RESTART Foundation: RESearch and innovation on future Telecommunications systems and networks, to make Italy more smART

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The research and development program RESTART “RESearch and innovation on future Telecommunications systems and networks, to make Italy more smart” has been funded by the European Union – NextGenerationEU as part of the NRRP – M4C2, Investment 1.3, Call n. 341 of 15.03.2022 of the Ministry of University and Research (MUR) with 116 million euros, making it the most important public R&D program ever implemented in the Telecommunications sector in Italy. The program has a duration of 3 years, starting from January 2023.

RESTART has the ambitious goal of contributing to shaping the evolution of Telecommunications in Italy, restarting a sector that possesses world-class expertise and experience. It focuses on the main topics of Telecommunications science and technology, including all types of related systems and networks for both human and non-human users. For example: high-capacity fixed networks; 5G/6G cellular networks; local area networks; satellite networks; the Internet; applications, and services in various sectors such as agriculture, commerce, energy, finance, industry, media, health, security, and transportation. RESTART will leverage and contribute to technologies such as distributed cloud, artificial intelligence, programmable hardware architectures, integrated optics and optical computing, optoelectronics, and sensing.

The activities of the RESTART program are structured into seven “missions”: 1) Research; 2) Laboratories, Proof of Concept, and Demonstrators; 3) Innovation and Technology Transfer; 4) Support for Start-ups and Spin-offs; 5) Education and Training; 6) Research Doctorates; 7) Communication, Standardization, and Open Source Solutions. In turn, the “Research” mission consists of 32 projects divided in 14 large-scale so-called “structural projects”, accompanied by 18 “focused projects”, each related to one of the structural projects. RESTART involves 25 partners and a structure organized into Hubs and Spokes, where the Hub represented by the “RESTART Foundation” manages and coordinates 8 Spokes related to eight major scientific themes that carry out the activities to achieve the goals.

 

RESTART provides enabling factors that set in motion virtuous cycles and aims to deliver concrete results at the end of the program, including: structural improvement of research in the sector; the ability to use telecommunications in various sectors; specific initiatives targeting industrial districts and the southern regions of Italy; digital transformation of industries and administrations; creation of new companies and an increase in the average size of companies; an increase in the number of students, researchers, and telecommunications professionals; overall social and economic impact that justifies the investments made.

RESTART also intends to highlight the role of telecommunications in our society: telecommunications must be perceived by the general public for what they are—an essential resource, strategically important for national interests, which must be managed with appropriate policies and a long-term vision. Otherwise, not only will we lack sovereignty and independence in the telecommunications sector in Italy, but we will also lose the ability to contribute to the development of telecommunications in other countries, and even jeopardize our understanding of the technology, relegating ourselves to the role of unwitting purchasers of products from other countries. Therefore, RESTART is a critical and strategically valuable initiative for Italy.