CERN Accelerating science


Italian National Institute
for Nuclear Physics



INFN is primarily a research community whose members work to discover the mechanisms and the fundamental components of matter. To do so, they invent and develop innovative technologies and make some of the most accurate measurements humanely possible. INFN is a public research agency under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR). It conducts theoretical and experimental research within a framework of international competition, in collaboration with universities. This requires the use of cutting edge technology and instruments developed by INFN at its own laboratories and in collaboration with industries. Today INFN employs around 5,000 scientists whose work is recognised internationally not only for their contribution to various European laboratories, but also to numerous research centres worldwide.

Impact on society and on the economy – Technology transfer

Basic research needs innovative solutions using advanced technology that often exceeds the available industrial know how. That is why INFN develops technological research for use in advanced experiments, driven by the need to develop new methods of particle acceleration and detection or data acquisition and analysis.

These experiments represent a unique source of innovative technology in the field of superconductivity, electronics, precision mechanics, high performance networks, medical imaging diagnostics, nuclear particle beam therapy, techniques for use in the preservation of artistic heritage, etc. It is therefore only natural that INFN should transfer the knowledge acquired during its research activities.

Transfer of technology is gradually becoming an established practice within INFN, also thanks to its new functional organisation. Over the years, INFN’s technological research has had a multiple impact on many companies: from the size of their workforce to the ability to extend their product ranges and increase their engineering and production capacity.

Some businesses have been set up on the basis of ongoing relations with INFN. There are hundreds of cases in which INFN has been a source of stimulus and growth, even of employment, mainly among small and medium sized enterprises, and has fostered the creation and success of leading companies. Although from a financial perspective the impact on large scale industry has been marginal, it has developed and activated production lines which have made a significant technological contribution.