DICAM consists of 78 teachers and 30 units of technical administrative staff. The interdisciplinary nature of research and training initiatives is reflected in the plurality of skills and cultures that characterizes the teaching staff, distributed over 7 of the 14 scientific areas ANVUR, although with a dominant presence (75%) in the macro area of Civil Engineering and Architecture. It guarantees adherence to a polytechnic operating culture, which is nourished by the attitude to dialogue and the integrated vision of problems and implies the link with the world of professions and production realities and reflects a configuration in line with the departmental aggregation models that have established themselves in the top nations of international research.
The research and training activities are developed around different thematic areas and are aimed at improving the well-being of individuals and communities, in the perspective outlined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The focus is on the quality of the natural and built environment, sustainable resource management, safety, and product innovation, identifying environmental protection and risk prevention as priority areas, also about climate change scenarios, innovative materials, technological and constructive solutions, efficient and sustainable structures and infrastructure, renewable natural resources and efficient use of energy, protection, and management of the landscape, the enhancement and reuse of the architectural heritage, the redevelopment of buildings, the networks of services and the territory in its broadest sense. The research activity integrates theoretical analysis and laboratory and field investigations with advanced modeling and numerical simulation tools.
In the development of the Department of Excellence program, DICAM relies on the collaboration with the C3A Center (Agriculture, Food, Environment), established in an agreement between the University of Trento and the Edmund Mach Foundation, directing further acquisitions of instrumentation to complement the infrastructures already available at the Foundation and those acquired as part of the project to develop a technological platform, financed by the Province of Trento, aimed at networking the laboratories of the University and the research foundations operating in the area. The collaboration with the C3A also includes the activation of the master’s degree in Environmental Meteorology, in a consortium with the University of Innsbruck, and the strengthening of the doctoral program, to activate a new path that integrates research related to precision agriculture and the multiple interactions of anthropic activity with ecosystems, in particular the aquatic one. In 2019, the new Ph.D. course in Agri-Food and Environmental Sciences was launched, in collaboration with the C3A Centre, which aims to train researchers who can actively contribute to the economic, technological, and scientific development of the agro-industry food and environment with attention to the well-being and collective health and the safeguarding of natural resources in a circular economy perspective.
In environmental and structural surveying, DICAM has a consolidated relationship of collaboration with teachers in the telecommunications area, having also accompanied the initial development of the sector in the University. The area has strategic competencies in the design of detection systems and in the interpretation of remote-detected signals complementary to those of DICAM and functional to the development project. The aim is to strengthen this collaboration by promoting the further development of joint research and the integration of mutual competencies in higher education, higher qualification, and updating of the training offer, and the possible integration of these competencies within the Department is assessed positively. Finally, DICAM intends to activate a strategic partnership with the Italian Space Agency (of which a teacher is a member of the Technical and Scientific Committee) for the granting of Cosmo SkyMED data (dual system for earth observation) acquired with SAR interferometry techniques, which allow only a few years the measurement of vertical coordinates and in the plane with millimeter accuracy. Applications of this technology relevant to the project concern environmental monitoring (e.g., river dynamics, landslides, subsidence) and structural (e.g., damage due to seismic effects).
The activities of the Coordinator of the Department of Excellence initiative are coordinated with the Department bodies (Board and Council), where proposals are discussed, shared, and approved. Moreover, they are convened, to cadence anniversary, Conferences of Department for the presentation of the state of advance of the plan and the discussion of future activities and synergistic initiatives, to which are invited territorial stakeholders operating in areas of interest and representatives of students of the courses involved in the project.
The Department’s development objectives concern two main areas of intervention:
- achieve a qualitative leap in scientific research in two thematic areas on which the interests and competencies of a numerically significant part of DICAM converge and around which it is possible to aggregate the contribution of the different disciplinary areas.
- promoting a quality-oriented, dynamic, and innovative working environment through a path of growth in a research organization, higher education, and technology transfer, able to maximize the effectiveness of investment in research and socio-economic impact, and offer the best conditions for career continuity of young researchers and train highly qualified and competitive engineers in global scenarios.
In the path of growth, the project Department of Excellence of DICAM has among its primary objectives to offer optimal conditions for the development of the human, professional and scientific potential of the trainees, ensuring opportunities for growth in the context of a scientific community committed to advanced and innovative issues, recognized for its high qualification in priority areas of interest, open to international relations and in dialogue with the territories and the world of production. This strategic vision of talent development includes the following initiatives:
- Provision of start-up funding to support research activities, linked to production in prestigious magazines, and the launch of exploratory research projects on the basis of seed money calls;
- expansion and strengthening of the second level training offer, in particular by encouraging the internationalization of training courses.
- doctoral development: research provision, international networks, financial autonomy.