1st RESTART Camp on Soft Skills

 Leadership, Team Working and Public Speaking for a Research Career
A Soft Skills 4 Research (
S24R) Initiative
Bologna, January 29 - February 2, 2024
The camp will be held in via Paolo Nanni Costa 20, the CNIT/WiLab headquarter in Bologna
The RESTART program, within its Education & Training mission, aims at shaping a new generation of researchers having the skills required to tackle with the evolution of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This general goal includes actions towards the development of soft skills of different types. This initiative is dedicated to relational/social skills.
The event is composed of a training part (Monday, Jan 29 - Thursday, Feb. 1) and a Dissemination Day (Friday, Feb. 2).
The training initiative is intended for Early Stage Researchers (ESR): graduates, PhD Students, post-docs, junior researchers and anyone willing to strengthen their relational/social skills to succeed in their research career. It is open to ESRs from STEM and non STEM disciplines, even outside the borders of the RESTART program. In particular, leadership, team working and public speaking are the focus of the initiative. With this purpose, the program also includes elements of emotional intelligence, human communication and other fundamental relational/social skills.
During the Dissemination Day, all participants from RESTART will present in a public event their research result, with the scope to make the presentation understandable also by the non esperts. As long as the speech will prove acquisition of the presentation skills taught in the course, the participant will get a written statement useful for credit assignment (36 hours) within own institutions (e.g. PhD programs).
The whole program will consist of highly interactive sessions, with discussions, assessments and individual contributions. Participation is only allowed in presence.



Alice Bongiorni   

Alice Bongiorni has been helping companies build purpose-driven brands and become more innovative for almost two decades.
Currently, she serves as a Trainer and Facilitator, specializing in soft skill training and development. Her expertise extends to vision setting, team collaboration, culture design, transformational leadership, system thinking, agility, and human-centred design.
Her mission is to help people and organizations creatively solve complex problems, accelerate change, and embrace the long game.


Michela Catenacci 

Michela Catenacci is communication consultant and lecturer in research centres, universities, schools and companies on issues mainly related to: public speaking, knowledge dissemination, conflict management and decision analysis, emotional intelligence and communication.
She is TEDx organizer and curator, and speakers’ coach. She was Director of Communication and Research for the Valore D association of companies. Michela holds a PhD in Analysis and Governance of Sustainable Development and has a long international experience in research on climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, with a focus on complex decision analysis.

Roberto Verdone   

Roberto Verdone is Full Professor of Telecommunications at the University of Bologna, and Director of WiLab, the National Laboratory of Wireless Communications of CNIT. Since 2010, he teaches courses on soft skills at the University of Bologna. He leads the project Soft Skills 4 Success, oriented at talent assessment, in collaboration with experts of human resources. He is TEDx speaker and give speeches on the role of digital innovation at business fora. In the context of the National RESTART program, he coordinates all tasks on Education and Training. This includes the provision of courses on soft skills.


50€ for the first 30 participants, 200€ for the others.
Payment must be made within one week of registration otherwise the registration will be canceled.

The ticket will be validated by e-mail after verification of payment.

Account holder: Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Telecomunicazioni (CNIT)

Bank: Credit Agricole S.p.A. Sede Centrale di Parma 1 - Via Università N.1/A - 43100 Parma
Bank codes: ABI: 06230 – CAB: 12700 – CIN: B – C/C: 000036171682
IBAN: IT28B0623012700000036171682
Swift: CRPPIT2P452
Bank transfer description: SURNAME AND NAME – RESTART Camp on Soft Skills January 2024

the maximum number of tickets each person can take is 1.  Everyone must sign up with their own email and cannot take the ticket for other people.

The registration includes:
   - training material
   - two coffee breaks and one buffet lunch per day (five days)
   - final assessment


What is a soft skill? Is it innate, or can it be learned? Why soft skills are so relevant, and which ones are the most important?
The role of soft skills in the successful career of a researcher is discussed. Also, the importance of soft skills in the different roles that a telecommunications engineer can take, are discussed, starting from the indications offered by the HR departments of the RESTART companies.

Cognitive Styles
According to Daniel Kahneman, individuals can be split into two categories: Humans, and Econs. Each of the two has specific cognitive styles: how they behave in front of other people, as a reaction to external stimuli, and when a decision has to be taken, depends on the category. In this lecture block, participants will first realize the difference between a Human and an Econ, then tests will be made for each participant to learn which category they belong to. Additional aspects of behavioral psychology will be introduced to complete the block dedicated to cognitive styles.

Participants will be asked to present themselves to the other participants and to the mentors in the most informal way possible, in 60 seconds, displaying one single slide. The scope of the presentation is for them to introduce themselves, show their personality, and describe their professional ambitions and life passions. Mentors will assess initial participants' para-verbal and non-verbal capacities.

Emotional Intelligence
In an increasingly complex and constantly changing world, the ability to recognize and positively manage emotions emerges as a key skill for personal and professional development. Acquiring greater emotional intelligence means making more informed and sustainable decisions, achieving high performance, and building strong interpersonal relationships. In this lecture block, participants will learn how to practice emotional intelligence in their everyday life, applying specific tools based on a model of constant learning and development.

Human Communication
The fundamental principles of human communication will be revised, starting with Paul Watzlawick. Their application to situations of daily professional life, like job interviews and one-to-one meetings, will be discussed.

Para/Non-Verbal Communication
The main purpose of this lecture block is to provide a range of tools to improve expressive and communicative abilities. Through practical and engaging activities, this training block works on raising awareness of the communicative power of the body and voice, on their crucial role in building trust and empathy between the speaker and their audience.

Public Speaking
How can I prepare and deliver an inspiring speech? How can I illustrate complex issues in a clear and informative way? How can I support my ideas, illustrate them through solid and clear arguments and convince the interlocutor with an assertive and non-aggressive approach? Which language ​​helps me communicate in an empathetic and engaging way? This lecture block teaches the participants how to structure a successful talk, starting by the criteria for selecting the core idea and key elements of the speech.

The art of persuading others is a fundamental building block for many relational soft skills, like leadership, teamwork, and public speaking. The lecture block will analyze the main instruments to obtain the attention of, and persuade others. The concepts of pre-suasion introduced by Robert Cialdini will be discussed.

Team Collaboration
In the dynamic landscape of modern organizations, talents and innovative ideas are abundant. However, what often seems to be in short supply is a nurturing culture that can harness and channel these talents and ideas into effective collaboration. But what does it take to foster a culture of collaboration? This course equips individuals and teams with techniques to nurture trust and cooperation, navigate conflicts, and reach consensus-based decisions - therefore creating an environment where effective collaboration is not just encouraged but thrives.

Team Problem Solving
This program provides a dynamic and interactive learning experience that empowers participants with the mindset, holistic perspective, and knowledge required to effectively address complex challenges within group settings. It not only assists participants in accurately defining and framing problems - ensuring a comprehensive grasp of the issues at hand -but also introduces a range of problem-solving techniques and tools - including brainstorming, interaction graph analysis, and root cause analysis.

Storytelling for Leadership
Storytelling is deeply ingrained in our human evolution. Through stories, we've learned about the intricacies of the world and how to navigate our communities. When we encounter a compelling story, something extraordinary happens – our brains resonate, and we are activated on a profound level. It's through this process that we learn, find inspiration, and are moved to take action. This course will help you discover the power of storytelling, revealing how it can energize your leadership journey and motivate others.

Among the ingredients of competence, aptitudes are those more complex to change, as they are embedded into the individuals' personality. The first step to improve is to know yourself. This lecture block will propose a number of tests whose scope is to support participants in learning about themselves and their aptitudes.

During this slot, the mentors will support individually the participants in preparing the presentation they will give in the afternoon.

Public Speaking Event
Conceived as a dissemination event, each participant will describe their research work and goals through a presentation, using PowerPoint slides and acting the talk according to the hints provided by the mentor. The speeches will be offered to the whole RESTART community online and to a number of other researchers and Professors in presence. This speech will give participants the possibility to test themselves with respect to the public speaking capacities acquired throughout the week, and will also give to the mentors the possibility to assess the outcome of the participants' efforts, for certification purposes.