Scientific and Professional curriculum of:
Some essential data
1963 Degree in Physics at the University of Bologna.
1963-1965 Research in Solid State Physics. Physics Institute, Bologna University.
1965-1967 Second lieutenant – Physicists - OSSMA Mount Cimone of Air Force Met. Service.
1967 Entered National Research Council as researcher.
1969-1970 Invited as visiting scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Boulder, Colorado, USA.
1970-1986 Professor appointed to general Physics II, Thermodynamics and Terrestrial Physics (Geophysics) at Modena University.
1971 Professor of Meteorology.
1971-1975 Director of the Verona CNR observatory for the Study of Hail.
1977-present Head of the "Clouds and Precipitations" Section of the institute FISBAT-CNR, then ISAO .CNR, then Clouds and Precipitations group on the theme of Atmospheric Processes in ISAC-CNR.
1977 Appointed Director of Research of the National Research Council.
1985-1993 Director of the FISBAT-CNR institute.
1986-1993 Coordinator of the Direcotrs of the CNR Institutes of Emilia Romagna. In this role he coordinated the 10 Institutes of Bologna to set up a Research area which he followed through its planning and realization.
1987-present Full Professor of General Physics, then Atmospheric Physics of the University of Ferrara
1991-1994 President of the Research area in Bologna: the area includes all the CNR Institutes of the Emilia Romagna region and the Institute of Fishing in Ancona.
1991-1993 Member of the Board of directors of the Technological Pole in Bologna designated by the CNR President.
1998-2000 Director of the Department of Physics, University of Ferrara.
2002-present Director of the Institute of Sciences of the Atmosphere and Climate (ISAC-CNR).
2002-present Coordinator of the Disciplinary Scientific Sector FIS06.
1976 - 1996 Member of the International Committee of Cloud Physics (ICCP) of the International association of Meteorology and Physics of the atmosphere (IAMAP) of the International union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) for 4 terms (1976-1984/1988-1996).
1995-1999 National Delegate of the COST 78 action.
1995-1999 Coordinator of project of the IV PQ: MEFFE (Meteorological Forecasting for flood events).
1996-1997 Head of the Topical Team of ESA that led to the ICAPS Project (Investigating Cosmic and Atmospheric Particle System).
2001-present Head of the CRT2 of the same ICAPS project.
2000-2002 Coordinator of the ASI Project "Instrument for Rain Monitory and Alarm - IRMA."
2000 – present Member of the ESF Scientific Advisory Committee for EUFAR (European Fleet for Airborne Research).
2002 - present National representative as expert in the Program Committee of the sub-priorities "Global Change and Ecosystem" Energy and Environment of the VI PQ Research of the EU.
2002 - present Coordinator of the CNR Committee "Sustainable development and climatic changes" as for PNR. In this role among other activities he coordinated the preparation of 8 projects to respond to the MIUR-FISR 2002 announcement (G.U., general series n.10 of January 14 th 2003).
2002 - present CNR Representative as Expert for the verification of the scientific and technological cooperation agreement between Italy and United States of America.
2002 - present Member of the Study Committee for the Participation of CNR in the SCOR (Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research).
2002-2005 Expert for the European Committee in the USA-EU dialogue on Climate Changes and member of the European delegation in the bilateral meetings.
2002-2005 European expert for the Committee for Climate and Climate Changes.
2003-present Member of the Weather Modification group of the Committee for the Atmospheric Sciences (CAS) of the WMO.
2004-present Member of the Scientific Committee of the Kyoto Project promoted by the Lombardy Foundation for the Environment.
2004 - present CNR Representative in the Board of Directors of the Consortium for the Research and Applications of Innovative Technologies (CRATI).
2005 - present President of the Scientific Technical Committee of ASTER.
2005 - present Legal representative of the CNR President for CNR’s participation in the "Regional Laboratory for innovation in quality control of the air. LARIA."
Inside CNR he has filled different positions, including Unit Head, member of the Scientific Council of the IFA and IMGA Institutes, expert in numerous strategic and finalized projects and conventions (ENEL-CNR, etc.). In the constitution of the CNR Group for Atmospheric Ocean Physics (GNFAO) he was nominated Head of the Microphysics section and Member of the Council for the duration of GNFAO’s activity.
In 2003 he was member of the International Organizing Committee of the "World Conference on Climate Change" held in Moscow from September 29th to October 3rd 2003.
In January 2004 he organized in Bologna, appointed by the European Committee, the second joint workshop between the European Committee and the United States "Climate Science and Technology."
In July 2004 he organized the International Conference of Radar Meteorology (ERAD 2000).
Member of the Editorial Board (for Climate and Global Change) of the "Nuovo Cimento C", journal of the Italian Society of Physics.
Member of the Editorial Board of the international journal "Atmospheric Research" published by Elsevier.
Reviewer of scientific articles for the main international journals in the sector of Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics and projects for national and international companies (MIUR, CNR; US National Science Foundation, Nasa, etc.).
He has brought several national and international projects and conventions to ISAC and has been directly in charge of some of them (currently: ENAV, Selex, ASI (Lampos and Nowcasting), Puglia Region (Nowcasting), H-SAF, Conv. ITA / USA, CORILA, CRATI and others).
Member of several university and CNR appointment committees.
Member of the organizing committee of numerous international conferences.
As ISAC Director he is responsible for the internal organization of the institute in four Field Sections (Climate and its variations, dynamic Meteorology, Observations of the earth and atmospheric processes), with coordination and harmonization of the units. The Bocca di Magra "Meeting" (November 2003) saw the gathering of 140 researchers, technicians and administrative workers for the first necessary occasion to meet. The new organizational structure allowed wide-ranging participation. The accounts have been progressively improving; the ratio of external to internal funding was 8:1 in 2005 (a third of external funds come from the EU). He has focused on relationships with the Universities and especially education. CNR researchers have been encouraged to teach, and there is a strong presence of university staff in ISAC with research posts (Bologna, Lecce, Padua, Cagliari, Alexandria, Ancona, Camerino, Viterbo, Ferrara, Genoa, Aquila, Milan, Trento, Urbino, Venice). The CNR-university-type agreement has been put in place with Ancona, Bologna, Cagliari, Ferrara, Lecce, Padua, Camerino. ISAC also gives hospitality to numerous post-graduates and graduates.
As ISAC Director he has contributed to drafting the Earth and Environment Department Project
He graduated in Physics at the University of Bologna in 1963 specializing in "Physics of the Solid State"
Between 1964 and 1965 he was a researcher at the Augusto Righi institute of Physics in Bologna and, with a EURATOM scholarship at the "Nuclear Center " of Grenoble (FR).
In September 1965 he was a student officer at the Air Force Academy in Florence in the Aeronautical Engineers - Physicists, being assigned there as second lieutenant in the Experimental Scientific Observatory of Aeronautical Meteorology of Mount Cimone (OSSMA).
Contact with a new discipline such as meteorology, starting in the Air Force Academy and also in the year of service as second lieutenant at OSSMA, was a turning point for Prof. Prodi.
OSSMA has a laboratory in Bologna where Prof Vittori, who also teaches Atmospheric Physics and spent a period of research in the prestigious school of cloud physics in Chicago, transmits to young people his enthusiasm for the new frontiers that are opening in physical meteorology. He sees in the inseparable relationship between experiment and theory the road for new conquests in Atmospheric Physics.
Cloud Physics: storms, hail, microphysics and atmospheric aerosols
Despite attending in that year the first summer school in that subject in Perugia (Fieschi, Bassani and Chiarotti among the teachers), Prof. Prodi, decided to dedicate himself to meteorology and transfer the knowledge acquired in physics of the solid state to the more unusual and intriguing natural material: hail. Hail comes from the collection (accretion) of supercooled droplets that turn to ice on impact. The characteristics of this material (size and orientation of the grains, density of the deposit, etc.) had yet to be explained. In that intuition was the initial impulse that led to an entirely original scientific result in physical meteorology: the use of x-ray contact micrography. Going back and forth from the OSSMA laboratory to CNEN in Bologna, where the x-ray equipment was, he obtained the first high-resolution images showing all the features to be studied: englobed particles, air bubbles, concentric layers and lobes. There was already an exchange on hail with the observatory in Verona, where there was a small fridge cell and a vertical tunnel and where together with Griffith Morgan the first cylinders of artificial hail were made, and he discovered the formation of lobes in wet growth due to leakage of the water contained in the spongy growth (7). Professor Rosinski, visiting the laboratory, invited him as visiting scientist in his group at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The fundamental work on the local density of ice in hail (11) appeared in 1970, when Prof. Prodi was already at NCAR.
While he was transferring the x-ray contact micrography technique to the Rosinski group, he learned the generation, characterization and sampling of aerosol techniques, where the American group was at the forefront and participated in the research of ice phase nucleation in atmosphere. At the then NCAR he had all the stimuli to complete his basic training in Atmospheric Physics, attended courses and seminars in dynamic meteorology, planetary boundary layer and cloud physics.
When he returned to Italy he was offered a position at Verona CNR as Director of the Experimental Scientific observatory for the study of hail. He immediately accepted, taking the opportunity to work with the first Italian meteorological radar and combine the study of hail microphysics in the laboratory with that of the great machine that produces it: the hail storm. He turned what was primarily a base for summer campaigns into the first Permanent Observatory of Storms, where research is performed non-stop all year round. The radar data of the previous summer storms are elaborated and the organizational and scientific tools are prepared for the following campaign.
In the meantime Prof. Arthur Loria had called him to take up the vacant post of General Physics II (1970-71) and subsequently Earth Physics (Geophysics) at the University of Modena.
His relationship with the university would remain constant (already a volunteer assistant with Prof. Vittori, he assisted him in examinations and in guiding degree theses), and enabled a flow of graduates and scholarship holders to the observatory. His relationship with the local Administrative Authorities interested in the hail problem, whom he informed about the need to combine scientific monitoring with defense action, allowed him to get scholarships. The storms were followed by radar while collaborators, by mobile means guided by radio collected the hailstones, not contaminated by the ground, for analyses. They were years when the first hail climatology was set up in the Po Valley collecting the information from all the possible sources (a network of volunteer observers including Prof. Prodi himself, the “Eco” of the Press, and telephone investigations at the police stations indicated by the radar, etc.).
Radar meteorology of the hailstorms was set up while microphysical research was ongoing in the observatory.
A classification of the storms followed as a summary of the microphysical and macrophysical study of an isolated storm (18) in collaboration with the Hungarian physicist Endre Wirth visiting the observatory. Some research was also inventive (chaff dropped from an airplane, followed around by the radar to study its circulation around and within the storm) and involved unusual collaborators (the Aero Club of Boscomantico gave the use of an airplane and pilot). Unusual combinations of observation techniques were also used (photogrammetry of the visible contour and radar profile (21).
After five years of this work on behalf of the five bodies that supported the observatory (CNR, National Union Against Hail, the UCEA of the Ministry of Agriculture, Air force Meteorological Service, and Phytopathology Observatories for Plant Diseases), just when the setting up of a real "Severe Storm Laboratory" in Verona seemed possible, research was suddenly halted due to disagreements among the supporting bodies. Prof. Prodi returned to the section of IFA in Bologna directed by the Prof. Ottavio Vittori. He resumed his basic scientific work, less exposed to the political games, with more direct scientific choices, always concerning cloud physics on all scales.
He studied scavenging, having set the foundation of satellite meteorology in combination with the radar data for Nowcasting meteorology and pointed long-term research in the direction of the role of active and passive microwaves in cloud surveying. These choices, made in the mid-seventies, would prove to be farsighted.
The new Director of IFA, Prof. G. Fiocco, recognizing the value of this research set up a new section of IFA, called "Clouds and Precipitations" and appointed Prof. Prodi as head.
The previous year he passed the exam for Director of Research at the National Research Council.
He promoted synergy among his colleagues. After a paper on the transport of Saharan dusts in the atmosphere (30, 32) and another on the climatology of the phenomenon, he set up an open collaboration with Dr. Tomasi for the multispectral and microphysical photometric study of the phenomenon. Together they patented a new solar multispectral photometer FISBAT and they designed a network of these tools in mountain stations of Southern Italy and islands (50, 52, 53, 55, 56, 58, 59). Twenty-five years later, Israel and the United States developed an analogous project.
He carried out research (48) on the physical mechanisms in the removal of the particles from the atmosphere that is at the same time a wide review of aerosol physics and a program of work for many years to be.
Research was carried out into fundamental aerosol physics, atmospheric aerosol composition (53, 55, 71, 78, 87, 97, 98), optic effects, nuclei of freezing (42, 45), removal mechanisms (26, 37, 43, 44, 48, 49, 85, 116, 152, 153, 154), and precipitation formation (36).
The microphysical study of hail was systematically carried out in the cold laboratory (tunnel and cells) constituted by him in the laboratory in via de' Castagnoli (22, 29, 31, 34, 39, 40,41, 47, 56, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 77, 82, 83, 84, 89).
He began research into active and passive microwaves.
The work of Nowcasting began with input by Dr. Levizzani, his graduate and student of the University of Modena, with the elaboration of satellite images and radar data for Nowcasting. In 1979, the FISBAT Institute was founded, separate from Rome based on the confluence of three sections: Microphysics (Prof O: Vittori), Meteors and High Atmospheres (Prof. F. Verniani) and Clouds and Precipitations (Prof. Prodi), with input from the group of Atmospheric Dynamics of the Department of Physics.
Prof Vittori directed it, and on his retirement (August 1985), F. Prodi became its Director with a temporary mandate up to December 31st 1985, followed by two more terms up to December 1993.
During his first term of directing FISBAT he solved the problem, which had become urgent, of finding space for the laboratories and groups. New buildings were bought (a villa in via Stalingrado). It bridged a gap that allowed the institute to expand with new areas of research while waiting for the construction of the new research area in Bologna, which was carried out under the presidency of Rossi Bernardi.
In 1987 he passed the exam for full professor of General Physics and was called by Ferrara University to take the chair of Experimentation of Physics I. He changed from being a CNR Director (of research and institute) with a university post to being a university professor with a CNR post, with no decrease in responsibility.
In fact, researchers of the various institutes of the Bologna CNR area pressed for a solution to the problem of creating a site for research. After a period of uncertainty about the location and dissatisfaction toward external coordination, President Rossi Bernardi appointed Prof. Prodi in 1986 as Coordinator of the Directors of the Institutes of Emilia Romagna. Prodi started the initiative of the meeting "The CNR in Emilia Romagna" which was hugely successful and was exemplary of the correct relationship between research and industry. From that initiative coordination started first in scientific areas (Environment, New Materials, Chemistry and Space-Radioastronomy), then to meet the demands for space, for technology and for research, of the ten member institutes. The work carried out, in effective coordination with those undertaking the technical building part, would lead to the realization, within reasonable times and contained costs, of the Research area of Bologna CNR. 44000 m2 of laboratories, 450 permanent staff came together in the ten institutes of the area, which has a library, workshops, congress center, cafeteria and facilities in common. It was an exemplary accomplishment, inside and out of CNR, admired for its sobriety and efficiency and for the pleasantness and elegance of its environments.
With the formal constitution of the 19 areas in the country it was natural for the coordinator to be appointed Chairman of the area of Bologna they belong to, as well as the Institutes physically present, also those of the ER region and the Ancona fishing Institute. It was in this period that Prof. Prodi represented the body at a maximum territorial level, being nominated member of the Board of Administration of the Technological Pole of Bologna. In this capacity he led the way towards the correct relationship between government research and industry, suggesting a few pilot projects that made for a profitable relationship and the promotion of innovation. The management of the ST Pole followed another path and was heading for failure.
Stagnation followed, both inside the area (funds were not specifically targeted at the projects of interdisciplinary research due to resistance by the committees and results were not transferred to companies) and in the institutes (no new places for new researchers and the lack of a policy to make the most of the most promising areas of atmospheric physics). This led Prof. Prodi to take the decision not to be available (for the Physics Committee) for a new term as Director of FISBAT or the presidency of the area committee (although President Garaci asked him repeatedly).
His choice was to devote his energy fully to strengthening the sector of atmospheric physics in Italy, by reinforcing the CNR - University axis, to take up the European challenge that was becoming crucial for the development of future research and finally to strengthen atmospheric physics in spatial research (both in Italy and in Europe).
With regards to the first part the way Prof. Prodi managed the University of Ferrara - CNR relationship was a sign of his concept. The laboratories of aerosol physics, atmospheric ice and radar meteorology, which he set up in years of work in CNR, continued to be active as did the Cloud and Precipitations group, also led by him through the years of demanding management. According to the favorable provisions of university law, his students from Ferrara could attend some laboratory exercises at ISAO having been already in contact during their study years with the most advanced techniques of atmospheric research. After all, the aim was to enhance university training in atmospheric physics. The first proposal in Italy for a complete degree course (three + two) in "Meteorology and Environment" was made by Prof. Prodi. The course would widely benefit from teaching coming from CNR, while CNR would find aspiring well-prepared researchers.
Nowcasting and earth Observations
On the European front the challenge was also taken up in its directive aspect, from the years 95-99: national delegate of the COST 78 action, Coordinator of project of the fourth program: MEFFE (Meteorological Forecasting For Flood Events) on the meteorological forecast of flood events.
In the scope of COST 78 he participated intensely in the work of the action, he found himself in dialogue and exchange of ideas with the advanced meteorology of Europe. He participated in the drafting of the basic report of the project and led the Italian scientific community of this sector to unite with the European one. With Meffe Prof. Prodi had the maximum assumption of responsibility. The project aimed at improving the estimation of precipitation intensity with the multi-sensor radar-satellite technique, with the purpose of reducing the risk of floods. He had the task of presenting the project and, after its approval, guiding a group of the best specialists, a unit group from the UK, Germany, Austria, and Italy. The units were made up of some of the best specialists in active (radar operators Goddard, Kubista, Meshner) and passive (Peter Bauer, Schlussel, Baker, Millers, Porcù) sensoristics. Ending after three years and six months, at the end of 1999, the project obtained results of unique interest, having asked radar units (of Graz and Cilbolton) to operate according to the ways indicated by the users of the satellite sensors. The Partners Meetings in Monselice remained in the memory of the European participants for the serene and productive atmosphere of work.
The results were presented at great international conferences (Nantes, Amsterdam, Rhine) and constituted the premise for the projects of the fifth program, including Eurain Sat (73,76,89,105,113, 120,126, 142,147,148,156).
In the scope of spatial applications Prof. Prodi was always active on two fronts: earth observation and the experience of microgravity for aerosol microphysics.
Observation of the Earth from space was performed both by passive sensoristics, primarily, in the scope of ASI, and active sensoristics (both in the scope of ASI and that of ESA). In passive sensoristics he set up a unit inside the group (leading researcher Dr. F. Porcù who entered the group in 1991 and is now a researcher at the department of Physics of the university of Ferrara and collaborator with Prof. Prodi at the chair of Atmospheric Physics). Besides estimation methods of the precipitation intensity conceptual models of extratropical cyclones and deep convection were produced, having the National Group for the Study of Hydrogeological Catastrophes (GINDC) as an ideal and continuous sponsor. In this sector synergy with the IFA group was noteworthy. Together work was carried out also using passive microwave sensing (SSM/I) with radar satellite integration.
In active sensoristics, also with the aim of developing original instrumentation (which must be described apart), another unit was developed in the group, devoted to the theoretical and numerical study of scattering by hydrometeors and for the formulation of the parameters of advanced radar-meteorology. This activity led to modeling back scattering scenarios for populations and vertical profiles of hydrometeors of various natures. Contractors for this research were TU-Johanneum of Graz (Prof. Randeu and collaborators) and the applied physics group of the university of Geneva (Prof. Cristina Flesia and collaborators). It involved contracts in the scope of ESA for the simulation of cloud radar response on orbiting platforms (with TU - Graz) and orbiting lidar-radar synergy. Also on this subject collaboration with the IFA group was frequent. Recent managerial responsibility in this scope as coordinator of the project IRMA (Instrument for Rain Monitory and Alarm) for the mitigation of flood risks. The study was commissioned by ASI in the scope of Cosmos Sky Med, the coordinator in this scope led the IFA group, two units of the university of Aquila, the LAM of Tuscany and the Galileo workshops. As partner he was in the EGPM (European Global Precipitation Mission) and IGPM (Italian Global Precipitation Mission) project that studied characteristics of TRMM-type missions in the extratropical band of interest for Italy and Europe.
Experience in microgravity for aerosol physics.
During his period in Verona he participated in a call for proposals, for an ACPL (Atmospheric Cloud Physics Laboratory), orbiting laboratory for cloud physics, with a proposal to study the processes of scavenging in microgravity. The proposal was welcomed and was included in the documents drafted by General Electrics on the ACPL, but the internal project was not developed.
Upon re-announcement by ESA he re-proposed the idea of a facility for the study of the microphysical processes of the clouds in microgravity. The interest of ESA was manifested in the invitation to gather on these ideas the consensus of the European aerosol physicists, in the form of Topical Team.
Prof. Prodi developed this action as head of the Topical Team. At the end of this activity it was opportune to converge with the interest of the researchers of cosmic dust and so the Topical Team (Particle Dispersion and Aggregation), after two years of work, presented a paper that proposed the use of ISSs (Internation Space Station) for basic research with aerosol particles.
Experiments were proposed for astrophysics, aerosol physics, planetary atmospheres and basic aspects of scattering in populations of particles. The Topical Team became the promoter of a proposal called ICAPS (Investigating Cosmic and Atmospheric Partical Systems) that had the approval of ESA and began its realization in 2002. It included some facilities and Prof. Prodi was in charge of the second of the five subprojects.
On the occasion of this ESA proposal, the MRC (Microgravity Research Center) of the ULB (Universitè Libre de Bruxelles) directed by professor Legros, asked Prof. Prodi for immediate activation of the research that could accelerate that expected from ICAPS using parabolic microgravity flights of the Aerbus300 and periods of microgravity at the drop tower of Brema. Collaboration with that group and particularly with Dr Andrej Vedernikov and François Dubois started in joint experiments, realized in the campaign for parabolic flights in November 2000 at the airport of Bordeaux and in the following measure campaigns at the drop tower in Bremen (Germany). With a holographic microscope developed at the MRC the first three-dimensional trajectories of particles were obtained in the presence of temperature gradients and vapor concentration, and obviously in the absence of gravity, never before observed.
The results of these measure campaigns were published in several papers (152, 153, 154, 157, 158, 160, 165, 166, 168, 169, 170, 171)
Active microwaves: construction of original tools
One of the main ideas of Prof. Prodi followed with continuity since the eighties has been to promote the development of active microwaves in the study of clouds and precipitations. The practical radar-meteorology performed at the observatory in Verona has led to giving due importance to the classical question: what is the population of hydrometeors that within the reflecting volume causes the signal of back scattering detected by the receiver radar?
The answer to this question requires close examination of the interactions between electromagnetic waves and hydrometeors. This sector of research is motivated by the necessity to obtain simulations of responses of the radars on the satellite.
Not having the possibility to operate a multiparametric meteorological radar Prof. Prodi chose to develop new microwave tools that could contribute to the solution of the problem. That is why together with the Italian physicist Fausto Pasqualucci, working in the United States, he set up at the beginning of the seventies a program articulated in the followings way:
a) planning and construction of a 35 GHz scatterometer on the ground for the study of the falling hydrometeors;
b) planning and construction of a pluviometer-disdrometer of a new conception founded on the principle of the continuous wave and x-band radar that detects movement in frequency doppler caused by the falling hydrometeors.
c) Planning and construction of a cloud radar transportable on a trailer to be mounted on an airplane for the study of clouds before and during the process of forming precipitations.
The first instrument was realized at the beginning of the nineties and for some years was the only one of its kind. With it measures were performed and are being performed on natural precipitations in an anechoic room (74, 95, 111, 112, 121, 122, 144).
The second tool was realized with a research phase in the scope of the Gran Sasso Project. It led to a manufacturing patent; the coordinator enabled its development phase. The called tool Pludix is now in its pre-series construction phase. Three instruments were installed at the Technical Services of the State - Hydrographic Service of the Catanzaro compartment, while two samples were installed in the two more complete and accurate fields of inter-calibration of instruments: that of NASA at Wallops Island (collaboration with Dr Ali Tocay of Nasa-GSFC) and at Wasser Kuppe in Germany, by the department of instruments of the Deusche Wetter Dienst (DWD).
The instrument could be interrogated on the network and supplied all the outputs with simultaneous indication of a meteorologist observer and three different disdrometers based on other principles. This tool was crucial in the structure of the characteristics of ground precipitation (143, 146, 159).
The cloud radar (point c) is in an advanced phase of construction and is close to testing with the first impulses (122, 129, 136, 139, 145, 149, 151).
Prof. Prodi was elected in 1997 as Director of the department of Physics of the University of Ferrara, a position that he held for the triennial term up to November 2000, not making himself available for renewal in view of the first exam as Director of ISAC, which he passed.
As mentioned above, with the aim of giving a more stable perspective and visibility to the sector of atmospheric physics in the phase of university training, and taking the opportunity of the recent reform in study courses, Prof. Prodi set up and realized a short degree course and a specialist degree in "Meteorology and Environment" at the university of Ferrara. A strength of the proposal and realization is the possibility to use CNR's teaching for specialists.
ISAC Direction (2002-today)
ISAC was set up 1st January 2002 by the merging of four CNR institutes: ISAO (Institute of sciences of the atmosphere and the ocean, Bologna), IFA (Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Rome), ISIATA (Institute for atmospheric pollution and agrometeorology, Lecce) and the atmospheric part of ICG (Institute of Cosmogeophysics, Turin).
This amalgamation of the four institutes, which began under the direction of Prof. Prodi produced highly positive results. The reasons were: a) the scientific level of the institutes together and their cooperation, b) the setting up of a scientific program suitable for the new dimensions c) the attainment of a notable critical mass that was the primary purpose of restructuring, d) the adoption of a matrix organizational method, i.e. in Thematic Sections (Dynamic Meteorology, Climate and its variations, Earth Observations, Atmospheric Processes) on all the Territorial Sections. The Territorial Sections are flanked by a Technical Service Structure: Bases and Large Equipment, used by the following stations: "O.Vittori" at Mount Cimone (MO), "G. Fea" at S. Pietro Capofiume (BO), Tor Vergata (Rome), Budrio (BO), Testa Grigia (Mt. Rosa), Lecce.
ISAC was therefore part of that 25% (generally accepted estimate) of the CNR institutes that took restructuring very seriously and did not consider it as a good occasion for a face lift.
The new scientific structure was discussed with the whole staff during an Institute meeting held at Bocca di Magra November 3-6th 2003.
The new organization into transversal thematic Sections gave the institute transparency that was very positively manifested both internationally (in the occasion of the presentation of proposals in the scope of the VI EU Program) and nationally in the massive ISAC participation (guide of the only CNR coordinated proposal) in the MIUR call for proposals on climatic changes.
This organizational structure was naturally included in the new commissions management system started by the current president. Even if two processes of reorganization taking place at such a rhythm as to overlap obviously leads to the risk of disorientation, the solid structure of the institute has allowed issues to be addressed without affecting the activity of the institute, as the purely scientific and high-level applicative results show. In 2005 the scientific output was around 400 products, of which 150 were publications in the most prestigious international journals in the sector.
The direct costs of research, for 2005, were fully covered by several active agreements worth around 4.5 M€ of which 1.4 were for EU contracts. The ordinary funding of the institute was 529 k€ and covered, not completely, the incompressible costs related to the running of the institute. Problems have remained concerning the upkeep of the instruments. The staff paid by external funds (Art. 15, fellowship holders, contract workers,.. etc) was 90 units.
Great care has been paid to relationships with Universities especially with regards to training. CNR researchers were encouraged to take up teaching posts, and there was a strong presence of university staff in ISAC with research positions (Bologna Lecce Padua, Cagliari Alessandria, Ancona, Camerino, Viterbo, Ferrara, Genoa, Aquila, Milan, Trento, Urbino, Venice). CNR-university-type agreements were set up with Ancona, Bologna, Cagliari, Ferrara, Lecce, Padua, Camerino. ISAC also gives hospitality to graduates and post-graduates.