Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, King of Sicily and Holy Roman Emperor established the University of Naples as the Studium with an Imperial Charter, on 5 June 1224. In recognition of its founder, the University was named Federico II in 1987.
It is one of the oldest universities to be founded by a head of State; this was at variance with other educational institutions, which were, by and large, the product of corporate initiatives. The King’s objective was to create an institution of higher learning that would put an end to the predominance of the universities, most notably Bologna and Padua, which were considered either too independent or under the strong influence of the Pope. The independence was granted by the Charter, which gave the Emperor the highest authority. He hired professors, who would become royal employees paid through royal funds. Moreover, the Emperor himself examined candidates and conferred degrees. Consistent with this rather rigid, centralized establishment, students and academic personnel were not allowed to travel and study elsewhere. Graduates took a vow to stay loyal to the King and to lecture at the Studium for a minimum of sixteen months. The foundation of the university was carried out within the framework of an administrative reform pursued by the Emperor with the objective of training bureaucrats loyal to him and capable of keeping under check local nobles whom he distrusted. Thus, a strong motivation was to create a political tool for the Emperor to pursue his policy and counteract papal influence. However, Frederick’s love for learning was an equally strong motivation. Nevertheless, during the Emperor’s reign, the university closed down and had to be re-founded twice, in 1234 and in 1239. After Frederick’s death the university lost most of its splendour and faced a period of severe instability being shut and re-founded by the successive rulers.
The first school of Engineering was set in Naples in 1811 during the Napoleonic occupation of the Kingdom of Naples. Joachim Murat, King of Naples and Napoleon brother-in-law, decreed the foundation of the “Scuola di Applicazione di Ponti e Strade” (School for the construction of bridges and roads) on 4th March 1811. The school was modelled on the Ecole d’Application des ponts et chausses, which had been reorganized by Napoleon in 1804. After Unification, in 1863, the school took the name of Royal School of Engineering and was made directly dependent from the Ministry of Education of the new unified Kingdom of Italy. The declared aim of the school was to “give students with a degree in Mathematics all the necessary know-how and skills to practice the Art of Engineering and Architecture”. A complete reorganization of the degree courses came in 1876 when the Regolamento Generale (General Rules) of all the Royal Schools of Engineering in Italy was changed. From then onwards, two general 5 year degree courses where offered in the School: one for engineers, the other for architects. In 1904 the Royal School of Engineering changed name into Higher Polytechnic School (Scuola Superiore Politecnica) and was finally transformed into the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Naples in 1935. The school was first hosted in the historical buildings of the University and then moved to a new location in 1965, when the new building of the Faculty of Engineering designed by the renowned Italian architect Luigi Cosenza was opened in Fuorigrotta, a relatively newer area of Naples. Since then the Faculty has developed fast and nowadays offers more than 20 degree courses, several MSc. Programmes and Doctorate Schools. In 2011 the Faculty has celebrated the 200th anniversary of its Foundation.
The Aerospace Engineering Branch of the Department of Industrial Engineering has a long tradition dating its roots back in 1926, when the Laboratory of Aeronautical Structures was established by Gen. Prof. Umberto Nobile, famous designer, pilot of airships and polar explorer. The Department of Aerospace Engineering has been established, in January 2007, as a result of cooperative collaboration of previous academic institutions active in the fields of aeronautics and space sciences. From January 2013, according to new academic rules, it is part of the bigger Department of Industrial Engineering. More than eighty years of continuing research and developments have built a solid and accredited tradition of excellence based upon a strong relationship between the academic community, the aerospace industry and the research centers, locally and internationally. The Aerospace Branch of the Department of Industrial Engineering plays an important role in the European Scientific Community through a continuous contribution to the most important European funded research projects; furthermore stable collaborations with the most important European and US Universities are the witness of an established tradition of education of aerospace sciences. The mission of the Aerospace Engineering Branch is:
• to perform research and developments throughout all the aerospace disciplines
• to contribute to the best training of future aerospace engineers
• to establish an effective and direct link with graduate and undergraduate students
• to maintain the technical and scientific state of the art for the aerospace community
• to develop and to improve the reputation of its laboratories
The role of University of Napoli in the PERSEUS project will be to lead WP7.