Hosting Institution

Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna

Alma Mater Studiorum

The Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna, the oldest university in the Western world, paves the way for innovation through an increasingly rich programme catalogue, cutting-edge research, a constant and increasingly broad international perspective and a strong third mission. 

Since it was founded 1088, the Alma Mater Studiorum has been student-centred, hosting prominent figures from the science and arts communities. With five campuses (Bologna, Cesena, Forlì, Ravenna, Rimini) and a branch in Buenos Aires, it offers a diversified course catalogue that is tailored to the needs of present-day society: over 200 degree programmes among its 32 departments and 5 schools are offered to over 82,000 students. 3,600 graduates are enrolled in PhDs and other 3rd-cycle programmes.  

Ranked in the top 200 on the two most prestigious international university rankings, considered the leading university in Europe for student mobility (Erasmus+), the Alma Mater invests in sustainable development and contributes to the achievement of the 17 sustainable development goals proposed as part of the 2030 Agenda adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations. As a comprehensive research university, it invests in a multidisciplinary, cross-cultural approach and in the inseparable connection between research and teaching. One of the most active in terms of leadership and participation in European research and academic cooperation projects, the University of Bologna has formed alliances with industry and public/private organizations. It is also a hub of international networks: beyond its close European links, it enjoys multiple connections with America, Africa, Asia and Australia.

The Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences - DISTAL

The Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences originates from the reorganization of the University following the 2010 Reform of the Italian higher education system, and is the heir of the former Faculty of Agriculture.

The Department has two main locations, in Bologna and in Cesena, but carries out teaching and research activities in other sites in Ozzano, Cadriano, Imola and Tebano.

It is the largest Department of the University of Bologna with about five hundred people, including faculty, administration and technical staff, and non-permanent research staff. It covers most of the disciplines related to the primary sector, natural resources management, and food systems. It operates several multidisciplinary groups (thematic groups), including one focused on precision agriculture.

Distal has been awarded the Department of Excellence 2018-2022 grant by the Ministry of Research and has contributed significantly to the achievement by the University of Bologna of the 48th position in the sector “Agriculture & Forestry” of QS World University Ranking 2018.

The Department owns numerous patents and plant patents and hosts 4 spin-offs with laboratories and facilities accredited at national and international level that allow a constant alignment with the world of industry.

The Thematic Group on Precision agriculture

More than 30 researchers and technicians working on all the aspects of precision farming. Research topics include: Evaluation of quantitative and qualitative characteristics of production systems, creation of forecasting models, detection of biotic and abiotic stresses, economic analysis of costs and benefits of precision agriculture applications, LCA (life-cycle-assessment) analysis on greenhouse gas emissions and on the effects of precision farming techniques in CO2 abatement, applications for the enhancement of product traceability, analysis and evaluation of the digitalization of farms and production processes.

Teaching Precision Agriculture

DISTAL has a wide and international teaching offer with 7 Bachelor degrees, 6 Master’s degrees, three of which are international, and Doctorate Program with a strong international character closely related to the industrial reality; it is also present and contributes to other doctorates of the University of Bologna. Precision farming and husbandry is included in most of these teaching programs.

Two programs specifically focus on precision agriculture: a 2-year Master’s degree Program in “Precision and sustainable farming”, in collaboration with other Departments at the University of Bologna, and a 1-year post-graduate degree program in “International agricultural engineering”, the latter in collaboration with agricultural engineering departments in Ireland (Munster Technological University), and France (University of Burgundy).

Precision Agriculture at DISTAL

Organizing Secretariat

Viale Aldini 222/4, 40136 Bologna – Italy

+ 39 051 6564300



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