About CSGI


CSGI (Center for colloid and surface science) was established in Firenze, in December 1993. It has been officially recognized by the Italian Government in 1994, and is under the supervision and control of the Italian Ministry for University and Scientific Research (MIUR). Since 1995 CSGI began its scientific activity, devoted to basic research and to the development of high-tech new processes, and is supporting the activities of the small and medium size business industrial companies, that cannot afford the financial costs of an independent research activity.

In the last 18 years, CSGI has sponsored several different research programs, mainly supported by European Union grants, and partly also by other international and national Institutions, such as the Italian “Articolo 10, Law 46/1982”, PRIN, PNR, FISR, FIRB, CNR, and so forth.

CSGI has signed numerous contracts that involve about 75 national and international industrial companies, and some highly qualified research Centers, such as Procter & Gamble, Siemens, Tecnotessile SpA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Pharmacia-Upjon, Elf-Atochem, Ansaldo, Glaxo-Wellcome, Sintech, Inver, Cover, Tooling International Ltd, Industrial Materials Technology GmbH, MBN SpA, Inteti, Icmese, Comune di Firenze, VTT, etc.. Such lively activity has brought to several International Patents and research agreements.

CSGI has reached a very qualified standard, and its level has been acknowledged abroad, in several fields. For example, CSGI is a leader in a number of applications of Nanotechnology, in the conservation of cultural heritage, and in the production of nanophasic powders (with MBN) for the production of special materials for aeronautics, high resistance coatings, etc.

CSGI supports the local authorities for the safeguard and conservation of works or art (“Sovrintendenze Artistiche”) in Tuscany and other Italian districts, with a set of technologies that have been developed for this aim. Similar actions have been promoted in agreement with the Mexican Federal Government for the conservation of monuments (Puebla Cathedral, Maya and Aztec heritage, the archaeological site of Calakmul, Campeche).

CSGI is active also in the training of specialized researchers, has granted several fellowships, PhD supporting programs, post-doc grants, and other education projects, and has organized several national and international Meetings. In particular, during the year 2010, CSGI has issued 10 PhD scholarships, 42 fellowships, and 7 post-doc grants, and is actively participating in two European Master Programs: EMASCO-COSOM (European Master in Supramolecular and Colloidal Chemistry) and IMES (International Master on Bioenergy and Environment).

CSGI has co-sponsored national and international congresses (International Workshop on Dynamic Crossover Phenomena in Water and Other Glass-forming Liquids and CSGI National Meeting). Every year CSGI members gather for the Annual Meeting, where the scientific results are presented and discussed, as oral communications or poster presentations.

The scientific results accomplished by CSGI are also presented in the biennal report, whose downloadable versions are available online.

The CSGI financial plan is solid, with a strong growth of its financial assets, mainly due to EU funding.

The main topics of CSGI research activity are:

1) development of processes for the production of nanophasic systems, for the production of innovative textiles, for the synthesis of nanophasic alloys, ceramics and nanophasic or nanostructured composites (low temperature and low energy costs)

2) setup of new additives for cement products. These projects are mainly carried out in collaboration with Italcementi and MIT, and are aimed at investigating and optimizing the cement hydration process and the production of new, ceramics-like materials for the cement-related industry

3) formulation of dispersions in fluids, emulsions and inverted emulsions (paints, adhesives, sealing materials, detergents, etc.)

4) development of systems for the confinement of proteins and for the controlled release of pharmaceutics

5) development of food-related industrial processes (for example the treatment of milk and milk derivatives in supercritical phase)

6) development of innovative procedures for the conservation and restoration of works of art (paintings, frescoes and stone-based materials). CSGI is a world leader in this research activity, and is involved in a significant campaign for the recover of archaeological treasures in Mexico (Calakmul), in the largest Maya sites, and with the Maritime Museum in Stockholm for the conservation of the Vasa ship. New methods are under development for the removal of polymer and grime from oil paintings (relining) in collaboration with the Louvre Museum (Paris). CSGI is currently involved in the conservation of Annunciation Grotto (Nazareth).

7) design, implement and study innovative electronic devices integrating biomolecules for applications in organic electronics, bio-electronics, optoelectronics, sensors and biosensors


Fields of interest


  • Nanostructured and ultrafine materials

  • Structure and dynamics of supramolecular assemblies (monolayers, micelles, liposomes, microemulsions, Langmuir-Blodgett films, host-guest systems)

  • Nanophasic ternary oxides

  • Structural analysis of biomolecules in solution, interaction processes, recognition of ligands with macromolecular surfaces, theoretical and experimental analysis of cellular metabolism, interactions between metals and ligands, characterization of the interaction sites

  • Formulation of nanophasic systems

  • Innovative processes for the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage (stone materials, wood materials, paintings, frescoes, paper, photographic material)

  • Bioelectronics and organic electronics

Member Units


University of Florence (headquarters)

University of Bari

University of Bergamo

University of Bologna

University of Cagliari

University of Campobasso

University of Catania

University of Naples

University of Pavia

University of Perugia

Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

University of Siena - Chemistry Department

University of Siena - STCDB

CSGI Laboratory of Treviso

University of Venice


Structure and Organization of CSGI

Management Offices: President, Council, Director, Audit Council, Technical-Scientific Board.

Director of CSGI: Prof. Piero Baglioni, Department of Chemistry, University of Florence.

President of CSGI: Prof. Giovanni Marletta, Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Catania.

Website: http://www.csgi.unifi.it/

Foundation: December 21st, 1993

Official recognition by the Italian Government: November 15th, 1994 (G.U. Nr. 267)


National Agency for the evaluation of Quality of Research (2004-2010): CSGI ranking

CSGI was one of the 26 Consortia that voluntary submitted their candidature to the Italian evaluation of universities and research centers: Valutazione della Qualità della Ricerca (VQR), an exercise to evaluate the quality of the research efforts in the period 2004-2010. The report was produced by Agenzia Nazionale di Valutazione del sistema Universitario e della Ricerca (ANVUR), an Italian national agency for the Italian research qualification. VQR2004-2010 resulted in the largest-scale evaluation of research in Italy’s history.

The VQR examined research outcomes in 14 disciplinary areas of study published between 2004 and 2010 by 95 universities, 12 research centers and 26 other institutions to identify the significance of the nation’s research output and how it compares globally. By reviewing a significant number of Italian research outcomes, ANVUR was able to gain a greater understanding of Italy’s research strengths, impact and neglected fields of study.

CSGI ranked in the first positions among the other Italian Consortia for Chemical Sciences (Area 03) and for Biological Sciences (Area 05) for the period 2004-2010.
In particular, in the disciplines related to Chemical Sciences (the core of the CSGI research), CSGI resulted as excellent (74% of the submitted products were judged as excellent and the remaining 26% as good). The final indicators for the research and the third mission are well above the average values for Consortia in the same categories.

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