Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Over 55.5 million funding for UniTrento departments of excellence

Eight of the ten departments of the University will receive funding

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Eight of the ten departments of the University of Trento, selected from among the 352 top departments in Italy, will receive funding from the Ministry of Education and Research. Rector Paolo Collini proudly welcomed the news: “This success is beyond our expectations and will allow us to hire new personnel and improve our teaching and research”.
The attached press release includes a table with the departments of the University which have been evaluated positively and the amount of funds they have obtained.

In October Anvur (the Italian National Agency for the Evaluation of the University and Research Systems) announced that all the departments of the University of Trento (10 out of 10) had been admitted to the national list of 352 “departments of excellence” and then, yesterday, good news appeared on its website: 8 of UniTrento’s 10 departments will receive funding. Overall, the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (Miur) awarded to these department 55.5 million euro over 5 years (2018-2022).

The 352 departments of Italian universities that make up the list were ranked based on their ISPD score, an index measuring their performance, which Anvur calculated on the basis of the 2011-2014 Research Quality Assessments. The regulation stipulates a two-phase assessment to provide funding to 180 departments of the 352 on the list. In the second phase, the agency assessed the quality of the development projects submitted by the participating departments.

Four of the ten departments of the University of Trento (Humanities, Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, Psychology and Cognitive Science, Sociology and Social Research) had obtained a full score and could qualify to the first phase of the selection procedure. However, only one department per university could be admitted in this phase, and Trento chose Sociology and Social Research. The other nine competed in the second phase.

Anvur completed the examination of applications by the end of 2017 and on 9 January published on its website the list of 180 departments which will obtain funding based on the projects they had submitted.

Rector Paolo Collini commented the news by saying that this is a further acknowledgement of the quality of research at UniTrento and of its ability to secure funding. “Given its size, the University of Trento is probably the one with the highest percentage of departments of excellence to receive funding”. He added: “We are satisfied that we will be awarded almost all the resources we had applied for (99.8%). This result is beyond our greatest expectations”.
Rector Collini underlined that “The resources will be used to implement the development plans presented by the departments to improve the quality of research and teaching, including by hiring new personnel. This success rewards the quality of our research and the ability to design our future growth. For departments included in the CUN areas (National University Council) of science and technology the decree-law also awards some extra funding for infrastructural projects”.

The Provincial Councillor for University and research of the Autonomous Province of Trento congratulated the University and commented by saying that this “is another acknowledgement of the excellence of the University of Trento and of the favourable and integrated environment that surrounds it”. She added: “These extremely positive results confirm the quality of research performed in the last four years and recognize the strong and continuous support of the Province to higher education”.

The Councillor also briefly mentioned the law adopted last summer: “The University and the Province joined forces to pass legislation that makes it clear that the University of Trento is entitled to national funding allocated to state universities”. The law ensures ministerial funding for the University: 55 million in 5 years is a significant amount that makes the basis of the local university system even stronger”.

The 180 departments that will obtain funds were evaluated within their relevant CUN area and in compliance with the maximum number of admissible projects and budget regulations.
The resources available for the departments of excellence to be allocated over a five-year period had been determined by law based on the size of the beneficiary institution (number of teaching staff and other criteria) and on extra funding for infrastructure in designated CUN areas.
The department of Sociology and Social Research was evaluated only in the first phase based on its department development project (max. 30), while the other 9 departments were evaluated in the second phase and received a score between 1 and 100 based on their ISPD index (max. 70) and the submitted projects (max. 30).
The new section of the Ordinary Financing Fund (Fondo di finanziamento ordinario, FFO) for the departments of excellence was established by the 2017 Stability Law (law 232/2016) with an allocation of 271 million euro per year starting from 2018. The purpose of the fund over a five-year period is to stimulate those university departments which have demonstrated their excellence in terms of quality of research and their scientific projects, organization and teaching (and also in terms of research objectives in Industry 4.0). The successful departments receive funding exceeding 5 million.


The table below lists the departments of excellence of the University (in Italian) and, in bold, the amount of funds they will receive.