Strategies and programmes
Towards an Integrated Policy System
In the knowledge society, the single Countries are called upon to invest in research and innovation by promoting policies that take into account the socio-economic context and go beyond internal needs and issues. The challenge to be faced by Italy and the other EU Countries is to strengthen cooperation, adopt shared policies and coordinate the activities. The goal is to make the best use of the resources invested while avoiding duplication of efforts, maximize the results and achieve increased prosperity and development in all geographical areas.
The National Research Programme
The instrument that identifies strategies and priorities for Italy’s research system is the National Research Programme (NRP). The goal is to ensure the coordination of research with other national policies and to align the Country with the strategic vision at European level, while promoting the progressive integration between public and private research. The NRP was drawn up by the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) through broad consultation with the scientific and academic community, the economic forces and the relevant administrations, and is approved by the Interministerial Committee for Economic Programming (CIPE).
The National Research Programme 2015-2020 is intended as a platform designed to guide Italy’s industrial competitiveness and development through the instruments of knowledge. Based on the analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the Italian research system, the document identifies 6 intervention programmes, each having specific macro-objectives, actions and dedicated resources: Internationalization, Human Capital, Research Infrastructures, Public-Private Collaboration, Southern Italy, Efficiency and Quality of Expenditure. The NRP also identifies 12 specialization areas with the aim to prioritize the most promising initiatives in applied research.
No specific disciplinary priorities have been established for basic research – free and creative: investments are made mainly through actions directed to human capital and research infrastructures. Applied and translational research is divided into 12 specialization areas, which take into account the industrial weight of their related production sectors: Aerospace; Agri-food, Cultural Heritage; Blue Growth; Green Chemistry; Design, Creativity and Made in Italy; Energy; Smart Factory; Sustainable Mobility; Health; Smart, Secure and Inclusive Communities; Technologies for Living Environments.
Sources of funding
The resources allocated come from the following national sources of funding:
- Ordinary Fund for Research Institutes and Bodies (FOE)
- Fund for Investments in Basic Research (FIRB)
- Research Support Fund (FAR)
- Research Projects of National Interest (PRIN)
National Operational Programme
In Italy, research is also funded under the National Operational Programme (NOP): the instrument through which Italy implements the Cohesion Policy of the European Union in favour of disadvantaged geographical areas. The Programme, managed by MIUR, is implemented through the EU Structural and Investment Funds aimed at strengthening the economic, social and territorial cohesion at European level while reducing development disparities among EU Member States.
Il NOP Research and Competitiveness 2007-2013, whose activities are in progress, supports research and innovation projects in the four Regions within the "Convergence" Objective: Apulia, Calabria, Sicily, Campania.
The new NOP Research and Innovation 2014-2020 supports the Transition Regions (TR): Abruzzo, Molise and Sardinia, and the Convergence Regions (LD), Basilicata, Campania, Calabria, Apulia and Sicily.
Lines of action and special programmes
Finally, MIUR promotes some lines of action and special programmes, in which Italy is actively engaged, to foster the development of research activities in areas considered to be strategic and promote knowledge transfer:
European Union programmes and funding schemes
The Framework Programme for the period 2014-2020 Horizon 2020 integrates into a single funding scheme the three previous programmes (2007-2013) designed to support research, innovation and technological development: the Seventh Framework Programme (7PQ), the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). Designed to strengthen Europe’s global competitiveness, Horizon 2020 is built around three “pillars”: Excellent Science, Industrial Leadership, and Societal Challenges.
Europe plays a leading role in the identification of development strategies towards which national and regional policies as well as economic efforts should be directed. The objective of actions such as the Smart Specialisation Strategy, is to create synergies and consolidate cooperation between the various regions and the EU Countries to promote integrated development, increase competitiveness and establish the European research sector as a key player at the global level.