On June 7, 2009 Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei celebrated its 20th anniversary, a key milestone in FEEM’s history, witnessing our long standing commitment to excellence in scientific research. Indeed, the results of these first twenty years are impressive: almost 2,000 working papers published, 66 books, 50 events organized on average per year, and the creation of an international network of about 100 researchers working to advance the frontiers of knowledge on sustainable development.

Far-sighted intuitions in the research agenda, continuous support from our founders, and a lean organization have been important ingredients for our success. But the results achieved would have been impossible without the passion, imagination and efforts of our researchers. To them goes our utmost gratitude, with the hope of an equally deserving future.

But 2009 was certainly not spent on celebrations. Research advanced well within the new programmes, the communication plan was fully implemented with significant improvements in outreach, our branch in Basilicata started operating at full steam, and the renovation of FEEM’s new offices in Venice in the prestigious Island of San Giorgio Maggiore has been nearly completed.

While 2009 has been a successful year for the Fondazione, the same cannot be said for the global economy which has gone through one of the most severe contractions of the post-war period. The financial crisis has apparently been left behind, but it has quickly turned into a real and social crisis, due to the dramatic effects on unemployment. The extraordinary measures taken by the governments have posed the issue of the sustainability of sovereign debt even in the most developed economies. Within a context of distressed public finances, non profit institutions such as FEEM will be increasingly called upon to give their contribution to a welfare society where the private sector will play a leading role, in particular in the fields of training and research. The Fondazione will take up this new challenge by streamlining activity, aiming at maximizing efficiency and impact under our budget constraints.

While this report goes to press, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is causing one of the most severe ecological disasters reported in recent times, affecting industry, policy and behaviors for years to come. Environment, energy and sustainability will thus remain the focus of our future research agenda, maintaining a plurality of perspectives which has always been a distinct trait of FEEM’s activities. We are confident that with the support of our founders and the enthusiasm of our researchers and staff, FEEM will contribute to face the monumental, multigenerational global challenges we are confronted with today.



Bernardo Bortolotti
FEEM Executive Director