Instituting recruiting meritocracy in Italy

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Science  22 Apr 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6284, pp. 422
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6284.422-a

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  • Recruitment of young scientists in Italy
    • Francesco Nicoli, PostDoc, INSERM, U1135, Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, DHU FAST, CR7, Centre d’Immunologie et des Maladies Infectieuses (CIMI

    As a young Italian researcher, currently abroad for a postdoctoral experience, I followed with great interest the development of the Human-Technopole, a new research center that will be built in Milan and managed by a private foundation (Italian Institute of Technology – IIT). This project has been recently discussed in your Journal by Dr. Assad (1), who claimed that IIT has a tenure-track system which favors meritocratic selection, while the same is not true for public institutions (e.g. Universities).
    I truly believe in the recruitment system established at the IIT. However, I wish to point out that recruitment policies in public Italian institutions are developed in a different legal framework, with more constrains and lower budgets than those of private institutes. The system criticized by Dr. Assad is often the only way to ensure some sort of tenure track perspectives to excellent young scientists that otherwise are forced to quit science despite high level publications, years of experience in Italy and abroad and the ability to win national and international grants. What should be blamed is thus not the current behavior of Universities, which fight with bureaucracy and lack of funds to keep the most promising scientists, but the whole recruitment system of public research institutes, with the lack of a formalized tenure track system and the extreme rarity of available positions. An “international meritocratic recruitment”, as suggested by Dr. Assad, would be id...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.