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Italian science on shaky ground

Professors protest funding cuts in the 2004 budget

Rossella Lorenzi(Lorenzi@tin.it)

Controversial measures in the approved 2004 finance law have thrown Italian research into a shaky scenario of lawsuits, with more than 3500 postdoctoral researchers and professors making appeal to the regional administrative tribunal in the attempt to obtain promised positions.

The scientists, who have unionized in the Coordinamento Professori Idonei (CPI), or the Association of Qualified Professors, all won the post of university professors after 1999 through open competition. But their access or advancement in universities and research centers was frozen last year by the finance law, which prevented any recruitment in the public sector.

“The 2004 budget law has reiterated this policy. Basically, it is stopping the natural turnover in universities. It prevents public universities from employing young researchers and has even blocked the career of professors, since in Italy, career progressions are regulated through national competitions and therefore appear as new hiring,” committee leader Pierluigi Contucci, an associate...

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