FoodPackLab Collaborating Cluster: Welcome OPTOSCANA / CNR-IFAC!

The Institute of Applied Physics “Nello Carrara” (IFAC) is part of the Italian National Research Council (CNR), which is the main public organisation pursuing research and innovation in Italy. IFAC is also the legal entity which acts as the coordinator of the Regional Photonics Cluster of Tuscany “OPTOSCANA”, including about 120 enterprises, research centres and other organisations, many of them active in the Photonics field.

Recently, CNR-IFAC became part of the National Competence Center Artes 4.0 (Advanced Robotics and enabling digital Technologies and Service) providing services to Italian companies in the field of Industry 4.0. In this framework, and being photonics a cross-sectoral technology, the collaborations and services to the regional SME carried out in the last years are mainly application oriented. CNR-IFAC also holds a collaboration with the S3 Platform on High Tech Farming, where Tuscany Region is leader, being therefore familiar with the agri-food sector. CNR-IFAC / Optoscana also participated to several European projects, providing support to the SMEs towards internationalization and European collaboration. Thus, they are the ideal collaborating partner for the FoodPackLab Project.

IFAC’s main aim is to carry out frontier research at an international level and, at the same time, to develop new technologies and methodologies that can be effectively transferred to the economic system. The approaches involved are theoretical, experimental and applied research, with a firm determination to develop new techniques and to build prototypes of instruments. The main lines of research promoted in IFAC are Lasers, Biophotonics, Micro-optics, Sensors, Remote Sensing, Microwaves, and ICT. These physical methods are then employed to investigate novel applications in several branches of interdisciplinary sciences, such as biophotonics for therapy and surgery, optical sensors for environmental control, laser techniques and diagnostic methods for archaeometry and the conservation of the cultural heritage. The whole Institute is part of the CNR Florence Research Area situated at the “Polo Scientifico di Sesto Fiorentino”.

In the framework of the regional, national and European clusters, CNR IFAC has been promoter of collecting data from the research centres (CNR and Universities) and from the enterprises, through visits, interviews and filling in forms and surveys. The results were used as a starting point of the activities of the Innovation Pole OPTOSCANA described below, evidencing technological needs and services offers that can be addressed.

At Regional (Tuscany) level, IFAC is since 2011 the coordinator of the OPTOSCANA Pole of Innovation for Photonics, Optoelectronics and Space. It includes 90 companies, 10 research centres. 5 Universities and 10 innovation agencies from Tuscany. Until now, the Pole has provided more than 40 services to companies. At present, IFAC is also responsible for the Scientific Secretariat of the Regional District FORTIS (acronym of Photonics, Optoelectronics, Robotics, Telecom, ICT and Space).

At National level, IFAC is involved in the Italian Photonics Platform “CORIFI” (which mimics Photonics21 in terms of organization and WGs), and Roberto Pini (IFAC Director) is responsible for the WG3 on Photonics for Life Sciences and Health, for Research Centres and Universities.

At European level, IFAC is supporting the participation of Tuscany in the mirror group of Photonics21. In particular, they promoted a significant cofounding from our Region for the ERANET+ BiphotonicsPlus program started in 2013, and they replicated a similar effort for the ERANET Cofund initiative on Photonic Sensing, called “Photosens”. Moreover, the Tuscan cluster is part of a European and international photonics clusters network, called Global Photonics Alliance.

Find out more about Photonics for the assessment of table grape ripeness, by having a look at Lorenza Tuccio’s (CNR – IFAC) presentation at the FoodPackLab event in Barcelona in May 2019:

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