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L'ideatorio is a unit of the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) which was created to promote scientific culture and dialogue between science and society. L'ideatorio is also the local branch of the "Science et Cité Foundation" (, which is a centre of expertise of the Swiss Academy of Sciences. Through a network of local partnerships, L'ideatorio fosters various forms of interaction of citizens with science. In particular, thanks to the established relationship with the School District of Lugano, it has developed a few enduring projects such as the House of Science in Castagnola (Lugano) and the science summer camps. Other projects include an itinerant astronomical planetarium, informal science educational laboratories, conferences and events, science fairs, research and surveys on the perception of science among the public, scientific communication projects with research centres, universities, or media (Internet, radio-tv broadcaster, etc.).

L'ideatorio is structured around three main activities:

  • Science Centre: project proposals aim to provoke the desire to explore and understand our universe through simple and daily phenomena, thus making scientific culture a useful instrument for understanding our world.
    - Annual interactive scientific exhibitions
    - Biolab: a biology lab designed to suit elementary and middle school pupils
    - Science camps: holiday camps, which combine science and fun time
    - Astronomical planetarium
    - Other activities: laboratories for schools, events during science fairs.
  • Science and society: research and analysis on the interrelations between citizens, institutions, science, and communication
  • Local and international projects for scientific communication: together with national and international partners, L'ideatorio carries out several projects dealing with the relationships between science and society and promoting scientific culture.