About us

The Research Institute for Geo-Hydrological Protection (Istituto di Ricerca per la Protezione Idrogeologica – IRPI) is an institute of the Department of Earth System Sciences and Technology for the Environment (DTA), of the Italian National Research Council (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, CNR). The mission of the institute is to design and execute scientific research and technological development in the fields of natural hazards, environmental protection, and the sustainable use of geo-resources. IRPI carries out its mission by operating at different geographical and temporal scales, and in different climatic, physiographic and geological zones.

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Our goals are:

  • to produce new knowledge on potentially hazardous natural phenomena and their interactions with the natural and human environments,
  • to develop technologies, innovative services & products useful to the definition, prediction and mitigation of natural risks, to land planning, and to the sustainable and effective management of geo-environmental resources,
  • to conduct research and technological development (R&D) activities in the vast field of natural hazards and the protection of land and environmental,
  • to perform scientific and technological consulting for public authorities and private business. IRPI performs outreach activates, including training and dissemination, on natural hazards and their consequences.

The research & development activities focus on natural hazards, and specifically geo-hydrological hazards, including floods and flash floods, debris flows, landslides, erosion, hazards in glacial and coastal areas, ground subsidence, pollution and depletion of surface water and groundwater, and on the expected impact of climate change on the geo-hydrological hazards and the geo-resources. The primary goal is to improve current knowledge on geological, geomorphological, hydrological, hydraulic, hydrogeological, soil, seismic, geotechnical, geomechanical, geothermal and environmental issues, and to define new criteria, methods, models and tools for the prediction and prevention of geo-hydrological hazards and their consequences, for the definition and mitigation of geo-hydrological risks, and for the design of effective and sustainable adaptation strategies.

IRPI provides consulting services in the context of natural hazards (geological, geomorphological, hydrological, hydraulic risks), for the monitoring and characterization of soils and rocks, for soil conservation, for land planning and watershed management, for civil protection and for adaptation to climate and environmental changes. The products & services offered by IRPI consist of in situ and remote geo-monitoring (from the ground, by air, by satellite), hydro-meteorological and groundwater monitoring, the recognition and mapping of landslides and flooded areas, the design of operational landslide and flood forecasting systems, flood and landslide hazards and risk assessments, the evaluation of the availability and quality of water and of renewable geo-resources, the definition of mitigation and adaptation strategies, and training and dissemination services on natural hazards.

IRPI is a Centre of Competence of the Italian National Department of Civil Protection, an office of the Prime Minister. The competence of the Institute is on geo-hydrological risks, and in particular on landslides and floods. For the Italian National Department of Civil Protection IRPI executes applied research and provides consulting services before, during and in the aftermath of natural disasters. IRPI has (i) helped to identify areas for the construction of settlements in areas affected by the 1997 earthquakes in the Umbria-Marche Apennines, and by the 2009 Abruzzo earthquakes, (ii) determined the residual risk in areas affected by hydro-meteorological extreme events (for example, in Sicily and in the Marche regions), and has (iii) executed the topographic monitoring of large landslides, including the Montaguto landslide (AV), the Rotolon (VI) landslide, and the Montescaglioso (MT) landslide. The techniques and instruments used to monitor the landslides were used to monitor the Costa Concordia ship wrecked at Isola del Giglio (GR). For the Italian National Department of Civil Protection, IRPI has developed and operates SANF; a prototype warning system for the operational forecasting of rainfall-induced landslides in Italy.

IRPI collaborates to undergraduate and post-graduate education on natural, environmental and human-made hazards and risks, their prediction and mitigation, on soil conservation and land use planning, and on civil protection. The Institute carries out dissemination activities by working with schools, and informing the general public on the risks posed by landslides and floods to the population of Italy [http://polaris.irpi.cnr.it/].

IRPI participates in the campaign Io non rischio promoted by the Italian National Department of Civil Protection.