The initiative called «Departments of Excellence» was launched with Law 232 of 11 December 2016, article 1, cc. 314-337 (2017 Budget Law). This law envisaged that, on the basis of the Standardized Departmental Performance Indicator (ISPD) (the outcome of the 2011-2014 VQR), a preliminary ranking of the best 350 Departments of state universities was to be drawn up by ANVUR. This list, published on 12 May 2017, included the Faculty of Letters and Philosophy and the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences of the SNS as possible candidates (with ISPD equal to 1) for the submission of the Department of Excellence projects. By virtue of the positioning of the two Faculties, the Scuola Normale Superiore obtained admission to funding for both research projects submitted, relating to the Departments of Excellence 2018-2022.