Institute of methodologies for environmental analysis (IMAA)


The Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis (IMAA-CNR) was officially created in 2002, in the framework of the reorganisation process of CNR (Decree n. 015446 of 14.01.2000; published on G.U. n.24 of 31.01.2000). According to this Decree, IMAA results from the grouping of three pre-existing institutes:
-Institute of Advanced Methodologies for Environmental Analysis (IMAAA);
-Institute of Clay Research (IRA);
-Institute of Horticultural and Industrial Culture (IOCI).
IMAA-CNR headquartes is located in the CNR Research Area of Potenza (Basilicata Region), in the industrial area of Tito Scalo (PZ).
The Institute's activities are organized within the four following axes:
o Satellite, airborne and ground-based Earth Observation for the study of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere plus their interactions, for the development of meteo-climatic applications and the prediction, prevention and mitigation of risks;
o Chemical-physical characterization of ground, soil and subsoil;
o Development of advanced environmental monitoring techniques based on the integration of in-situ and remote sensing chemical-physical, biological and ecological methods;
o Integrated methodologies for energy-environmental planning and modeling as well as the management and interoperability of geospatial data.
This multidisciplinary approach has permitted the study of geophysical and environmental processes of remarkable complexity in an innovative way by following the GMES/COPERNICUS (Global Monitoring of Environment and Security ) programme guidelines and the GEOSS strategy (Global Earth Observation System of Systems).

To-date, the permanent staff includes 80 people (54 researchers and technologists; 22 technicians; 4 administrative) whereas the non-permanent staff (28 post-doc fellowships, 14 PhD students and other collaborators) includes more than 50 people. This result (more significant if the relatively short IMAA's life is taken into account) has been obtained by means of a continuous and effective research policy aimed at improving the attractiveness of top talents and young scientists in Earth Observation and Environmental Sciences. In the period 2011-2014 the IMAA researchers published more than 300 papers on peer-reviewed journals (30% of papers falls in the highest JCR Quartile Q1) and coordinated several national and international projects.

Financial resources
IMAA shows a strong high capability of self-fund rising in the frame of competitive calls. In the period 2011-2014 the institute has signed contracts for about 11 MEUR of which more than 30% was represented by financial resources relating to industrial research projects with private companies.

Research Groups
The IMAA's research activity has been organized into n.7 research groups:
1. Development and Integration od Lidar, Radiometric and Microwave Tecniques for the 4D Characterization of Atmosphere
2. Satellite Remote Sensing for Clouds and Precipitations
3. OT Multi-platform Metods and Tecniques for Surface Process Characterization and Natural and Anthropic Risk NRT Monitoring
4. Earth Observation Integrated Tecniques for Environmental and Archeological Research
5. Micro and Biominerals in Environmental and Human Health Issues
6. Integrated Methodologies for the Study of Soil and Subsoil
7. Integrated Modelling for Energy-Environmental Sustainability

Research Infrastructures
IMAA has been proved to be particularly capable to set up research infrastructures, some of these of international significance.
The main instrumental facilities operating at the IMAA laboratories are:
o The CIAO-CNR-IMAA Atmospheric Observatory which is one of the worldwide sites within the GRUAN network for the study of the high atmosphere;
o A system for receiving, processing and storing satellite images (NOAA, MSG, EOS-AQUA, EOS-TERRA), which is capable of providing near real time geospatial information for environmental and geo-hazard monitoring.
o A Hydrogeosite Experimental test field at the Marsico Nuovo Centre, which is the first full-scale laboratory in Italy for the investigation of hydrogeophysical processes;
o Mobile laboratories consisting of a Lidar system, a system for interferometric and radiometric measurements, a system for noninvasive chemical-physical and geophysical measurements, a system for geochemical and mineralogical measurements and hyperspectral sensors for airborne platforms.
IMAA is the coordinator of the ACTRIS project "Aerosols, Clouds, and Trace Gases Research Infrastructure Network", funded within the FP7 framework involving 28 European sites of key infrastructures for the study of aerosols and clouds. Recently, an implementation of the ACTRIS Research Infrastructure has been funded in the frame of a new call of HORIZON 2020.

International activities
The IMAA inclusion in international programmes further increased in 2014 thanks to the participation in FP7 calls for bids. IMAA has participated in21 FP7 projects (MODELPROBE, G-MOSAIC, GIGAS, EUROGEOSS, SAFER, REACCESS, ISTIMES, DORIS, ACTRIS, GEOVIQUA, DORIS-NET, EGIDA, WEZARD, SAGRES, ITARS, ELITE, IMAGE, BEYOND, LAMPRE, UNCERTWEB, ERMES) . Such projects are mostly aimed at the development and integration of earth observation techniques as well as data sharing and interoperability in order to be used in the fields of environment, and natural risks . In addition, in 2012 IMAA started up research projects ( RENERGY, RESE-Eties. OrientGate, " S mart Energy Regions " ) financed within other European programmes ( INTERREG, South-Est-Europe, COST) , IMAA also promoted activities and bilateral projects of international cooperation, and stipulated scientific cooperation agreements with institutes of the Chinese Academy of Science. IMAA, moreover, participates in the Energy European Research Alliance (EERA) as far as the smart city issue is concerned.
In the frame of HORIZON 2020, IMAA has already recorded 3 projects approved, out of which 2 have the Coordination played by IMAA. The first project called GAIA-CLIM was funded under the call EO-3-2014 'Observation capacity mapping in the context of Atmospheric and Climate change monitoring'. The second one called ACTRIS-2, coordinated by IMAA, was funded under the call INFRAIA-2014-2015 "Integrating and Opening Research Infrastructures of European Interest". ENVRIPLUS, coordinated by IMAA, was funded under the call INFRADEV4-2014-2015 "Developing new world-class research infrastructures".

National activities
IMAA cooperates intensively with other CNR Institutes and Universities, and with the most important national research centres (ASI, INGV and OGS) and with University Consortia (CNIT, CNISM, RELUIS). Among the most important initiatives, it is worth mentioning the promotion of the "Smart Basilicata" and "Clara" projects approved by MIUR within the "Smart Cities and Communities" calls for bid. In addition, within the activities for the development of the PRISMA satellite mission, IMAA coordinated the SAP4PRISMA project funded by the Italian Space Agency. Furthermore, IMAA took part in the VIGOR project aiming at the evaluation of the geothermal potential in the convergence regions and in the Net-Eco project aiming at the diffusion of innovative technologies for the reclamation of contaminated sites, financed by MISE.

Projects and cooperation with the Public Administration
IMAA is the Dip Competence Centre of Civil Defence ( D.M. n. 252/06 ) and cooperates with the Ministry of Defence ( INTEGRO project) to develop activities for geospatial data management and sharing. In 2012 IMAA further increased its cooperation with the territory by promoting the drawing-up of a collaboration agreement between CNR and the Basilicata Regional Authority. In this framework IMAA started up research activities with the Val d'Agri Environmental Observatory and gave a technical/scientific support to the Basilicata Regional Council Committee of Inquiry on the FENICE waste-to-energy incinerator. Among the major activities carried out during 2014 it is worth mentioning the completion of the geo-chemical survey in contaminated sites of national interest, the study of asbestos as well as the pollution of soils and areas of great naturalistic value ( the Pollino National park ) , the testing of satellite techniques for the monitoring of wood fires in Basilicata, a project for the use of hyper-spectral sensors and electromagnetic diagnostic techniques for the monitoring of the main roads in areas at a high hydrogeological risk, and a project in cooperation with the Campania regional Authority for the study of tourist and naturalistic areas. Furthermore, IMAA supported the Basilicata Regional Authority, the Province and the Municipality of Potenza in the implementation of the ORIENTGATE, RENERGY and RE-SEEties European projects focusing on energy and climate issues.

Projects and collaborations with industrial partners
In 2014 IMAA contributed to the improvement of the Consorzio TeRN activities financed by MIUR and aiming at the creation of a technological district in the Basilicata Regional Authority. IMAA promoted industrial research projects in cooperation with companies of national importance: a project financed by ENI for the integration of in-situ electromagnetic techniques and SAR satellite interferometry for the investigation of hydrogeological instability phenomena in Val d ' Agri, a project financed by ENI to test innovative electromagnetic technologies at the hydrogeosite experimental site, a PNRM project in cooperation with Selex-Galileo financed by the Ministry of Defence - TELEDIFE -aimed at the study and creation of a hyperspectral aerial sensor in the LWIR region to be applied in the military field, a pilot project financed by the Italian National Railways for the development of a geo-electrical system to monitor a railway-line section affected by a landslide, a project financed by Selex Sistemi Integrati for the development of systems and geospatial management. In this field it is worth mentioning the start of a project with GSE for the experimentation of the AMESIS code for the solar irradiance evaluation at ground through satellite technology. In addition, IMAA has a well-established relationship with the Confederation of Basilicata Industry, and Basilicata Innovazione.