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Italy: New minister for university and research presents work programme

The newly appointed Italian minister for university and research, Dr Fabio Mussi, has recently presented his work programme to the committee for education of the Chamber of Deputies. Modernisation of the university system, reform of staff recruitment, and a greater commitment towards research and innovation were some of the main issues mentioned in his speech.

According to Mussi it is fundamental to renew and update the Italian university system so that it is in line with societal and global changes. He added that it is important to overcome some major problems affecting the Italian higher education system, such as the low number of researchers (half that of the EU’s average), and the ageing problem (42 per cent of teaching staff are over the age of fifty). Dr Mussi proposed the production of a multiannual plan that would favour the entry of young researchers into universities and public research centres.

Amongst the next steps to be taken are:

  • A proposal on the reform of university governance – Dr Mussi calls for more autonomy in university governance, budget management and recruitment. He proposes the setting up of an independent agency for the evaluation of staff recruitment, with a view to putting an end to staff recruitment through ‘concorsi’(public competition).
  • A national conference on the situation of students. Dr Mussi announced a conference at national level to define a ’student statute’, create a national scholarship programme, work out a programme on university accommodation (at present, a very small percentage of students have access to university accommodation), make the tuition fee system more flexible in relation to the student’s income and the quality of the university.
Audizione del Ministro dell’Università e Ricerca on. Fabio Mussi (in Italian only)