SISSA Physics and Mathematics areas have been included in the Departments of Excellence for the period 2023-2027. The list of those admitted to the prestigious funding was made public by the National Agency for the Evaluation of the University System and Research (ANVUR). The School thus marks an en plein, seeing both the Departments with which it competed recognised and thus confirming the results obtained in the previous five-year period.
The projects submitted for selection focus on new research activities based on interdisciplinarity for the Physics Area and the activation of new areas of study in probability, statistics and stochastic processes with repercussions in teaching and infrastructures, for the Mathematics Area. The amount of funding requested is €6,650,000 for each of the two projects.
Top 180 Departments of Excellence selected for the quality of research and projects
The Departments of Excellence, evaluated every five years, are an intervention provided for by Law 232 of 2016 that aims to identify and fund the best 180 Departments of Italian State Universities. The Departments, selected for the quality of the research produced and the quality of the development project, are awarded a total annual budget of €271 million.
The two areas were already among the 350 departments admitted to the project selection with the highest score, defined by the Standardised Departmental Performance Indicator (ISPD) calculated by ANVUR.
The two SISSA projects
The Physics area project will focus on interdisciplinarity, which is "one of the fundamental traits of basic research in the 21st century". With the funding, the Physics area of SISSA intends to initiate new innovative lines of research, bringing together fields as diverse as quantum information, quantum gravity, machine learning, the physics of the cosmos, the standard model of elementary particles, the physics of materials and topological states of matter. The implementation of this project will therefore enable SISSA to maintain a central role in the challenges that the new millennium poses to theoretical physics.
The Mathematics area project envisages the activation of new lines of research in probability, statistics and stochastic processes, from both a theoretical and an applied perspective. In addition to establishing potential collaborations with other groups in the school, such as statistical physics, biophysics, and data science, these actions are also expected to enhance the Mathematics area's educational and research offerings in other areas thanks to the already established SISSA Mathematical Fellowships programme, as well as doctoral fellowships, fellowships for degrees in data science and scientific computing, and a programme to support visitors. In addition, an infrastructure investment is planned in buildings, digitalisation of classrooms, computer, laboratory and library equipment.
Great satisfaction of the SISSA Director and the coordinators of the two Areas
Great satisfaction for this result is expressed by SISSA Director Andrea Romanino and by the coordinators of the two areas, Pasquale Calabrese for the Physics area and Gianluigi Rozza for the Mathematics area.
Prof. Pasquale Calabrese, coordinator of the Physics area, comments: "We are very happy with the result obtained for a truly innovative project for the School. With this initiative, the Physics area intends to create scientific interfaces between the various groups, building on the interdisciplinary institutes that already exist. In doing so we are confident that the project will help to break down outdated and artificial barriers".
Professor Gianluigi Rozza, coordinator of the Mathematics area, comments: "This is a very significant achievement also because our project will have important spin-offs and impact in both the industrial and medical spheres, and strong synergies with other projects already underway that are complementary to this one. The mathematical area wants to emphasise the strong drive for excellence in the more classic and consolidated strands, and at the same time to grow and oversee emerging strands of applied mathematics, mechanics, and calculus. This is to consolidate the area itself and increase its national and international prestige and visibility, objectives shared with the School itself'.