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The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences of the University of Milano - Bicocca (DISAT) was founded in 2012, as a result of the merger of the pre-existing Departments of Geological Sciences and of Environmental and Territory Sciences. Within DISAT, more than a hundred among professors, faculty researchers and technicians cooperate towards a common mission, namely the development of highly interdisciplinary researches for the study of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, cryosphere, biosphere in terrestrial and marine environments.

Scientific excellence in many different areas characterize DISAT: Geological, Biological and Chemical Sciences, Physics, Agronomy and Engineering are all represented. Researchers and professors in such fields are committed to creating a vibrant environment for students enrolled in the BSc, MSc and PhD courses at DISAT (MSc and BSc in Environmental Sciences and in Geological Sciences, MSc in Chemical Sciences, an international Master Degree in Marine Sciences and, finally, a PhD Course in Chemical, Geological and Environmental Sciences).

Most notably, since its first foundation that took place more than 25 years ago, DISAT has been at the forefront in the study of climate change, of vulnerability of the anthropogenic and natural system and related risks, also with regard to the development of adaptation options and the proposal of mitigation policies.

In this context, also due to the excellent results obtained in the 2011-2014 research quality assessment by the independent ANVUR agency, DISAT received in 2018 the Ministerial "Departments of Excellence" funding for a five-year project (2018-2022) inherent to climate change. Such project has a threefold integrated general objective:

  1. To reconstruct the mechanisms that have influenced climate change in the past,
  2. To monitor the current situation and therefore understand the present,
  3. To hypothesize future scenarios in order to assess the impact of climate change on the environment and society, with the aim of suggesting effective mitigation and adaptation actions.

The "Departments of Excellence" project encompasses, on the one hand, research actions that meet specific, pre-defined objectives; on the other hand, it includes actions aimed at the creation and strengthening of innovative infrastructures, such as the PROVENANCE laboratory and the GEMMA laboratory (Geo Environmental Measuring and Monitoring from multiple plAtforms). By providing a series of new equipment, such innovative laboratories will allow the collection of geo-environmental images and data for a two-fold purpose: to monitor the current conditions of the Earth's surface and to evaluate its evolution over time. Also, part of the project is an investment in higher education at the Master's and Doctoral level, developing themes related to the project.

At DISAT, both basic research activities in national and international projects, and applied research activities are carried out. The latter are developed on the basis of contracts and agreements with private companies or public and private research institutions. Clearly, research of such kind usually imply highly complex analyses, which require strongly interdisciplinary approaches in the framework of the mathematical, physical and natural sciences fields.