MUR Department of excellence 2023-2027
The Department of Chemistry has been recognized among the Italian "Departments of Excellence" and has been granted funding from the Ministry of University and Research (MUR) for a five-year development project with the aim of achieving a significant improvement in the quality of research and in scientific, organizational and didactic planning abilities.
Reasons for our excellence
The Department excels in Environment, Energy and Health research, areas with major impact on whole society life and well-being. This project will enhance and methodize these research areas, oriented to the realization of the Ecological and Energy Transition, through new methodologies related to the ongoing Digital Transition.
Project and objectives
The Department's project, Chemistry 4.0: Molecules and Materials for Tomorrow's Society (CH4.0), involves:
- the introduction of Data Science/Machine Learning/Deep Learning tools in innovative and functional areas of research enhancement, particularly for applications to highly complex chemical systems
- the strengthening and boosting of the Department's highly qualified research areas: Environment, Energy and Health
- the upgrade of the educational offer of MSc degrees and PhD programs, together with the creation of a new address and organization of thematic schools with an international character
- the implementation of policies related to the dissemination and exploitation/transfer of the achieved results, in order to provide the socio-economic system with appropriate specialists and know-how.
To achieve these ambitious scientific and departmental development goals, CH4.0 will acquire new teaching and technical-administrative staff, infrastructure and best practices to make the results achieved in the five-year period permanent. Moreover, the Department and the University have added 6 million euros co-funding to the 9,350,000 euros provided by the Ministerial Call for Excellence.
A departmental platform for digital transition will be created to develop a more modern and innovative system for data collection, management and analysis, with the aim of introducing elements and methodologies of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence in the creation of smart labs. The smart-labs will be dedicated to strengthening the research in the field of monitoring and understanding of natural chemical processes in atmosphere, soil and water, to the study of advanced technologies for decontamination and removal of pollutants from the same compartments, to the development of innovative technologies for energy transition on the whole chain of systems/processes for conversion and storage of energy from renewable sources, to the increase of research excellence for the design of materials for smart drug delivery, advanced diagnostic systems and pharmacologically active molecules, for the study of toxicological properties of molecules and (nano)materials.
The training of MS and Ph.D. students on the main topics related to Data Science applied to the specific chemical cultural background will be enhanced, in order to train new professional profiles, ready to be included in an ever-changing world of work, and able to act as a liaison between the operators of the different sectors of the chemical industry and the specialists in the field of data creation, management and use.
Specially designed hardware systems will be acquired for integrated connection with data management of the department's main instrumentation, and their visualization and processing. High-profile spectroscopic instrumentation will be acquired, integrated with Data Science system and made available in Open-Access mode, representing a unicum in the national panorama: time-resolution transient laser spectroscopy, system for IR spectroscopy at nanoscopic resolution associated with AFM microscopy, system for Raman spectroscopy at ultra-low frequencies. The mass spectrometry laboratory will also be upgraded through complementary acquisitions, including a q-TOF MS with MALDI interface and imaging system, funded by MUR; a high-resolution mass spectrometer with Orbitrap analyser (co-funded by the Department); and an ICP-MS/MS, for multi-elemental analysis, acquired under PNRR projects.
A Steering Committee will be established, consisting of the Department Management, scientific contact persons for the research areas Data Science for Chemistry, Chemistry for the Environment, Chemistry for Energy and Chemistry for Health, coordinators of the departmental committees for Public Engagement and Technology Transfer, and the coordinator of technical and administrative support.