Communicating responsible innovation in the Italian tanning industry for Design and Fashion

Application deadline: October 10, 2022
Application deadline: October 10, 2022 (you will be redirected to the ECIU website)


Challenge provider UNIC-Concerie Italiane (The Italian Tanners’ Association)
Instructor Roberto Napoli, Ana Rodriguez Prieto, Chiara Trevisin
Period 7 November-13 December 2022
Application deadline October 10, 2022
Expected Class composition Undergraduate, graduate students, researchers from all disciplines
Embedded micro-module Science Communication: How to Engage Your Stakeholders (6 hrs, no additional ECTS)
Challenge The Tanning Industry Challenge
Challenge average workload 1,5 hours a day for 5 days a week ON AVERAGE


About the challenge

The Leather tanning industry is often perceived as particularly resource intensive. In fact, in the last period and particularly in the last years it has steadily drawn inspiration from the UN sustainable development goals, which boosted its vision towards consistent investments in innovation, efficiency and sustainability. These efforts remain however far from social perception.

So, the call to ECIU students is to join us in the lion’s den and discover this intriguing Italian manufacturing industry which combines responsible innovation – despite general perception – with worldwide recognized excellent quality.

About the challenge provider

The Italian Tanners’ Association is the most important association in the world for tanning companies. It has been protecting its associate companies since 1946 and represents a strategic industry, which is a fundamental component of Italy’s manufacturing and economic fabric.

Target Groups

Consumers aged 14 to 40

The challenge

Current state

To improve perception on product and process, amend biased views and address misunderstandings about the Italian leather industry is definitely the challenge of our sector. Join us to find solutions to communicate responsible innovation in the Italian tanning industry for design and fashion.

What we are looking for are ideas and strategies to identify and spread a strong and effective message about the Italian leather and tanning industry. Specifically, we need to reach our most important target group (13-40-year-old people), make them aware about the excellence of our material and make them gain a new confidence on leather products and the whole leather sector.

That’s why we would like to engage university students to build a communication strategy focused on:

  1. leather as a material to convey a message of responsibility and trust
  2. the value of the relation between industrial districts and civil society
  3. product and process innovation for an effective management of the environmental impact
  4. a new impulse and creative solutions to strengthen circularity in the sector.

Assessment and expectations

Desired state

Define a project (social media campaign, strategy to engage consumers or any other) for a better perception of the leather industry and its supply chain as a real powerful fact, enhancing leather’s characteristics as a natural material, considering new trends and needs of consumers, and facing misleading messages from the market, literature and shallow scientific journalism.

Learning offering details

(changes may apply)
Mon 7 Nov16.00Welcome to Trento (ECIU students only)in Trento
Tue 8 Nov17.00-19.00Micromodule on Science Communication, Class 1in Trento
Wed 9 Nov17.00-19.00Micromodule on Science Communication, Class 2in Trento
Thu 10 Nov9.00-12.00On-demand mentorship with Challenge Teamcherin Trento
Thu 10 Nov17.00-19.00
in Trento
Thu 10 Nov19.00-21.00Micromodule on Science Communication, Class 3in Trento
Fri 11 NovWhole dayCompany visits to tanneries, purification plants, waste treatment plantsin Vicenza area
Tue 15 Nov17.00-19.00Teams meet the mentor(s) – Challenge action planonline
Mon 21 Nov19.00-21.00On demand mentorship – Challenge action planonline
Wed 30 Nov17.00-19.00

Team presentations to challenge providers

Tue 6 Dec19.00-21.00On demand mentorship – Challenge action planonline
Mon 12 Dec17.00-19.00On demand mentorship – Challenge action planonline
Tue 13 Dec17.00-19.00
Blended: in person/ online
Other information

Language requirement: English B2 Level, CEFR

Mobility resources

Kick-off, company visit and first meeting are in presence in Trento. The rest of the challenge is online. ECIU students ask for funding information at their home University.

Acquired competencies

  • Understand social perception and match it against company/industry needs and goals;
  • Communication skills: learn to engage your stakeholder;
  • Work in teams;
  • Apply creativity to generate smart ideas;
  • Develop an actionable and sustainable action plan

Contact details

Challenge Coordinator Name & Email address:Roberto Napoli,

Application deadline: October 10, 2022