Annual Report of the University Research Committee

(CRUdA) 2019/2020

The Committee, appointed and chaired by Professor Romani, University Delegate for Research, was constituted in September 2019 to support the actions of the Delegate, and, thus, of the University. These actions are aimed at increasing the quality of research, as established in the University Strategic Plan.

The Strategic Plan in point R1.3 establishes a steering committee consisting of “scientific Sherpas identified among the researchers with the greatest experience of success and reference for the various research areas that characterise the individual Departments” (p. 53) with the task of scientifically assisting the Research and Strategic Projects Division in identifying strategic areas of intervention.

The Committee, coordinated by the Research Delegate, Professor Gian Luca Romani, includes the following members (in alphabetical order):

  • Prof. Gianluca Bellomo
  • Dr. Francesco Berardi
  • Dr. Simona Boncompagni
  • Prof. Christian Celia
  • Prof. Francesco De Luca
  • Prof. Piero Di Carlo
  • Dr. Francesca Ferri
  • Prof. Antonella Fontana, who joined the Committee on 11th November 2020
  • Prof. Barbara Ghinassi
  • Dr. Milena Impicciatore, external member
  • Prof. Sergio Montelpare
  • Prof. Valentina Tomassini
  • Dr. Lucia Tonucci

The Committee met periodically, typically on a fortnightly basis, also using the online meeting methods during the health emergency. It supported the Delegate in carrying out the research implementation actions envisaged in the Strategic Plan. In particular:

– the Committee provided support for the preparation of the internal University Search for Excellence (R1.1) call for post-doc research associates and lecturers (fixed-term – RDTA, and tenure-track – RDTB), according to two profiles (Junior and Senior). The Committee identified the criteria and the profiles for participation, the objective being to follow the standards of ERC calls in order to train young researchers to effectively participate in European calls and to fund innovative research. The procedure, which used international evaluators, has now come to an end with the conduct of interviews and the publishing of the rankings that was approved by the University Board, which took place on 27/10/2020;

– together with the Delegate, the Committee presented on 28th January 2020 the research section of the new University Strategic Plan, illustrating the contents, objectives and actions to be undertaken;

– with the support of the administrative offices, the Committee has reviewed the activity of the researchers who have achieved significant goals for the University (patents, funding from competitive calls). This was in order to identify two macro-areas to be rewarded with two fixed term lecturer (RDTA) positions, according to the R5 line of intervention that aims to promote excellence in teaching and research;

– with the support of the administrative offices, the Committee has reviewed the activity of young researchers in order to identify those who have obtained a Seal of Excellence in European competitive calls, according to the R5 intervention line envisaged in the Strategic Plan. This exercise has not identified current young researchers with a Seal of Excellence;

– the Committee facilitated the procedures of the call for the selection of four technologists, one for each ERC area, with profiles suitable for euro design and for the management / reporting of European projects, according to point R1.2 of University Strategic Plan. The evaluation procedure, which also involved three members of the Committee as members of the two selection panels, was completed and the successful candidates are expected to take up their posts in due course;

– the Committee has prepared, together with the administrative offices, an agreement with the University of Padua for the shared development of structures and research activities. The draft is for the approval of the partner University;

– the Committee promoted the participation of University researchers and professors in events organized by the APRE agency by giving publicity, participating through its delegates in training meetings and reporting on them. This activity aimed at supporting University teachers and researchers in participating in European calls. Two events (ERC and MSCA) were held in July 2019; another event (GREEN DEAL) was held in October 2020. A further event is scheduled for 21st December 2020 with the theme TOWARDS HORIZON EUROPE.

In 2020, the Committee was not able to organise periodic “Science Factory” due to the health emergency, which prevented the direct participation of international scholars and the sharing in the presence of research results, an essential element of this experience.