A modern, vertical, scientific structure
The principal domestic and international funding agencies identify the sectors in which scientific research must be developed following specific policies which have been instrumental in shaping INSTM's scientific network. Indeed, the Consortium has identified four general Fields of Research (FoRs) that correspond with the areas that the European Commission in particular has identified as being worthy of financial support, both for pure research projects, and for projects that integrate research with industry.
These FoRs, outlined below, include the exploration, study and development of the following:
- Advanced mechanics, construction and transport
Materials for structural applications and for use in extreme conditions; surface activation and functionalisation; science and technology of materials for sustainable mobility; materials manufacturing processes; treatment techniques from the point of view of material design, deterioration and behaviour in real working conditions.
- Energy and environment
Materials for the more efficient consumption of energy resources; conventional and alternative environmentally-friendly, innovative, high-efficiency systems for energy generation and storage; catalysis and its resulting processes.
- Systems for the processing, transmission and storage of information
Materials and systems for electronics; photonics; MEMs/NEMs; sensor technology; data storage and imaging.
- Health and Nutrition
Life science materials, including the ones for the fields of nutrition and agri-food; biosensor technology; nanomedicine; packaging and microporous films.
The Scientific Council and the FoR network are supported by two ad hoc committees that provide specific additional capabilities via an unparalleled network of advanced skills, knowledge and tools in the following fields:
- Scientific and technological computation
Universally beneficial for all of the abovementioned FoRs, this is invaluable in enabling the research of computational calculus. In particular, it allows computational resources to be managed in such a way that the benefits of supercalculus can be shared across multiple sites to further materials science. This uses grid technologies and research into the development of molecular-level, mesoscopic and macroscopic modelling, as well as the use of innovative multiscale modelling approaches for technology applications.
- Conservation of cultural heritage
This looks at issues strictly connected to restoration, but also at the deterioration, diagnostics, recovery and protection of cultural assets. Thanks to these numerous and highly varied competences, this is a typically multidisciplinary area that calls for many and varied skills that again, range across the areas covered by all of the FoRs.
The four FoRs and the two ad hoc committees form a tightly-knit scientific network that forms the principal point of contact between the INSTM and the scientific, political and industrial worlds. This is because it is the all-important pool from which INSTM can quickly form multidisciplinary, highly vertically-focused R&D teams with all the expertise and resources necessary to work on the specific needs of INSTM's external clients/partners. It is this flexible and wide-ranging yet highly focused, efficient approach that makes the INSTM a force to be reckoned with at European level. For its competitive strength, speed, expertise, capabilities, methodology and resources, INSTM is an invaluable resource, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, for public organisations and for industrial partners alike.