Who we are and what we do
Member of the Month
Each month, we bring you a deeper look at what our Members do in relation to our three core activities: Marine Research Infrastructures, Marine Knowledge Management, and Marine Science Communication and Outreach.


CNR, Italy | October 2018

The National Research Council (CNR) is the largest public research institution in Italy. Part of the Italian Ministry of Research, it performs multidisciplinary research in articulation with various national and international universities, research centres and private companies. CNR promotes innovation and competitiveness of the Italian industrial system, enhances the internationalization of the Italian research system, provides technologies and solutions to emerging public and private needs, advices the government and other public bodies, and contributes to the qualification of human resources.



Over 3600 Days At Sea

During the last decade, CNR Marine Scientific Networks conducted scientific cruises totalling 3600 days at sea. These cruises conducted on-board the research vessels G. Dallaporta, Urania, Maria Grazia and Minerva Uno, saw the completion of the huge amount of surveys, from the bathymetric surveys to the maintenance operations. The scientific value of these activities can be summarized in the projects funded with a total contribution of about 5 Milion euro.

CNR research vessels were not limited in their use to the institute's researchers. scientific cruises from Italian and international universities, public and private research institutions were also hosted in the context of various scientific collaborations. Also, an intensive training activities was conducted, involving more than 1300 students. CNR's scientific cruise programme for 2018 is available here.

CNR operates the R.V. G. Dallaporta, built in 2001 and 35 meters long. It is equipped with state-of-the-art scientific and bridge on-board instrumentation, mainly for the study of maritime fishing and marine environment conditions. It can accommodate up to 8 crew members and 12 researchers.

CNR operates the R.V. G. Dallaporta, built in 2001 and 35 meters long. It is equipped with state-of-the-art scientific and bridge on-board instrumentation, mainly for the study of maritime fishing and marine environment conditions. It can accommodate up to 8 crew members and 12 researchers. 

Some local units of the CNR marine research institutes manage smaller local/coastal research vessels, that generally carry out research close to their home ports in the Mediterranean Sea:

  • RV Boreana - 10.00 m    long
  • RV Cerruti - 14.50 m long
  • RV Furetto - 10.00 m
  • RV Litus - 10.20 m
  • RV Luigi Sanzo - 15.00 m
  • RV Tecnopesca II - 16.30 m


An Observation Network in the Mediterranean

The Italian Fixed-Point Observatory Network (IFON) integrates well-established coastal and ocean infrastructures (buoys, platforms, moorings, mast platforms, etc.), most of them providing real-time multidisciplinary monitoring for a number of marine and atmospheric variables.

One of the goals of the Italian Flagship Project Ricerca Italiana per il mare (RITMARE) is to create a common, validated IFON database able to fulfil both public and private demands, including validation of remotely sensed data and numerical models, environmental planning and management, and time-series analysis of climate and oceanographic data. IFON includes:

  • Acqua Alta Oceanographic Tower
  • Location (GPS): 45° 18' 51.29" N - 12° 30' 29.69" E
  • Height: actual 12.55 m s.l.m.m. (future 14.55 m s.l.m.m.)
  • Decks surface (within the main pillars): 35 m2
  • Installation depth: 16 m
  • Distance from the coast: about 8 nautical miles
  • Housing facilities: 5 people in complete autonomy for about 1 month
  • Research connections: LTER - Long Term Ecological Research Network
  • Equipment: Real time transmission and communication capabilities; ICT infrastructures; Biological laboratories; Housing facilities; Electrical supply by photovoltaic panels and wind turbines connected to lithium batteries and diesel generators.
  • Recorded time-series: meteo (air temperature and pressure, wind speed, gust and direction, RH, precipitation); ocean (pCO2, temperature, salinity, dissolved Oxygen, fluorescence, turbidity, current speed and direction, sea level height, wave height, period and direction, images)

CNR is committed to the dissemination of the research activities within the scientific community and the general public, as demonstrated by the publication of the measured data in an open data perspective and by the release of the smartphone application Ismar-Data.

The tower is equipped with several webcams that can be accessed through this link.

The project also provides access to a 39-years monitoring programme on directional wave data.


An Open Sea Laboratory

The W1-M3A observing system is one of the most important infrastructure of CNR and it is part of the network of deep ocean European observatories. The open sea laboratory is moored in the middle of the Ligurian Sea, inside the area known as the Cetaceans' Sanctuary on the route between Genoa and Cape Corse, about 80 Km off the coast of Liguria where the water depth is about 1200 m.

The W1-M3A observing system is composed by two sub-systems, a large spar buoy (known as Oceanographic Data Acquisition System - ODAS - Italia 1, is 51 meter long and weights 12 tons) and a sub-surface mooring acquiring data from the ocean interior under the buoy and communicating with the main buoy by means of an acoustic link. The ODAS Italia 1 buoy represents the only example in Europe and one of the few in the world of spar meteo-oceanographic buoy. The payload of W1M3A observing system provides:

  • near real-time atmospheric data and bio-geochemical measurements in the euphotic zone (0-100m)
  • physical data from the upper thermocline (0-500m) down to the sea bed.

To access the data obtained by W1M3A please click here


A Wide Range of On-Land Facilities

Along the many research facilities that CNR owns in Italian territory, there are several fully equipped to support various research activities related to marine sciences, including:


Ready To Go Below Sea Level 

The glider Teresa is an autonomous underwater vehicle, able to operate along vertical sections to monitor the water column up to 1000 m depth. Equipped with CTD probe and fine structure sensors, it moves through the water column recording hydrological properties and turbulence measurements through continuous cycles of immersion-emersion. Its vertical movement is particularly favorable for turbulence measurements, obtained with both fast-response shear probes than thermistors. Part of the data are transmitted via satellite to data centre when the glider comes to the surface for positioning.

 CNR's ISSIA Marine Robotic Lab study and development of heterogeneous cooperative aerial, surface and underwater robots for marine and maritime applications. Current research topics include:

  • cooperative navigation, guidance and control
  • cooperative mission control
  • modeling & identification of underwater robots
  • automatic characterisation of the operating environment
  • design of innovative marine robotic platforms


  1. Contributing to Expand Europe's Knowledge on the Ocean

In its nearly one hundred years of existence, CNR has coordinated and supported countless marine research initiatives focusing marine areas way beyond the Mediterranean Sea surrounding Italy. Here are some examples of ongoing projects: 

BLUEMED - Coordination and Support Action for the coordination of marine and maritime research and innovation activities in the Mediterranean

CEASELESS - Copernicus Evolution and Applications with Sentinel Enhancements and Land Effluents for Shores and Seas

DANUBIUS-PP - Preparatory phase for the pan-european research infrastructure Danubius–RI “the international centre for advanced studies on river-sea systems — Danubius-PP

EVER-EST - European Virtual Environment for Research - Earth Science Themes: a solution 

3Ccar - Integrated Components for Complexity Control in affordable electrified cars 

JERICO - NEXT - Joint European Research Infrastructure network for Coastal Observatory – Novel European eXpertise for coastal observaTories 

SLATE - Submarine LAndslides and Their impact on European continental margins 

MUSES - Multi Use in European Seas 

DUPLEXWASTE Duplex Stainless Steel for Urban and Industrial Waste Water

CLAIM - Cleaning Litter by developing and Applying Innovative Methods in European seas

TARTALIFE - Reduction in mortality of sea turtles in professional fishing

EFFICIENTSHIP - Demonstration of an innovative ORC module to improve the efficiency of European fishing vessels

MARINET2 - Marine Renewables Infrastructure Network for emerging Energy Technologie)

CNR also established a Memorandum of Understanding with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

    1. Supporting Open Access

CNR has a structured data collection network operating operatin in real-time on the Italian seas. Also, CNR manages or collaborates in different prediction systems of the sea and wind condition. These forecasting systems, available online and providing real-time data, are used not only for transportation and fishing navigation, but also during sailing race events and other sports and recreational events.

To learn more about the CNR units that currently have open access programmes please click here.


CNR is committed to convert the outcomes of its research into information, services and products that serve to bring science closer to society. Here are some examples of recent initiatives:

Less Plastic, More Mediterranean

  1. In 2017, CNR took part on a campaign on-board of theGreenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior. The initiative resulted in a report about the microplastics in seawater and trophic chain along the Italian Coast, which can be found here.


Prospecting Ocean

Coinciding with the launch of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia: TBA21–Academy, CNR presented an investigative exhibition by the filmmaker and photographer Armin Linke exploring contemporary challenges facing our oceans. Drawing upon rare footage of the deep-sea and interviews with leading scientists, policymakers, and legal experts, the exhibition scrutinized the aesthetics of technoscientific apparatuses and grapples with the tension between ecological protection of our oceans and political and economic exploitation.


Learn more about CNR at their website.


EurOcean currently has thirteen members in ten different countries and three cooperating members