The 11.77 billion provided for research in the draft of the Recovery Plan approved on January 12 by the Council of Ministers are insufficient and too oriented towards the business world.
The allocation must be 15 billion and must support basic research, reads the letter to the president of the Senate Culture Commission signed by 14 of the most prestigious Italian researchers, including Ugo Amaldi, Luciano Maiani, Giorgio Parisi and Alberto Mantovani .
"We hope - reads the letter - that the debate will lead to a profound revision of the proposals contained in the draft of January 12".
The letter is the most recent in a series of initiatives undertaken by the same group of scientists since last September to request the allocation of 15 billion over 5 years to be foreseen in the Recovery Plan in order to be competitive in research.
After the letter of last January 2 to the then Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the scientists have returned to write to the current president Mario Draghi and now, addressing the Senate Culture Commission, they go into the details of the actions deemed necessary to relaunch Italian research .
"Our arguments start from the totally unsatisfactory situation of
Italian investments in public research - reads the letter - when compared, not with the leading countries in this field (such as Korea, Israel, Switzerland and Sweden) but with the two other great founding countries of the European Union ”, namely France and Germany.
Italy spends 0.5% of GDP on public research (equal to 9 billion a year) against 0.75 in France (17 billion) and 1% in Germany (30 billion), with an investment annual per citizen of 150 euros against the 250 of France and the 400 of Germany and research doctorates are 9,000 per year against the 15,000 of France and 28,000 of Germany.
Italy is second to none in Europe for the quality of its research alone.
The proposal, over a five-year period, is to "increase by 0.25% of GDP, in a structural and permanent way, the investment of the State in research, passing from 0.5% to 0.75%", thus reaching the current investment of France.
Furthermore, the letter continues, "since in 2019 the Italian State invested 9 billion euros in public research, of which 6 in basic research and 3 in applied research, it is necessary to add 1 billion to the budget every year to reach 2025 an investment of 14 billion.
Between 2021 and 2025 this operation requires a total of 15 billion ".
The letter also proposes to use the structural increase in funds in order to "quadruple the funding of Research Projects of National Interest (Prin)" with 3 billion in 5 years) "thus bringing us to the level of France", to "increase the number of doctoral students "from 9,000 to 14,000 a year and to" recruit 25,000 new researchers "at the rate of 5,000 a year with an investment of 4 billion over 5 years (in this way we would reach 100,000 public researchers, almost as much as France ).
It is also proposed to "invest in the main infrastructures included in the National Research Plan, recently approved by the CIPE".