Call for papers and conference in memory of Prof. Andrea Gilardoni

Organised by “Rivista Management delle Utilities e delle Infrastrutture”


The ecological transition requires an overall restructuring of the economy. It encompasses shifting energy production towards clean alternatives, overhauling the transport system to eliminate fossil fuel use, ensuring efficient energy and materials use by adopting circular economy strategies: these challenges require innovating corporate strategies, technology, policy development and implementation, and behavioural change. These innovations must be pursued by applying systems thinking to ensure that environmental outcomes enter the fundamental equations of the economy. The goal is to maximize a new social utility function encompassing social welfare, environmental protection, long-term sustainability, and value creation.

Public service providers are at the forefront of this challenge for several structural reasons: they oversee energy generation and supply, which is one of the pillars of the ecological transition; they coordinate and manage industries with a significant environmental impact, such as mobility, waste management, and water supply; they work in close relationship with citizens, being among the most influential actors on the public’s behaviours; they have large critical mass, resulting in a strong negotiating power towards supply chains. For these and numerous other reasons, they are often entrusted to be the transmission mechanism of environmentally oriented public policies.

Public service providers today find themselves at the core of the global agenda for climate change and decarbonisation, but their key role in guiding the economy’s shift towards a more efficient, just, and advanced economy has been clear for many years to practitioners in the field.

Prof. Andrea Gilardoni dedicated his professional and academic career to these topics, grasping their relevance well in advance. His passion for knowledge, his competence, and his commitment made him a clear point of reference for operators of the sectors.

In his research and teaching activities, focused on innovation and change management for public service providers and utilities, it was possible to perceive his great curiosity, his ability to understand the market scenarios, his great passion for academic dissemination, as well as his strong inclination to share and interact with other people.

About one year from his passing, his colleagues and friends, and the institution where he developed his academic life – Bocconi University – would like to commemorate his work with a call for paper and a conference, to carry on the path he traced, with the usual spirit of always setting new goals and continuing to expand the fields of research and knowledge.


Research papers and articles will focus on public service provision, specifically on energy, water, transport infrastructure, environmental services, and waste management.

The research question should focus on how to address one or more of the following main challenges:

  • Digitalizing and innovating public service provision.
  • Decarbonizing public service provision and its effects on the economy.
  • Implementing the circular economy paradigm in public service provision.
  • Managing systemic change towards more sustainable public services.

The topics can be addressed from a policy and/or from a corporate strategy and management standpoint.

In addition to these broad topics, papers can address specific related issues including, but not limited to:

  1. The impacts of ecological transition policy implementation on service delivery
  2. Big data and business analytics for sustainability
  3. Stakeholders, customers, and public engagement
  4. Integrated and shared mobility
  5. Asset sharing for sustainability
  6. New developments in renewable energy
  7. Innovative approaches to energy efficiency
  8. Financing the ecological transition
  9. Smart asset and network management
  10. Innovative energy vectors: hydrogen, green fuels, and chemicals
  11. Tackling energy security and price instability
  12. Innovative recycling
  13. Improving water supply and security
  14. Everything as a service
  15. Re-thinking global value chains for decarbonization and resilience
  16. Organizational strategy, decision making, and leadership
  17. Regulation of public services
  18. Government procurement and outsourcing
  19. Performance indicators and evaluation of public services
  20. Non-market, social, and political strategies

An international perspective is welcomed and encouraged.


The call for papers is aimed at practitioners, researchers, and students with no limitation as to age and background.


The best 3 papers by participants younger than 35 will be awarded a prize:

  • 1° place: 1.500€
  • 2° place: 1.000€
  • 3° place: 500€

Additional awards or special mentions, proposed by the Scientific Committee, may be available. Co-authored papers must indicate the individual contribution of each author. The winners will be announced by the Scientific Committee. The award ceremony will be held on February 16th, 2023 at the NH Hotel City Life Milano (new date!).


Extended abstracts will be evaluated by selected members of the Scientific Committee, with an anonymous referee process, based on:

  • best interpretation of the topics in scope;
  • most innovative research approach and methodology.

The top 3 most promising extended abstracts will be invited to present at the conference “Public service providers and the ecological transition – Managing systemic change, innovation, and circularity for decarbonized and sustainable Utilities and Infrastructures” which will be held at Bocconi University of Milan on July 8th, 2022 in memory of Prof. Andrea Gilardoni, with the presence of high-profile stakeholders.

Full papers will be evaluated by selected members of the Scientific Committee, with a double anonymous referee process, based on:

  • best interpretation of the topics in scope;
  • most innovative research approach and methodology.

All original papers will be considered for publication in a special issue of the Management of Utilities and Infrastructures journal.


Only papers containing original work – neither published by or currently under review for any other journal – will be accepted.

Extended abstracts and full papers will have to abide to the following formatting standards:

Extended abstractFull Paper
Language: Italian or English
File format: .docx, .odt or .rtf
Length: between 1.000 and 1.500 words
Font: Calibri size 12
Line spacing: 1.15
Language: Italian or English
File format: .docx, .odt or .rtf
Length: up to 8.000 words
Font: Calibri size 12
Line spacing: 1.15

The papers must include the following sections:

  • theoretical framework;
  • research question, objectives and original contribution to the research;
  • methodology;
  • results and discussion: theoretical and operational relevance of the results;
  • short bibliography (most relevant titles) not to be included in the word count.

These contents must be clearly synthesized in the extended abstract.


June 15th, 2022

submission of extended abstracts


June 26th, 2022

submission of extended abstracts

June 30th, 2022

notice to the authors selected to present extended abstracts at the conference

July 8th, 2022

conference at Bocconi University. All authors who submitted extended abstracts will be invited

September 30th, 2022

submission of full papers


January 16th, 2023

notice to the winner of “MUI – Andrea Gilardoni young researcher award”


February 16th, 2023

award ceremony at the NH Hotel City Life Milano


Spring 2022/2023

publication of original papers


  • Extended abstracts and papers must be e-mailed to the following address: redazione@rivista-utilities.com
  • Mandatory information to be included in a separate page of the work:
    • Full name of the author(s)
    • Affiliation
    • E-mail address(es)
    • Contact phone number(s)
    • Copy of ID, to qualify for the “MUI – Andrea Gilardoni young researcher award”


A dedicated Scientific Committee is selected and appointed for this call for paper, to monitor and validate the scientific solidity of the initiative. Selected Members of the Scientific Committee will evaluate extended abstract, full papers and nominate the winners of “MUI – Andrea Gilardoni young researcher award”.

  • Alessandro Danovi (President, Università di Bergamo)
  • Barbara Antonioli Mantegazzini (Vice President, Università della Svizzera Italiana)
  • Giovanni Fraquelli (Vice President, Università del Piemonte Orientale)
  • Francesco Perrini (Università Bocconi)
  • Giovanni Valotti (Università Bocconi)
  • Marco Percoco (Centro GREEN, Università Bocconi)
  • Antonio Massarutto (DIES, Università di Udine)
  • Angelo Miglietta (IULM)
  • Alberto Grando (Università Bocconi)
  • Andrea Paci (Università degli Studi di Firenze)
  • Federico Testa (Università di Verona)
  • Angelo Di Gregorio (Università di Milano-Bicocca)
  • Stefania Borghini (Università Bocconi)
  • Ugo Patroni Griffi (Università di Bari)
  • Andrea Colli (Università Bocconi)
  • Fabrizio Zerbini (Università Bocconi)
  • Arianna Vedaschi (Università Bocconi)

The list is constantly expanding, please check for updates as we receive pending confirmations.

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