Sabrina Tomasi

  • ResearcherDepartment of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Pisa

Contact Info:

  • 80 Via del Borghetto, Pisa

I am a post-doc researcher at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the University of Pisa. I took my Industrial PhD in Human Sciences at the University of Macerata (UNIMC), Department of Education, Cultural Heritage and Tourism. My research focuses on educational tourism, place branding, rural development and innovation and on the role of universities as drivers of innovation in rural areas, also through student engagement. During my PhD I worked with a start-up – Expirit Srl – in the field of experiential community-based tourism in rural areas. In 2018 I spent some months working as a visiting PhD student at the Institute for Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon on health tourism topics and at the School of Business and Economics at UiT, the Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø, on sustainable tourism. I worked as a post-doc researcher at UNIMC for two years on the Erasmus+ project RE-ACT – Self-reflection tools for smart universities acting regionally, about the role of universities in RIS3 and in regional innovation.

Key research interests

  • Rural development and innovation
  • Regional innovation and Smart specialisation strategies
  • The civic/socially engaged university
  • Project-based learning/Service learning
  • Rural tourism

Core competences

  • Qualitative research and analysis
  • Participatory and design-based methods and approaches

Current EU-funded and national projects

SHERPA – Sustainable Hub to Engage into Rural Policies with Actors

MOVING – Mountain Valorization Through Interconnectedness and Green Growth.

NEMOS – A new educational model for acquisition of sustainability competences through service-learning

START FOR FUTURE – Open Incubation Programme and Academy

See the list of all projects the group is involved in here

Some recent publications

Tomasi, S., Szávics, P., Aleffi, C., Ferrara, C., & Márton, A. (2022). Drivers and challenges of RIS3‐related university engagement: Insights from five European regions. Regional Science Policy & Practice, 1-21.

Tomasi, S., Ferrara, C., Paviotti, G., Aleffi, C., Cavicchi, A., & Bertella, G. (2022). Exploring the Role of the University in the Creation of Knowledge Networks in the Aso Valley, a Rural Area in Marche Region (Italy)In Iakovleva, T., Thomas, E., Berg, L.N., Pinheiro, R., & Benneworth, P. (Eds.). (2022). Universities and Regional Engagement: From the Exceptional to the Everyday (1st ed.), 58-74, Routledge, doi: 10.4324/9781003150299-5, ISBN: 9781003150299

Tomasi, S., Cavicchi, A., Aleffi, C., Paviotti, G., Ferrara, C., Baldoni, F. & Passarini, P. (2021). Civic universities and bottom-up approaches to boost local development of rural areas: the case of the University of Macerata. Agricultural and Food Economics, 9(1), 1-23, doi: 10.1186/s40100-021-00185-5

Tomasi, S., Ferrara, C., Perretta, F., Frittelloni, C., & Cavicchi, A. (2021). Innovation and Knowledge Exchange in Small-Scale Fishery and Aquaculture Sectors: Innovation Brokerage to Shape New Marketing Strategies and Practices. Journal of International Food & Agribusiness Marketing, 33(1), 36-52,

Tomasi, S., Paviotti, G., & Cavicchi, A. (2020).Educational tourism and local development: The role of universities. Sustainability, 12(17), 6766, doi: 10.3390/SU12176766, ISSN: 2071-1050


Volunteering experience/Engagement in local initiatives:
Associazione Pro-Muovere
Rurale APS and SardiniaSpopTourism project