Eni and CNR combine research and innovation capabilities to tackle global challenges

Over 20 million euro to conduct joint research in four areas of high scientific and strategic interest and to establish four research centers in Southern Italy.

Rome, 4 May 2018 - The President of the National Research Council (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, CNR), Massimo Inguscio, and Eni CEO, Claudio Descalzi, signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to conduct joint research in four areas of high scientific and strategic interest: nuclear fusion, water, agriculture and the Arctic ecosystem.   

Eni and the CNR will combine their strong technological research and development capabilities by establishing 4 joint research centers, with a total economic commitment of over 20 million euros for a duration of 5 years. The research centers will all be located in Southern Italy where the following research centers are already operational:

  • Gela, in Sicily, to develop nuclear fusion technology, a potentially unlimited source of clean energy;  
  • Lecce, in Puglia, for research on the Arctic and the role of open-air laboratory it can play in in the context of global warming;
  • Metaponto, in Basilicata, for the important role of water, both as a vital resource and as an essential element for a balanced ecosystem
  • Pozzuoli, in Campania, for agriculture as the main activity and fundamental economic sector for the development of any social and economic context


The CEO of Eni Claudio Descalzi said: “This agreement is a significant step for Eni towards the development and implementation of increasingly efficient energy-generating technologies that are sustainable and accessible to a growing number of people. Eni has a long-standing commitment to support scientific research in order to achieve concrete and scientifically solid solutions, which allow us to diversify our energy mix towards increasingly sustainable sources. Moreover, the collaboration with a prestigious research center such as the CNR will allow us to conduct in-depth studies which have immediate repercussions on both the ecosystem and private companies, although they may not be directly related to the energy sector”.

The President of CNR Massimo Inguscio said: “The National Research Council, together with Eni, aims at accelerating the development of new technologies that can tackle global challenges, such as the relationship between energy, water, food and the environment, with solutions that are efficient, clean and with a low water footprint. The collaboration agreement focuses on four strategic areas: water and agriculture, to achieve purification and reuse of the hydric resource and the sustainable food production, particularly in those areas of the world where population is growing at a fast pace such as Africa; nuclear fusion, last generation superconductor materials and plasma as technologies able to produce virtually unlimited energy with no emission of climate-changing gases; the Arctic, where CNR has been conducting research for 20 years in its research base with cutting-edge technologies, for its environmental sensibility and the importance it plays in the broader issue of global warming”.


The acceleration of the energy transition towards “below 2°C” scenarios and the access to resources for a growing global population are momentous challenges and CNR and Eni must give their contribution, leveraging their knowledge and innovation. In the growing demand of access to resources, energy, water and food are correlated variables: 90% of the global power production requires a strong use of water, but water is also vital for agricultural development (70% of global water use) and its availability is under stress in various areas of the world, also due to the climate change.


The MOU includes the creation of a joint work group, which will have to define the centers’ operational guidelines, the issues and the projects to be developed in the following 5 years, the allocation of resources, and the preparation of a Cooperation Agreement for the joint management of the Centers.  In the coming months, all the details of the Centers’ operations will be defined, as well as the organization of joint strategic workshops, the first one to be held in September.

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