The University of Calabria was conceived and developed starting from a very clear vision and a well-defined mission linked to some principles that have traditionally inspired the organizational layouts and the modus operandi of top-class universities.
The first principle is surely represented by the Humboldtian idea of universitas studiorum: a model of university in which teaching contents and methods are continuously innovated through the results produced by research. The model, by promoting the exchange of ideas, typical of innovative didactics, will ultimately contribute to the formulation of new research proposals.
Due to this interdependence, the benefits of research are transferred to didactics and vice versa, thereby triggering a cause-effect process that would generate development and excellence.
This model, due to the current evolutionary stage of information technologies and the widespread use of communication and organisational networks, takes advantage of research processes on a planetary scale, although maintaining its basic soundness, in that only direct performance of research and teaching activities can grant the university’s faculty “full membership” in the international community of researchers and ensure access to the most innovative results produced by science worldwide.
The second inspiring principle of the University of Calabria is to be found in its organizational concept from a town-planning viewpoint: i.e. the decision to concentrate research activities in a University Campus. The reasons for this choice lay in the fact that knowledge accumulation and sharing are more frequent in campuses; this is also true for cross-contamination, integration, hybridisation and phenomena of knowledge emulation and spreading from an intra-disciplinary and an inter-disciplinary point of view.
The above-mentioned principles, moreover, are completely in line with a vision of a world evolving towards continuous technological, organizational, social and business innovations. This perspective implies increasingly stronger interactions – both virtual and personal – among researchers of different disciplines, as well as among professors and students. Finally, the same criteria are coherent with the specific mission of the Campus of Arcavacata, within the social and economic fabric of the area: generating and spreading innovative knowledge, which – in turn – fosters the social and entrepreneurial development driving the economic growth which contributes to locate southern regions in the network of national and international centres of “knowledge production” with higher added value.
Great attention has been paid to research activities carried out at the University of Calabria exactly for this reason and considerable energy and resources have been invested in research. Proof of that are the 25 Departments hosting the complex and qualified network of scientific initiatives of the University; the several interdepartmental research centres, as well as the consortia and associations started along with the efforts devoted to the enhancement and revitalisation of the Parco Scientifico e Tecnologico della Calabria (Calpark), located in the Technology Park of the University.
The high quality of the research activities carried out at the University of Calabria is significantly represented by two national Excellence Centres promoted by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, namely the High-Performance Computing Centre and the Centre of Nanostructured Materials for Photonic and Optoelectronic Applications. The top-level quality of the research has also been acknowledged by the high rating of the National Committee for the Evaluation of Research (CIVR).
The University of Calabria is currently developing research projects in cooperation with other Italian universities, both public and private, through the creation of a network linking it to the Italian innovation system.
Over the last few years, several research projects have been funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research and by Research Institutes and Agencies (CAR, ASIA, ENEMA, INN and INFO, later merged with CAR) as well as by the European Commission and countless public and private institutions on a regional and national scale.
The University has also entered into a number of agreements with international institutions, for research activities both at a European and extra-European level, and for researcher training, such as in the case of doctoral courses. On this subject, it is worth mentioning the internationalisation activity of doctoral courses enabling graduates to obtain joint postgraduate degrees in co-tutorship with renowned European or Mediterranean universities.
Research and/or study agreements have been established with the universities of other countries, such as: Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Denmark, Ecuador, Far Oer, the Philippines, France, Germany, Japan, the U.K., Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Kosovo, Lebanon, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Slovenia, Spain, Taiwan and Tunisia.
A number of research initiatives feature immediate application in industrial production processes and in managerial activities in the public and private sectors. For this reason, several research activities are carried out in collaboration with leading national and international companies and scientific institutions such as Finmeccanica Group, with which a partnership for strategic collaboration has been established. Other partners include: Ferrovie dello Stato, Enel, Ferrari, Sibarit-Osas, Alenia Spazio, the European Space Agency, the Space Research Institute, CERN, Abastumany Observatory, and Big Bear Observatory, just to mention a few.
Moreover, many national and European research projects coordinated by professors of the University of Calabria have led to the development of patented innovations; the University promotes the initial stage of valorisation of the patented products by means of the Liaison Office which maintains continuous contacts with the business world.
Some projects have also generated research spin-offs such as Exeura, dealing with knowledge management at an international level, headquartered in Rende and with branches in Milan and Chicago; DeltaE, specialising in the field of energy and development of advanced technology aimed at the use of hydrogen as renewable energy source and vector; Elchrom and CalCTec, manufacturing advanced electro-optical devices; CHT, specialising in biomechanical devices; totalling 21 companies currently working in the area of the Campus.
Extensive research is also carried out in humanities and legal, economic and social disciplines, as testified by the increasing number of articles written by researchers and professors of the University of Calabria and published in the major national and international journals.
Thanks to its significant results, the University of Calabria is today a real innovation centre, in technology and in other fields, recognised and appreciated in the national and international academic milieus.