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RSE conducts research in the electro-energetic sector, in domains of public interest, that concern strategic fields for the national system. This activity - mainly financed by the Ricerca di Sistema fund – aims to support research and development promoting technological innovation of general interest for the electricity system, the improvement of its safety, environmental compatibility and economic and efficiency criteria.

On the international level, RSE participates in more than 50 projects funded by the European Union and coordinatinates 11 consortia involving more than one hundred European research centres and industrial organisations. Among the most significant projects, RSE coordinates Smart Grids topics in EERA (European Energy Research Alliance) and a similar project on wind energy in EEWI.

With IEA – International Energy Agency – RSE participates in partnership programs called Implementing Agreements (IAs). RSE is the representative for Italy in five of these.

RSE also participates in the Industria 2015 program with five projects that aim to set the strategic development and competitiveness guidelines for the Italian production system. Currently, RSE is working on led lighting projects, co-generation Microsystems, hydrogen accumulation systems, concentration photovoltaic systems and offshore wind generation.