Following the Gelmini reform implemented by the Ministry for Education, University and Research, the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences (DISTAL) was established in 2012 as a result of the union between the Departments of Agricultural Economics and Engineering, the Department of Food Sciences and the Department of Agri-Food Protection and Valorization. Since 2018, also faculty members of the the Department of Agricultural Sciences (DipSA) have joined DISTAL and nowday it consists of more than 170 scientists, whose research and education activities cover wide topics related to the agricultural and food sciences.

DISTAL is located on two Campus (Bologna and Cesena) and it is currently involved in several national and international projects. In particular, 43 EC funded Projects are currently on-going, 10 of which are coordinated by UNIBO. Moreover, DISTAL hosts the “Inter-Department Centre of Food Industrial Research” (CIRI-Agroalimentare) that is specifically devoted to the technology transfer to food industry, and particularly to SMEs, within Emilia-Romagna region.

DISTAL has been one of the 14 Departments of the University of Bologna which have been funded as Excellent Department under the 2017 Italian Finance Law. 

DISTAL faculty are also involved in the following Inter-Departmental Ph.D. Programmes at the University of Bologna:

- Future Earth, Climate Change and Societal Challenge

- Health, Safety and Green Systems

Innovative Technologies and Sustainable Use of Mediterranean Sea Fishery and Biological Resources (FishMed-PhD)