PI: Prof. Maria Careri


OU Analytical Smart Sensor Unit (Head of Unit Prof. M. Careri): Proff. F. Bianchi, M. Mattarozzi, M. Giannetto, A. Bertucci. Tecnico: Dott. D. Errico

OU Computer Science and Electronic Sensor Unit (Head of Unit Prof. I. De Munari): Proff. A. Boni, V. Bianchi, S. Cagnoni. Tecnologo: Dott. G. Magnani

OU Food Process Control Unit (Head of Unit Prof. S. Rainieri): Proff. F. Bozzoli, B. Bottari, L. Cattani, L. Pagliarini, P. Vocale. Tecnologo: Dott. M. Malavasi

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The project is funded by NRRP “Strengthening and creation of research infrastructure”, Mission 4, “Research and instruction” – Component 2, “From research to enterprise” – investment line 3.1 “Fund for the establishment of an integrated system of research and innovation infrastructures”, funded by European Union – NextGeneration EU


METROFOOD-IT: A research infrastructure for metrology and open access data in health and food to support agrifood industry.

The project concerning the creation of the new National Research Infrastructure "METROFOOD-IT" involving researchers from Parma’s University and focusing to the relevant issue of the reliability of measurements for food safety, quality and authenticity.


METROFOOD-IT is part of METROFOOD-RI – the European research infrastructure for promoting metrology in food and nutrition, included in the Health and Food domain of ESFRI Roadmap, of which University of Parma is partner since 2017. These infrastructures are part of the initiatives promoted by EU community on scientific cooperation both to ensure reliable, comparable, and traceable analytical measurements, and to establish a dialogue between the metrology community on food safety and stakeholders.


The skills of the research team, already active in the field of metrology and method validation for diagnostical devices, have placed the Parma Unit in a relevant position in the project, funded with 2.140.000,00 euro compared with 17.790.000,00 euro in total.

The research team led by Prof. Careri, Prof. De Munari and Prof. Rainieri for the respective OU Units is supported by technical and technological personnel recruited with project funds.


The new infrastructure provides advanced services for metrology and quality, safety and authenticity of food, improving transformation and sustainability of agrifood system for different types of users (universities, research institution, food inspection and control institution, operators of agrifood system etc.), thanks to a physical component (laboratories and plants) and information technologies (App, Software, AI) integrated in electronical advanced systems.


The 30-months project focuses on the strengthening of electronical/IT component of the research infrastructure and its integration with the physical one to provide services to support the digitalization of the agrifood system for food quality and safety, traceability, sustainability and resilience of agri-food systems and circular economy.

Smart and remote sensing systems, IoT, blockchain and artificial intelligence will be integrated, providing app-based solutions and services for data analysis, data usage, visualization and sharing using a FAIR approach. For this purpose, to improve the accessibility to resources and the reusability of research results, an approach based on "Open Science" will be followed using digital technologies.


The physical infrastructure provides for the acquisition of state-of-the-art instrumentation, including high-resolution mass spectrometry instrumentation dedicated to the development of a metabolomics platform, as well as an innovative and technologically advanced UHPLC chromatographic system and an ELISA plate reader. Finally, a high-performance thermographic system will be acquired for evaluating the efficiency of heat treatment processes in the food industry. The physical facilities will be integrated with the electronic ones as regards the development and cross-validation of smart sensors for the design of “e-tongue and e-nose” as “intelligent” devices that mimic human senses, both implemented on portable multi-channel electronic platforms based on IoT (Internet of Things) and on “artificial intelligence” algorithms to provide services to support the digitization of the agri-food system.

The integration of the IoT electronic platform in a cloud infrastructure will ultimately be functional to the development of a digital control chain for monitoring the performance of food industry processes.

At national level, the project is coordinated by ENEA under the responsibility of Dr. Claudia Zoani. In addition to University of Parma, the consortium includes five other universities (University of Bari, University of Molise, University of Naples, University of Roma - La Sapienza, University of Siena) and the Italian National Institute of Metrology Research (INRIM) of Turin.