Pubblicato su Science on the Net
European research is fundamental for guaranteeing future competitiveness to our economies, as acknowledged by all EU member States that committed to reach investments in research and development equal to 3% of GDP. Up to date, however, the funds allocated by the 28 Countries of the Union remain below the 2% of GDP and on average do not exceed 0.7% (Fig. 1). Some Nations, however, are reversing their route. In 2000, Germany and France presented similar balance sheets; ten years later, Germany remains the only country that constantly increased public funds. Also Spain and Portugal registered an increase, whilst Italy, since 2007, showed a continual decrease.
It is not a surprise that our Country invests in research less than the European average. Much has been written about possible solutions and paradigm shifts. Increasing funds is doubtlessly the first step, but it is also essential to review our governance system, whose management is sub-divided among countless Ministries and Bodies, resulting in inefficiencies, additional costs and discontinuity. As this was not enough, the Italian system is affected by a chronic poor interest in result application and cooperation with industry that, from its side, invests little and find hard to link private research activity with the input coming from the public research centres. Disentangling the many knots that slow down the development of Italian research is challenging indeed because of the high complexity of the system, but the management of such a central sector in the knowledge society does not represent a problem for our Country only. Let’s have a look at some of our European neighbours to see how they have faced the same issue.
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