In DepthEUROPE

Italy set to create €300 million research funding agency

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Science  06 Dec 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6470, pp. 1178-1179
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6470.1178

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Summary

Scientists in Italy are about to receive a long-sought gift—but some are disappointed. This month, Italy is expected to set up its first national science funding agency, with an annual budget that would rise to €300 million. Italian scientists are welcoming the boost to a thin basic research budget and the prospect of an independent body that could allocate the money transparently. But some complain that the sum is too small and worry the new National Research Agency (ANR) will be vulnerable to political interference. Originally announced in September by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who leads a coalition government of the populist Five Star Movement and the center-left Democratic Party, the ANR proposal is now a part of the country's 2020 budget bill, which the Parliament must approve by 31 December. The Senate is set to vote on the bill this week, after which it will move to the lower house. The agency could be up and running in a matter of months—with many questions hanging over it.

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