The National Research Program (PNR) 2021-2027, approved by the CIPE on 15 December 2020 as the result of a broad and in-depth discussion initiated by the Ministry of University and Research with the scientific community, the state administrations, and regional entities, explicitly recommends the creation of a national doctorate with industrial goals in Robotics and Intelligent Machines.
The Doctoral Program in Robotics and Intelligent Machines (DRIM) welcomes that recommendation by incorporating the motivations of the PNR as its own. The PNR was then largely included in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR). The PNRR made the resources available to implement the three strategic missions (the digital, ecological, and infrastructural transitions) to advance Italy in innovation processes, products, and services through the so-called “fourth mission”: education and research. To complete the legal framework, the Ministerial Decree (DM) 226 / 2021 establishes the “Doctorates of national interest” and the procedures for their accreditation. The DM351 / 2022 makes resources available to support grants for doctorates in programs dedicated to digital and environmental transitions and on PNRR topics. The DM352 / 2022 aims to achieve the second component of the fourth mission: “From Research to Business.”
The Italian skills and competencies in Robotics and Intelligent Machines are distributed throughout the country. They are jointly represented by the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Machines (I-RIM), which coordinates and supports the DRIM proposal. Furthermore, organizations of companies in the sector, the Centers of Competence of the Industry 4.0 Plan of the MiSE, and other industrial and research actors in the country also support this proposal.
In this context of widespread excellence in the country, the Doctorate of national interest DRIM is an operational tool to encourage the creation of a training network that increases the potential for research, innovation, and knowledge transfer to companies. In addition, the national dimension provides the opportunity to create a capillary network of teaching, research, and innovation laboratories. It will connect research infrastructures with complementary skills, operating in different fields and of different dimensions, and sharing Ph.D. courses, the laboratory resources, and industrial collaborations offered by the consortium members.