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Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia

Mission and History
Executive Committee
Gabriele Galateri (President)
Roberto Cingolani (Scientific Director)
Giuseppe Pericu (Member)
Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli (Member)
Scientific and Technical Committee
Scientific Director
Research Structure
Director General
Administration and Management
Board of Auditors
Delegato al Controllo – Corte dei Conti
Organisation, Management and Control Model
President's Staff
Auditing, Compliance and Legal
Start - up phase
Smart Materials
Advanced Robotics
Drug Discovery and Development
iCub Facility
Neuroscience and Brain Technologies
Pattern Analysis and Computer Vision
Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Advanced Biomaterials for Healthcare
Biomolecular Nanotechnologies
Brain Center for Social and Motor Cognition
Genomic Science
Life Nano Science
Laboratory for Computational and Statistical Learning@MIT
Nano Science and Technology
Nanotechnology Innovation
Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems
Space Human Robotics
Graphene Labs
Rehab Technologies
Technology Transfer
Information for
Measurement systems / Instrumentation
Lifescience / Diagnostics
New Materials
Green technologies/Nanotechnologies
News & Events
2015 News
2014 News
2013 News
2012 News
2011 News
2010 News
2009 News
2015 Events
2014 Events
2013 Events
2012 Events
Center Publications
Brain Center for Motor and Social Cognition
Center for Advanced Biomaterials for Health Care
Center for Biomolecular Nanotechnologies
Center for Life Nano Science
Center for Micro-BioRobotics
Center for Nano Science and Technology
Center for Nanotechnology Innovation
Center for Neuroscience and Cognitive System
Center for Space Human Robotics
Center for Genomic Science
Laboratory for Computational and Statistical Learning
Central Research Lab Publications
Advanced Robotics
Drug Discovery & Development
iCub Facility
Neuroscience & Brain Technologies
Pattern Analysis and Computer Vision
Robotics, Brain & Cognitive Sciences
Telerobotics & Applications
Multi-Disciplinary Research Publications
Projects Office
AboutOrganisation ■ Research Structure

Research Structure

In the light of the recommendations made by the IIT Evaluation Committee, which foresees a career path for scientists in line with international best practices (Tenure Track), the scientific structure of the IIT is set to change.

Tenure Track is based exclusively on external evaluations of candidates made by a panel of international experts (Standing Committee of External evaluators, SCEE) - 200 members approximately - whose task is to examine the candidates’ scientific production in a transparent and independent way.

Tenure Track lasts a maximum of 10 years, during which scientists are evaluated according to a range of basic principles:

  • International Call; selection with reference letters and interview with the International Panel; 
  • Entry levels (Tenure Track stage 1, stage 2 and stage 3) according  to candidates’ seniority  and equivalent  to academic positions such as assistant professor, associate professor and full professor; 
  • Entry, upgrades and final examinations based on letters of reference and interviews by external referees
  • Possibility to obtain tenured positions only for stage 2 and stage 3 candidates;
  • Maximum scientific and financial autonomy for  scientists under tenure track process;
  • Number of scientists under tenure track process at full capacity not higher than 15% of total  IIT staff;
  • Implementation of gender-specific policy (e.g. “stop the clock” policy for female scientists on maternity leave). 

All research projects are evaluated every three years while individual scientific and management skills are assessed annually.

After a initial phase, which started late in 2013, this Model will be fully implemented before the launch of the new 2015-2017 Scientific Plan currently under discussion.


Teams/Research Lines with independent budget

Robotics Brain and Cognitive Sciences - RBCS (G. Sandin, Director)

Speech and Communication (L. Fadiga – Senior Scientist)


Advanced Robotics - ADVR (D. Caldwell, Director)

Soft Hands (A. Bicchi - Senior Scientist)


Humanoids & Human Centered Mechatronics (N. Tsagarakis, tenured scientist)


iCub Facility (G. Metta, Director)

Humanoid Sensing and Perception
(L. Natale, Tenure Track Scientist)


Pattern Analysis and Computer Vision - PAVIS
(V. Murino, Director)

Visual Geometry and Modelling
(A. Del Bue - Tenure Track Scientist)


Neuroscience and Brain Technologies - NBT/NTECH
(J. Assad - Director)

Microtechnology for neuroelectronics (L. Berdondini, Tenure Track Scientist)


MicroRNAs in brain development and function
(D. De Pietri Tonelli, Tenure Track Scientist)


Genetics and epigenetics of behavior (V. Tucci, Tenure Track Scientist)


Optical approaches to brain function (T. Fellin, Tenure Track Scientist)


Genetics of cognitive function (F. Papaleo, Tenure Track Scientist)


Non-coding RNAs and RNA-based therapeutics (S. Gustincich, Senior Scientist)


Synaptic Neuroscience - NBT/NSYN
(F. Benfenati, Director)

Local micro-environment and brain development
(L. Cancedda, Tenure Track Scientist)


Synaptic plasticity of inhibitory networks (A. Barberis, Tenure Track Scientist)


Neuromodulation of cortical and subcortical circuits
(R. Tonini, Tenure Track Scientist)


Drug Discovery and Development: PharmaChemistry
(T. Bandiera, Director)

Intelligent Drug Delivery by nanoparticles
(T. Pellegrino, Tenure Track Scientist)


Nanotechnology for Precision Medicine (P. Decuzzi. Tenure Track Scientist)


Drug Discovery and Development Validation
(D.Piomelli, Director)

Compunet: Multiscale Computational Modeling Network
(A. Cavalli, Director)

Computational Modelling of NanoScale and bioPhysical systems
(W. Rocchia, Tenure Track Scientist)


NanoPhysics, Joint Nikon-IIT laboratory (A. Diaspro, Director)

Nano Carbon Materials (S. Giordani, Tenure Track Scientist)


Plasmon Nanotechnologies (F. De Angelis, Tenure Track Scientist)


Graphene (V. Pellegrini, Tenured Scientist)


Multifunctional &Responsive Composites (A. Athanassiou, Tenured Scientist)


(L. Manna, Director)

Nanocrystal Photonics (I. Moreels, Tenure Track Scientist)


Lithium Batteries (B. Scrosati, Senior Scientist)


CNST@PoliMi; Center for Nano Science and Technology at Politecnico di Milano
(G. Lanzani, Center Coordinator)

Advanced Materials for Optoelectronics
(A. M. Petrozza, Tenure Track Scientist)


Printed and Molecular Electronics (M. Caironi, Tenure Track Scientist)


CGS@SEMM; Center for genomics Science at IFOM-IEO Milano
(B. Amati, Center Coordinator)


CSHR@PoliTo; Center for Space Human Robotics at Politecnico di Torino
(F. Pirri, Center Coordinator)


CNCS@UniTn; Center for Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems at University of Trento
(A. Bifone, Center Coordinator, Tenured Scientists)

Neural Computation (S. Panzeri, Tenured Scientist)


CMBR@SSSA; Center for MicroBio Robotics at Scuola Superiore S.Anna
(B. Mazzolai, Center Coordinator, Tenured Scientist)


BCMSC@UniPr; Brain center for Motoer and Social Cognition at University of Parma
(A.Rizzolatti, Center Coordinator)


CNI@NEST; Center for Nanotechnology Innovation at Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa
(V. Piazza, Center Coordinator)


CLNS@Sapienza; Center for Life-NanoScience at Roma La Sapienza
(G. Ruocco, Center Coordinator)


CABHC@CRIB; Center for Advanced Biomaterials for Health Care at University of Napoli-Federico II
(P. A. Netti , Center Coordinator)


CBN@UNILE; Center for Biomolecular Nanotechnologies at University of Lecce
(P. P. Pompa, Center Coordinator, Tenured Scientist)

Micro & Nano Fabrication (M. De Vittorio, Senior Scientist)


IIT@MIT; Outstation for Machine Learning at MIT - Cambridge USA


IIT@Harvard; Outstation for novel nanotech probes for brain studies at neurobiology Dept, Harvard University, Boston - USA

The research is carried out within Research Units, located at the Foundation facilities (the so-called Departments) or hosted by other Research Institutions which through specific agreements; such Research Units are responsible for the implementation of a scientific programme.  All Units have their own personnel and resources and are operatively and financially autonomous. They have at their disposal material and financial assets, which have been assigned to them or they have found themselves.

The Scientific Director coordinates the Research Units, making sure their assets are used efficiently.

The Research Units are directed by a scientist, the Research Director, who is responsible for the implementation of the IIT scientific programme.

Regarding the Foundation structure, the present Research Directors and Department Directors, who have been chosen after an international selection protocol, are widely known scientists who have already made important contributions in their research fields.

The Department Directors are:

Advanced Robotics


Darwin Caldwell received his B.Sc. and Ph.D in Robotics from the University of Hull in 1986 and 1990 respectively. In 1994 he received an M.Sc in Management from the University of Salford.

From 1989 to 2006 he was at the University of Salford as a Lecturer (1989-96), S. Lecturer (1996-97), Reader (1997-99) and finally Professor of Advanced Robotics in the Centre for Robotics and Automation (1999-2006).

He is a visiting/honorary Professor at The University of Manchester, The University of Sheffield, Kings’ College, London, The University of Bangor and Tianjin University, China.


Drug Discovery and Development

dpiomelli Daniele Piomelli was born and educated in Italy, where he earned his degree of Doctor of Pharmacy in 1982. He moved to New York City in 1983, where he studied Pharmacology and Neuroscience with James H. Schwartz and Eric Kandel at Columbia University, and later with Paul Greengard at the Rockefeller University.

Both of his mentors received in 2000 the Nobel Prize for their contributions to medicine.

After working at the INSERM in Paris (France) and at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego (CA), with Nobel Prize-winner Gerald Edelman, Dr. Piomelli joined the University of California, Irvine, where he is Professor of Pharmacology and Louise Turner Arnold Chair in the Neurosciences.



Giorgio Metta
Giorgio Metta holds an MSc cum laude (1994) and PhD (2000) in electronic engineering both from the University of Genoa. In 2001-2002 he was postdoctoral associate at the MIT AI-Lab (now CSAIL). He was assistant professor at the University of Genoa since 2005 (presently on leave of absence) where he used to teach anthropomorphic robotics and intelligent systems. He is with IIT since the end of 2006. Giorgio Metta is also Professor of Cognitive Robotics at the University of Plymouth (UK) from 2012.




Liberato Manna received his MSc in Chemistry from the University of Bari (Italy) in 1996 and his PhD in Chemical Sciences from the same University in 2001. During his PhD studies, and later as postdoctoral fellow, he worked at the University of California Berkeley (USA).

In 2003 he moved back to Italy, as staff scientist at the National Nanotechnology Lab of CNR-INFM in Lecce, (Italy) where he became later responsible for the Nanochemistry Division in 2006.

In April 2009 he moved to the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia in Genova as head of the Nanochemistry Department.



diasproAlberto Diaspro was born in Genoa, Italy, on April 7, 1959. He received is doctoral degree in electronic engineering from the University of Genoa, Italy, in 1983. He is University Professor in the Applied Physics Area. He is Head of the Nanophysics Unit of the Italian Institute of Technology.

AD is member of the University advisory Commitee for PhD Courses in Biotechnology (University of Genoa) and Medical Nanotechnology (University of Milan). AD has collaborations with IFOM - FIRC Oncology Institute, Milan, the Institute of Biophysics of the National Research Council (CNR) and NBT-IIT, Italian Institute of Technology. AD founded LAMBS (Laboratory for Advanced Microscopy, Bioimaging and Spectroscopy, AD is author of more than 170 international ISI publications. He is the President of OWLS (Optics With Life Sciences) and ICO (International Commission of Optics) representative.


Neuroscience & Brain Technologies - Neuro Technologies

John AssadJohn Assad received his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York and his PhD in Neurobiology from Harvard University.

For his PhD, he investigated biophysical mechanisms of mechano-electric sensory transduction in vestibular hair cells.

He did his postdoctoral training in electrophysiology with John Maunsell, first at the University of Rochester and then at Baylor College of Medicine, where he studied mechanisms of visual perception. He joined the faculty at Harvard Medical School in 1996 and was promoted to full professor at Harvard in 2007.


Neuroscience & Brain Technologies - Synaptic Neuroscience

Fabio Benfenati
Fabio Benfenati
Born in Bologna, Italy, on 5 November 1954.

  • 1979: University of Bologna, School of Medicine Degree: Doctor of Medicine - Field of Study: Neurochemistry
  • 1983: University of Bologna, School of Medicine Postdoctoral School of Neurology Degree: Specialist in Neurology - Field of Study: Neurophysiology


Pattern Analysis and Computer Vision

murinoVittorio Murino is full professor at the University of Verona, Italy, and director of the PAVIS (Pattern Analysis and Computer Vision) department at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia. He took the Laurea degree in Electronic Engineering in 1989 and the Ph.D. in Electronic Engineering and Computer Science in 1993 at the University of Genova, Italy.

He held a post-doctoral position from 1993 to 1995, working in the Signal Processing and Understanding Group of the Dept. of Biophysical and Electronic Engineering of the University of Genova as supervisor of research activities on image processing for object recognition and pattern classification in underwater environments. From 1995 to 1998, he was assistant professor at the Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Science of the University of Udine, Italy, and since 1998 he works at the University of Verona. He was chairman of the Department of Computer Science from 2001, year of foundation, to 2007. Prof. Murino is scientific responsible of several national and European projects, and evaluator of EU project proposals related to several frameworks and programs.


Robotics, Brain & Cognitive Sciences

Giulio Sandini is Director of Research at the Italian Institute of Technology and full professor of bioengineering at the University of Genoa. After his graduation in Electronic Engineering (Bioengineering) at the University of Genova in 1976 he was research fellow and assistant professor at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa until 1984.

During this period, working at the Laboratorio di Neurofisiologia of the CNR, he investigated aspects of visual processing at the level of single neurons as well as aspects of visual perception in human adults and children.



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