De Nicola graduated in “Scienze dell'Informazione” at Università di Pisa in 1978 and received a Ph.D. in “Computer Science” at the University of Edinburgh (UK) in 1985.
De Nicola is full professor of “Computer Science” at IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca. From 1995 until 2011, he was full professor at Dipartimento di Sistemi e Informatica, Università di Firenze, and, from 1990 until 1995, at Dipartimento di Scienze dell'Informazione, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”. Previously, he was a full-time researcher at IEI-CNR in Pisa and worked at Edinburgh University, Italtel in Milano and Olivetti in Pisa. He also has been visiting professor at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and visiting scholar at Microsoft Research Cambridge.
Rector of the IMT School since November 1st, 2021, De Nicola has also served as a member of the School's Academic Senate and Board of Governors.
A fellow of EATCS, De Nicola is listed among Thomson ISI's World Cited Researchers (ISI HiglyCited) and is also a member of Academia Europaea, Gruppo 2003 and Working Group 2.2 and 1.9 of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP).
In 2005 he was appointed as ‘Commendatore della Repubblica’ (Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic) by the President of the Republic of Italy Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.
De Nicola is the deputy director of CINI National Laboratory for Cybersecurity and the director of Cybersecurity Competence Center of Tuscany (C3T). He is also Coordinator of the National Ph.D. Program in Cybersecurity (Ph.D. CySec).
During his academic career, De Nicola has been member of several advisory boards of international research institutions and has served as Principal Investigator for numerous research projects funded by the EU, MUR, CNR, Tuscany Region and private companies.