Alberto Alemanno

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Alberto Alemanno
Alberto Alemanno.jpg
Alberto Alemanno speaking about Europe (2011)
Born 30 April 1975
Nationality Italy, Spain
Fields Law, government, public policy
Institutions New York University
Georgetown University
HEC Paris
Alma mater Università degli Studi di Torino
Bocconi University
Harvard Law School
College of Europe
Known for

Founder, eLabEurope Founder, EU Public Interest Clinic Co-Founder, The Good Lobby Founder, European Journal of Risk Regulation Jean Monnet programme Professor of European Union Law

Chair of the Law Department, HEC Paris
Notable awards

Chauncey Starr award, Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, 40 under 40

Young Leader of the Council for the United States and Italy
Spouse Mariana Calvo de Irujo (m. 2007)
Children 2

Alberto Alemanno (born 30 April 1975), is a legal scholar, public interest lawyer and civic entrepreneur, known for his work on the European Union, risk regulation and public health, consumer rights, food policy as well as the theory of nudge in policy-making.[1] Currently Alemanno is Jean Monnet Professor in EU Law & Risk Regulation at HEC Paris[2] and Global Clinical Professor of Law at New York University School of Law.[3] Due to his commitment to bridge the gap between academic research and policy action, he founded and is the CEO of eLabEurope,[4] a civic start up aimed at promoting open-source policymaking in Europe and co-founded The Good Lobby, a skill-sharing platform connecting academics, lawyers and other professionals with non-profits and civil society organisations in need of advice.

Alberto is a theoriser and proponent of citizen lobbying as an innovative form of active citizenship that might complement the dominant and competing models of representative and participatory democracy. Through his multiple initiatives, he aims at inspiring and training a new generation of engaged academics, social advocates, reformers, activists and citizen lobbyists across Europe.

Alberto has been named[5] Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and as one of the European Union's 40 brightest minds by the European Young Leaders programme "40 under 40"[6] run by EuropaNova and Friends of Europe which aims to shape Europe's future.[7]

Alberto is known not only for being a prolific scholars and active public interest lawyer but also for being a creative and passionate teacher[8] and educator having first embraced iTunes U,[9] then pioneering Coursera with a Massive open online course devoted to the functioning and impact of the European Union on citizens everyday life.[10]

Education and early career[edit]

Originally from Italy, Alemanno earned a Laurea in Giurisprudenza cum laude from the Università degli Studi di Torino, LLM degrees from Harvard Law School and the College of Europe, and a PhD in International Law & Economics from Bocconi University.

After working as a lawyer in Paris, he became a qualified attorney at law in New York in 2004 and then served as a law clerk for Judge Allan Rosas and Judge Alexander Arabadjiev at the Court of Justice of the European Union and for Enzo Moavero Milanesi at the General Court of the European Union.

Academic career[edit]

Alberto Alemanno began his academic career at the College of Europe in Bruges in 2001, when he was selected as a teaching assistant before embarking in the following year on his PhD at Bocconi University. He worked under the supervision of Professor Giorgio Sacerdoty, former Chairman of the WTO Appellate Body, and Peter Barton Hutt, from Harvard Law School. After gaining several years of both legal and judicial practice and teaching, he entered academia full-time in 2009 when he was recruited by HEC Paris as Associate Professor of Law.

Since 2011, he is Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law & Risk Regulation at HEC Paris,[2] where he teaches European Union Law, EU Affairs and Advocacy, as well as Global Risk Regulation.[11] He was Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center between 2011 and 2013,[12] where he taught Global Risk Regulation and today is a scholar at the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health.[13] Alberto is also Invited Professor at St. Gallen University, where he leads the Public Affairs, Advocacy and Law module at the MBL Executive Programme. Alemanno regularly contributes to leading media outlets, such as such Le Monde, Politico, the Huffington Post and Il Sole 24 ore, and his work has been featured in the Financial Times, The Economist, Science, and Nature. He regularly contributes to the European Law Blog, Verfassungsblog, Eutopia Law Blog, and the Italian legal blog Diritti Comparati, which he co-founded.

Since 2013, he is also Global Clinical Professor of Law at New York University School of Law[14] where he is the founder and faculty director of the HEC-NYU EU Regulatory Policy Clinic,[15] a pioneering program aimed at training a new generation of public interest lawyers and civic advocates across the Atlantic.[16]

In 2014, Alemanno's clinical students worked on the reform of the European Citizens' Initiative, and on the EU Lobby register, on the democratic accountability of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, on the transparency of EU judicial appointments, by examining the transparency of the committee established by Article 255 of the TFEU led by Jean-Marc Sauvé as well as on data protection by ICANN.[15]

In 2015, Alemanno and his students published a report for Wikimedia on “freedom of panorama” in Europe, a report for BEUC (the European Consumer Organisation) advocating the prohibition of airline "no-show" clauses, and lodged a complaint – on behalf of Access Info Europe – before the European Ombudsman, who decided to open an investigation into the transparency in judicial appointments.

In 2016, they prepared an advocacy report for WWF advocating the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, a complaint to the EU Ombudsman on behalf of Amnesty International against the EU Commission for lack of transparency in its handling of the pre-infringement proceedings against Italy in relation to Roma rights, an investigative report on the European Court's last reform and drafted a directive on whistleblowing protection for Transparency International ( and conducted an investigative report on the European Court's last reform. Their work was featured in the New York Times ( and Politico (

Alemanno is Coursera instructor where he teaches a MOOC entitled "Understanding Europe – Why it Matters and What it Can Offer you"[17] By combining lectures to real policy initiatives this MOOC intends to enable the MOOC's participants to have a 'say' in the EU policy process. In particular, by blending teaching and participatory processes, it crowdsources the massive classroom and presents their input into the EU policy process.[18]

Due to his commitment to bridge the gap between academic research and policy action, Alberto regularly provides advice to a variety of NGOs and governments across the world as well as international organisations, such as the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Health Organisation (WHO), on various aspects of European Union law, international regulatory co-operation, international trade and global health law as well as evidence-based policymaking.


Alberto Alemanno's scholarship can be situated at the interface of law and public policy and has been largely driven by both policy and social impact. Since his PhD research devoted to the balancing between trade and non-economic objectives, such as health, he pioneered and contributed to the establishment of risk regulation research so as to bridge the gap between academic research, policymaking and science policy. He centred on the role of evidence in policymaking and adjudication both at the national and international level. In particular, he has been focusing on and promoting the study of the emerging law and policy of risk regulation in both the European Union and the World Trade Organization legal orders. In particular, he focused on the relationship between the regulatory competence of states in furtherance of domestic policies of general interest and concern, such as public health and food safety, and the preservation of a democracatically-accountable, liberal international trade framework.

In his works, he explores the use of scientific evidence and behavioural research in regulatory decision-making and in the judicial review of science-based measures by courts. Recently, he has been working on the role of law in regulating lifestyle choices by integrating the insights of behavioural research in areas such as alcohol, tobacco and unhealthy diets.

His most recent research focuses on public participation, transparency and openness in democratic processes of policymaking, including social media. His ideas on public participation and civic engagement are accessible via the manifesto of eLabEurope websiteand that of The Good Lobby and rely on the policy report he authored for the OECD entitled Stakeholder engagement in policymaking. (

His work has also appeared in several national and international media, such as the The Economist, the Financial Times, Le Monde, and he regularly contributes to the Huffington Post, EuropeanVoice, Le Monde, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Le Point, FranceSoir, Les Echos, Il Sole 24 Ore, via the publication of Op-Eds and interviews.

Civic Ventures[edit]

Eager to link academic research with policy action, Alberto launched seveal initiatives over the last decade. He established in 2013 eLabEurope, a civic start up committed to promoting civic engagement and participation in Europe through an unconventional mixing and matching of academic research, advocacy and training in the public interest. eLabEurope engages in pro and low bono consultancy by bridging the gap between academic research and the needs of civil society with the ultimate goal to improve people's lives. eLabEurope operates as a platform aimed at incubating projects and initiatives aimed at educating, engaging and lobbying Europe. Through the development of the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) devoted to Europe and its decision-making process, Understanding Europe – Why it Matters and What it Can Offer You, Alberto and his team want to popularise the intricacies of the European Union system to promote greater awareness of the opportunities it offers to citizens. The aim is to empower both individuals and civil society as a whole to maximise their rights and opportunities in today's Europe.

A spin-off of eLabEurope is The Good Lobby. This is a skill-sharing organisation connecting academics and business professionals to non-profit organisations in need of advice to pursue their public interest objectives. The aim is to empower ordinary citizens to make a difference in the civic life of our communities while at the same time contributing to existing civil society organisations. The Good Lobby engages ordinary citizens – be they academics or business professionals – to provide free advice to civil society organisations acting in policymaking. By developing a combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation, The Good Lobby aims not only to give a voice to the voiceless but also promotes a culture of civic virtue amongst the next generation of European citizens.

The Good Lobby was nominated global fellow of the Global Pro Bono Network by the Taproot Foundation and was short-listed by the Reimagine Education Award by The Wharton School in 2015.

Alberto also established and runs the EU Public Interest Clinic, together with HEC Paris and NYU School of Law. By building upon the American law clinic model and adapting it to the specificities of the EU institutional system, it is the first clinic devoted to experimenting with the various channels of participatory democracy existing within the EU. Through lobbying, advocacy, and legal research the EU Clinic promotes democratic, transparent and accountable EU institutions. The Clinic brings together selected law students from both NYU Law School and HEC Paris and sees them working directly for NGOs operating in the EU policy field. The students are supported by a range of experienced and highly respected academics and practitioners who work with the Clinic on a pro bono basis to advance the goals of the client NGOs. Students are given the opportunity to play an active and important role in on-going policy processes and advocacy campaigns concerning some of the most pressing issues facing the EU, its 28 Member States and its 500 million inhabitants. In so doing, students help NGOs give voice to the often-under-represented public interest in the complex supra-national EU policy process.

Since 2009, Alberto hosts the Summer Academy in Global Food Law & Policy. This is an established one-week training and think-tanking programme bringing together leading practitioners, policymakers, industry representatives and academics committed to make our food system more sustainable and fairer. Given the high profile of its participants, that included inter alia Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food, David Byrne, former Commissioner for Health & Safety, and Marion Nestle, one of the most powerful foodies and author of Food Politics, the academy has been defined as 'the Davos of Food Policy'. It counts today on more than 200 alumni from all over the world.

Together with Pelle Guldborg Hansen, Alberto established TEN – The European Nudge Network in 2014 at a launch event in Denmark with Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler. The mission of TEN is to ensure a scientifically and ethically responsible dissemination of applied behavioural insights throughout Europe and beyond. It hosts a range of Open Access (OA) online resources and member activities.



Alemanno is the founder and editor of the European Journal of Risk Regulation[19] and he is a member of the editorial boards of the Revue du Droit de l'Union européenne, the Journal of Consumer Law, the European Food and Feed Law Review and the Area Editor for Policy of Risk Analysis: An International Journal.


  • Reinventing Legal Education (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming in 2017) ( with L. Khadar)
  • The New Intellectual Property of Health – Beyond Plain Packaging (Edward Elgar, forthcoming in 2016) (ed. with E. Bonadio)
  • Nudge and the Law – A European Perspective (Oxford Hart Publishing, 2015) – (ed. with A-L. Sibony)
  • Regulating Lifestyle Risks – Europe, Alcohol, Tobacco and Unhealthy Diets – (Cambridge University Press, 2014), ed. with A. Garde
  • Better Business Regulation in a Risk Society (Springer, 2013) – (ed. with F. den Butter, A. Nijsen and J. Torriti)
  • Foundations of EU Food Law & Policy – Ten Years of European Food Safety Authority – (Ashgate, 2013) (ed. with S. Gabbi)
  • Governing Disasters – The Challenges of Emergency Risk Regulation – (ed. Edward Elgar, 2011)
  • Trade in Food – Regulatory and Judicial Approaches in the EU and the WTO – (Cameron May, London 2nd ed., 2007)


  • "Nudge and the European Union," in Choice Architecture and Democracy: Exploring the Legitimacy of Nudging, (Christoph Möllers, M. Steinbeis, Alexandra Kemmerer and Gerhard Wagner, eds., Hart Publishing, 2016)
  • How Transparent is Transparent Enough? Balancing Access To Information Against Privacy in European Judicial Selection, in Selecting Europe's Judges (M. Bobek, ed., Oxford University Press, 2015)
  • '‘Is there a role for Cost-benefit Analysis beyond the Nation-State? Lessons from International Regulatory Co-operation,'‘ in The Globalization of Cost-Benefit Analysis in Environmental Policy (M. Livermore and R. Revesz, ed., Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • '‘Public Perception of Food Safety Risks Under WTO Law: A Normative Perspective,’‘ in Research Handbook on Environment, Health and the WTO (G. van Calster and D. Prévost, ed., Edward Elgar, 2012)
  • ‘‘Comparing Regulatory Oversight Bodies Across the Atlantic: The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the US and the Impact Assessment Board in the EU,’‘ in Comparative Administrative Law (Peter Lindseth and Susan Rose-Ackerman, ed., Edward Elgar, 2011) (with J. Wiener)
  • ‘‘How to get out of the regulatory deadlock over GMOs? This is time for regulatory co-operation,’‘ in Cooperating in Managing Biosafety and Biodiversity in a global world, EU, US and California (J. Swinnen and D. Vogel, ed., Edward Elgar, 2011)
  • ‘‘What has been and what is left thirty years after Les Verts/Parliament,’‘ in The Past and Future of EU Law The Classics of EU Law Revisited on the 50th Anniversary of the Rome Treaty (L. Azoulai and M. Maduro, ed., Hart , 2010)


  • "Towards Effective Regulatory Cooperation under TTIP: A Comparative Overview of the EU and US Legislative and Regulatory Systems," COLUMBIA JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN LAW (2016)
  • "The Future of International Regulatory Cooperation: TTIP as a Step Toward a Global Regulatory Laboratory," LAW AND CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS (2016) (with Jonathan Wiener)
  • "The Regulatory Cooperation Chapter of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Institutional Structures and Democratic Consequences," 26 JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC LAW (2015)
  • '‘Openness at the Court of Justice of the EU – Toppling a Taboo,'‘ 51 COMMON MARKET LAW REVIEW 1 (2014) (with O. Stefan)
  • '‘Unpacking the Principle of Openness in EU Law – Transparency, Participation and Democracy ,'‘ EUROPEAN LAW REVIEW 1 (2014)
  • '‘Nudging Legally – On the Checks and Balances of Behavioral Regulation,'‘ 12 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 2 (2013)(with A. Spina)
  • '‘The Emergence of an EU Lifestyle Policy – The Case of Alcohol, Tobacco and Unhealthy Diets ,'‘ 50 COMMON MARKET LAW REVIEW 6 (2013) (with A. Garde)
  • '‘Impact assessment of EU non-legislative rule-making: the missing link in new comitology,’‘ 19 EUROPEAN LAW JOURNAL (2013) (with A. Meuwese)
  • ‘‘Out of Sight Out of Mind – Towards a New Tobacco Products Directive,’‘ 18 COLUMBIA JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN LAW (2012)
  • ‘‘Regulatory Impact Assessment and European Courts: When Ex Ante Evaluation Meets Ex Post Judicial Control,’‘ 17(3) EUROPEAN PUBLIC LAW (2011)
  • ‘‘Gowan Comércio Internacional e Serviços Lda v. Ministero della Salute,’‘ 48 COMMON MARKET LAW REVIEW 5 (2011)
  • ‘‘Do You Mind My Smoking? Some Reflections On Plain Packaging Of Cigarettes And Its Compatibility With TRIPS' Provisions On Trademarks And Public Health,’‘ JOHN MARSHALL REVIEW OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW (2011) (with E. Bonadio)
  • ‘‘Opinion 1/2008: Community Competence to conclude with certain Members of the WTO agreements modifying the Schedules of Specific Commitments of the Community and its member states under the GATS’‘, 104 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW (2011)
  • ‘‘The Better Regulation Initiative at the Judicial Gate: A Trojan Horse within the Commission’s Walls or the Way Forward? ,’‘ 15 EUROPEAN LAW JOURNAL, issue 5 (2009)
  • ‘‘The shaping of risk regulation by Community Courts,’‘ JEAN MONNET WORKING PAPER, 18, 2008 (2008)
  • ‘‘The European Food Safety Authority at Five,’‘ EUROPEAN FOOD AND FEED LAW REVIEW (2008)
  • ‘‘Le principe de la reconnaissance mutuelle au delà du marché intérieur. Phénomène d'exportation normative ou stratégie de ,’‘ REVUE DU DROIT DE L’UNION EUROPEENNE, 2/2006 (2006)
  • ‘‘Judicial Enforcement of the WTO Hormones ruling within the European Community: Toward an EC Liability for the non-implementation of WTO Dispute Settlement Decisions,’‘ 45 ”, HARVARD INTERNATIONAL LAW JOURNAL (2004)
  • ‘‘À la recherche d’un juste équilibre entre libertés fondamentales et droits fondamentaux dans le marché intérieur – Quelques réflexions à propos des arrêts Schmidberger et Omega,’‘ REVUE DU DROIT DE L’UNION EUROPEENNE, 4/04 (2004)
  • ‘‘Gli accordi di reciproco riconoscimento di conformità dei prodotti tra regole OMC ed esperienza europea,’‘ RIVISTA DEL DIRITTO DEL COMMERCIO INTERNAZIONALE, 3–4, 2003 (2003)
  • ‘‘Le principe de précaution en droit communautaire: stratégie de gestion des risques ou risque d’atteinte au marché intérieur?,’‘ REVUE DU DROIT DE L’UNION EUROPEENNE, 4/2001 (2001)


Alberto was asked by HEC's former Dean Bernard Ramanantsoa to develop the first MOOC ever launched by HEC Paris. Entitled "Understanding Europe – Why it Matters and What it Can Offer You", this MOOC was written and recorded in Winter 2014 and made available for free on Coursera. It reached more than 100,000 participants across the world in 2014. Today it is available on demand on the Coursera platform. In his opening video, Alberto argues that while the EU is often depicted as a monstrous bureaucratic creature, condemned to irrelevance by the emerging economies, in 50 years it accomplished what other countries took centuries to realise. The EU remains the most accomplished experiment of economic, social and political integration in human history. Given its inherent complexities, this Course aims at empowering any citizen on what Europe can offer and is set to enable anyone to discover new jobs and opportunities. Indeed, throughout the whole course, participants are confronted with real-life examples of EU action. EU affairs professionals share their personal EU experiences and tell us about their EU jobs.

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