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Research Topics

The main objective of this Thematic Line consists of the advancement and technological transfer of knowledge in the field of environmental monitoring, protection and remediation, coherently with the principles of circular economy. Among their specific objectives, research activities include development of innovative systems for the sustainable exploitation of resources, minimization and valorization of waste and by-products, reduction of polluting emissions, treatment and disposal of hazardous waste and remediation of contaminated sites. Such objectives are pursued through the use of advanced geochemical and geophysical methods and Earth Observation technologies, and through the development of integrated physical-bio-hydro-electrometallurgical, biological and bio-electrochemical processes.

The transition from a linear economy, which does not take into account the impacts of human activities on the availability of resources and environmental quality, to a circular economy, in which the sustainable use of resources and the minimization of negative impacts on the environment foster industrial, economic and social progress, is strongly encouraged at global scale.

In this context, the use of secondary raw materials assumes strategic importance for European industrial production (dependent on third Countries for the supply of raw materials), therefore EU Countries are required to foster the recycling of waste and the implementation of schemes for their collection, treatment and disposal.

At the same time, treating polluting emissions with economical and efficient technologies, which in turn have a negligible environmental impact and allow the recovery of energy and added value substances, is of fundamental importance. Even where pollution phenomena have occurred (contaminated sites), the “circular” approach promotes the adoption of remediation techniques that minimize the movement of soil (in situ, on site) and rely on biologically assisted processes. In this constantly evolving scenario, the activities of this Line contribute to the development of technologies (including integrated ones) that promote the transition to a circular economy model, with a “zero waste production” cycle.

SA2. Earth Observation

SA3. Natural Risks and anthropic impact, and environmental technologies 

SA4. Natural Resources and Ecosystems

SA9. Chemical Sciences and Materials Technology

LS9_6 Food sciences

LS9_8 Environmental biotechnology, bioremediation, biodegradation

LS9_9 Applied biotechnology (non-medical), bioreactors, applied microbiology

PE4_8 Electrochemistry, electrodialysis, microfluidics, sensors

PE4_9 Methods development in chemistry

PE4_18 Environment chemistry

PE8_3 Civil engineering, maritime/hydraulic engineering, geotechnics, waste treatment

PE8_12 Sustainable design (for recycling, for environment, eco-design)

PE10_4 Terrestrial ecology, land cover change

PE10_9 Biogeochemistry, biogeochemical cycles, environmental chemistry

PE10_10 Mineralogy, petrology, igneous petrology, metamorphic petrology

PE10_11 Geochemistry, crystal chemistry, isotope geochemistry, thermodynamics

PE10_15 Earth observations from space/remote sensing

PE10_17 Hydrology, water and soil pollution;

SH3_1 Environment, resources and sustainability

SH3_2 Environmental change and society

Geo/04 Physical Geography and Geomorphology

Geo/05 Applied Geology 

Geo/06 Mineralogy 

Geo/08 Geochemistry and Volcanology

Geo/09 Mining Georesources and Mineralogic-Petrographic Applications for the Environment and Cultural Heritage

Icar/03 – Envinonmental Sanitary Engineering

Ing-Ind/29 Engineering of raw materials


Development and application of innovative techniques for the remediation of sites contaminated by toxic / harmful waste


Study, development and application of biological and bio-electrochemical processes for the purification of urban and industrial wastewater, and the remediation of contaminated aquifers.


Application of geochemical and geophysical methods for: characterization and monitoring of contaminated sites; identification, characterization, monitoring (also continuous) and assessment of the holding capacity of sites suitable for the storage of urban and special solid waste, radioactive waste and carbon dioxide of anthropogenic origin (Carbon Capture and Storage, CCS).


Study and application of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) that can be transferred to industry, such as integrated hydro-biometallurgical processes, for the valorization of secondary geological materials of industrial and mining interest, with recovery and purification of toxic metals and their reuse as valuable metals; securing abandoned mining areas.


Dissemination and openness to the socio-economic context through the enhancement and transfer of knowledge via: outreach activities in schools of every level; public information (e.g., journalism services and technical or cultural insights on TV, press and web); economic valorization of research through initiatives with a socio-cultural and educational value; public engagement with institutions (e.g., hearings in the Senate and Chamber of Deputies).




Geological, pedological and geochemical traceability of the inorganic fraction of agri-food products, and food safety


Innovative training courses designed for undergraduates, PhD students, postdocs and trainees, in line with the needs of environmental protection, the market and the industries, through access to resources and equipment of excellence, collaboration in research and innovation projects with expert staff.


Activities aimed at transforming research results into knowledge, in order to promote the economic growth through research-industry relationships, and at the same time scientific dissemination, education, civil awareness and continuous training for the benefit of the community (citizens, decision makers, students, teachers of primary and secondary schools) proposing didactic laboratories, seminars, workshops, events.


Application of Earth Observation technologies for the study, mapping and optimized management of residues through the integration of spectral, physical and mineralogical data.