Reserves from the heavily criticised Italian and Institute of Techology will be redirected
Research minister Valeria Fedeli has announced that Italy’s government will put an extra €400 million (£365 million) into the country’s fund for basic research over the next three years, quadrupling its current funding.
€250 million of the €400 million allocated to the Research Projects of National Interest (PRIN) fund will come from reserves currently held by the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genoa. Italy’s research community criticised the IIT earlier this year for continuing to draw government funding, despite spending only 80% of the money it was allocated in previous years and allowing large sums to build up.
By contrast, the PRIN has suffered real-terms cuts over the last few years, with no new funding announced since it was awarded €95 million in 2015 to cover the following three years.
The government has not released any details about what the new money will be spent on, but in the past the PRIN has supported projects focusing on basic research in the life sciences, physical and engineering sciences, social sciences and humanities. Italy’s scientific community welcomed the surprise announcement.