To promote scientific discoveries, in the fields of biomedical sciences, microsciences and nanosciences, and to transfer basic research toward the development of enabling technologies, such as may be new materials, sensors, measurement and control systems and intelligent data processing, with a mind to the realization of biorobotic platforms to increase well-being and health and to promote environmental sustainability. These are the main goals of the BRIEF (Biorobotics Research and Innovation Engineering Facilities) research infrastructure project, whose proposal is led by Sant'Anna School, along with partners University of Napoli Federico II and Polytechnic University of Bari. The project has been funded with more than 24 million euros, thanks to funds from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRPP), supported by the European NextGenerationEU program. Of the more than 24 million, which corresponds to the total funding for BRIEF, more than 15 million will be invested by the Sant'Anna School.
Excellent evaluation reported by the BRIEF project, which was awarded first place in the judgment of the International Commission on "Data, Computing and Digital Research Infrastructures" (DIGIT) area. The project will start on October 1, 2022 and will have a duration of 30 months and aims to upgrade an existing distributed infrastructure, with a central node in Pontedera (Pisa), at the Institute of BioRobotics of Sant'Anna School, already identified as high priority by the Ministry of University and Research in the context of the National Research Infrastructure Plan 2021-2027, but also a series of interventions for the creation, upgrading and renovation of research laboratories and in the other research structures of Sant'Anna School, in Pisa, and in the national territory. These interventions promote the mobility and training of research staff, representing an important opportunity for experimentation in the field of biorobotics for the national and international community of researchers, who will be able to access the BRIEF infrastructure.
The socio-economic impact of the initiative will also be enhanced thanks to the synergy with the ARTES 4.0 Competence Center, coordinated by the Sant'Anna School, headquartered in Pontedera. The BRIEF network will have an important presence in Tuscany, Campania, and Puglia and will expand over the course of the project, involving other universities, research institutions and researchers who will join the research infrastructure through open-access calls and joint laboratories.
"It is a great satisfaction", comments Sabina Nuti, Rector of Sant'Anna School, "but also a commitment and a responsibility for Sant'Anna School this BRIEF project. I thank the colleagues at the Institute of Biorobotics who were the promoters of this project and all the researchers at Sant'Anna School who have contributed to achieving this result".
"It is an extremely valuable element to have equipment infrastructure avant-garde", stresses Arianna Menciassi, Vice Rector of Sant'Anna School and scientific coordinator of the BRIEF infrastructure, "with dedicated research staff and space to accommodate international researchers who can make prototypes or test models in our facilities. It is not only about enriching and enhancing an existing infrastructure, but also making it open, accessible and exquisitely international. Having "at our home" qualified human capital is an incentive to grow and do even better”.
"This initiative", explains Christian Cipriani, Director of the BioRobotics Institute at Sant'Anna School, "will allow us to develop new laboratories and new research spaces open to researchers from all over the world, in the hope that this will contribute to strengthening the international standing of the research conducted by our community. For this, I am grateful to the City of Pontedera, which is always very attentive and ready to support initiatives such as these that look far into the future, and to the City of Pisa, which will provide an area for testing self-driving cars".