General description

About us

CNIT ( is a non-profit consortium, bringing together 37 public Italian universities to perform research in the field of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT). CNIT operates 43 Research Units, one for each member university plus six other units belonging to institutes of the National Research Council (CNR, the largest public research institution in Italy) that reached a cooperation agreement with CNIT. CNIT also operates four national laboratories: Photonic Networks & Technologies, Radar & Surveillance Systems; Multimedia Communications; Sustainable and Secure Internet Technologies and Infrastructures.

More than 1,300 researchers, belonging to the Member universities, collaborate within CNIT, together with more than 100 CNIT own employees. The innovation and technology transfer of research results towards end users and industry is a primary mission for CNIT. It also promotes the collaboration between member universities and other educational institutes as well as technical and scientific collaborations with national and international research institutes and industries.

In the recent past CNIT participated in hundreds of research projects, including European Research Council (ERC) grants and Italian nation-wide initiatives, and coordinated several European funded projects. In the first four years of the European Horizon 2020 program, about 30 projects were awarded to CNIT.

General description

CNIT brings together 37 public Italian universities active in the general area of ICT, for which it represents a support structure in the execution of their institutional research and training activities in the field of telecommunications and electromagnetism.

CNIT was established in 1995. The Director for the term 2017-2019 is Prof. Nicola Blefari Melazzi, University of Rome Tor Vergata, while the President is prof. Gianni Vernazza, University of Genoa.

The Consortium has the statutory purpose of promoting basic and applied research in the various fields of ICT, coordinating activities among the member universities with particular attention to the definition, promotion and implementation of innovative projects of significant size. In addition to fostering collaboration between member universities, it promotes technical and scientific collaborations of the university system, in the field of relevance, with other research institutions, in particular the National Research Council, and with national and multinational industries.

It carries out a concerted action to provide opportunities for professional growth for the design, implementation and management of ICT devices, systems and services, with particular regard to telecommunications and electromagnetism, enhancing interdisciplinary aspects and in accordance with both national and international research programs, through the awarding of annual scholarships for young graduates to be used at the member universities.

In the field of research training, always starting from a university perspective, the CNIT operates towards the training of PhDs and the preparation of expert researchers, through the granting of PhD scholarships at the member universities and the offer of material didactic in English to the same universities by telematic means.

CNIT is organized in operative structures, namely Research Units (RU) and National Labs (NL). The RUs are normally constituted in the member universities with a convention act which rules the RU inside the hosting Department. Each RU can include both university personnel, CNIT employees and scholarship students.

The NLs are structures owned and managed directly by CNIT and play an intensive research activity (design and implementation areas) on a national and international basis.

CNIT in numbers

In the years 2014-17 CNIT managed:

  • 155 European projects (with a total of 41 M€)
  • 102 National research projects (with a total of 8.2 M€)
  • 243 Industrial projects (with a total of 14.3 M€)

The table shows the number of projects and the total funds managed by CNIT in the years 2014-2017.

Projects 2014 45 28 76 149
Funds 2014 8 M€ 2.2 M€ 3.4 M€ 13.6 M€
Projects 2015 46 35 70 151
Funds 2015 13.1 M€ 2.1 M€ 6.1 M€ 21.3 M€
Projects 2016 28 21 48 97
Funds 2016 8.6 M€ 1.3 M€ 2.5 M€ 12.4 M€
Projects 2017 36 18 49 103
Funds 2016 11.3 M€ 2.6 M€ 2.3 M€ 16.2 M€

CNIT aims to

  • promote and coordinate basic and applied research for the solutions of practical engineering problems;
  • develop partnerships among industries, operators, public and private research centers;
  • provide research post-graduate fellowships;
  • stimulate initiatives of scientific divulgation.

Research areas

  • Wireless communications
  • Optical communications and networks
  • Radar and surveillance systems
  • Satellite communications
  • Sensor networks
  • Cognitive networks
  • Multimedia signal processing
  • Security and privacy in ICT systems
  • ICT systems for l’e-Health, green environment, emergencies
  • Integrated photonics
  • Graphene applications to ICT and sensing
  • Quantum information