Thursday, September 06, 2012

Invitation to becoming a member of the Italian Committees for professorships

The letter below will be sent to some mailing lists soon. I am posting it here since it is in the interests of the TCS community as a whole to be well represented in this exercise. Despite being amongst the signatories of this letter, I have no academic position in Italy. I am simply an interested observer of academic life in my home country.

Dear colleagues,

The recruitment system for academic staff at Italian universities has recently been changed. The new procedure requires that academics attain the so-called National Scientific Qualification in order to take up a position in an Italian university at the level of associate or full professor. The qualification is granted by National Committees, one for each group of disciplines. All committees are made up of five members, four affiliated to Italian universities and one affiliated to a foreign university located in an OECD country. Members from foreign universities must hold a position equivalent to that of a full professor.

We think that it would be very useful for our research community if you submitted a candidacy to become a foreign member of the National Committee. If you are interested in doing so, you can register your candidacy at

by September 24.

To submit your candidacy, you will have to include a curriculum vitae, the list of scientific publications, the selected disciplinary fields, the number of citations received by your work and your h-index. As part of this process, you will be asked to select one or more Italian Scientific fields from a scroll-down menu (choose at least 01/B1 - Informatics) and some ERC Scientific fields. (There is a scroll-down menu for that too.)

Based on this information, the Italian national agency for the evaluation of universities and research Institutes (ANVUR) will select at least four possible foreign members for each scientific group. The foreign member of each committee will then be randomly selected among those in the lists. The committee will be in service for two years, during which two rounds of evaluations will be carried out. Names and CVs of the selected candidates will be published on the ANVUR website. Members of the evaluation groups will receive an honorarium of 16,000 € for the whole period, plus expenses.

We hope that you will consider submitting your candidacy.

All the best,
Luca Aceto, Rocco De Nicola, Mariangiola Dezani-Ciancaglini


Anonymous said...

This whole thing looks like a lottery ticket for Italian professors teaching (and doing actual research, and making a decent life by being paid adequately out of it) abroad.

(Ok, not necessarily "Italian", but we all know that a vast majority will be Italian.)

Plus, the lucky guy also wins a nice (i.e., very expensive for the Italian taxpayers... 16KEuro plus expenses? Really? REALLY?) "consolation prize" for being an expat Italian professor.


Luca Aceto said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for your input to this discussion.

I do not know the details of this new Italian National Qualification scheme and I can only make an educated guess as to why it came about. (I suspect that my guess would be identical to the one made by many other academics.) I am just trying to increase the chance that top-notch TCS researchers from outside Italy are involved in it. I do believe that this would be a good thing for the TCS community in Italy.

Indeed there is a lottery involved in the selection of the committees. Note, however, that out of the five members of each committee only one is affiliated to a foreign university located in an OECD country. The other four are affiliated to Italian universities and I expect that they will be paid for their work in the evaluation committee. Anything else would be crazy. The evaluation of a large number of applications will be non-trivial and time-consuming work, if done well.

Of course, one might wonder why Italy has decided to use a National Scientific Qualification scheme for associate and full professors and whether this scheme will achieve its goals. I have my own opinions on this points and my own doubts. I would be interested in hearing yours.


Unknown said...

The fact that we sent the message should not be interpreted as that we agree with the new procedure put in place, after years of discussions, by our politicians. We only acted to make this new procedure and this new opportunity known to as many colleagues as possible also NON Italian and to encourage them to consider applying. However, I have to say that the 16,000 euro offered to the foreign members of the committees will be in exchange of a lot of work.

I would like to add that having people from outside the italian university system in the selection committes will certainly help avoiding bad practices that that have caused so many inbreeding problems also to our most prestigeous universities.

Rocco De Nicola