The first two decrees regarding PhD courses funded with 300 million euro by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) have been published on the website of the Ministry of University and Research. A total of 7,500 scholarships will be funded for the academic year 2022/2023 and for activities to be launched by 31 December 2022: 5,000 scholarships for innovative doctorates responding to the needs of companies and promoting the recruitment of researchers; 1,200 scholarships for PhD programmes falling within the focus areas of the NRRP; 1,000 scholarships for PhD programmes in the Public Administration; 200 scholarships for cultural heritage, and 100 scholarships for PhD programmes dedicated to the green and digital transformation.
“These decrees are real and concrete acts that restore the focus on science and research, the basis of the quality of higher education and, at the same time, the driving force behind the Country’s development, both for the Public Administration and for the private sector,” said the Minister of University and Research, Maria Cristina Messa.“We have experienced first-hand how vital research is and how the scientific method is the only tool that can help us find solutions to more and more complex and interrelated problems. These first 300 million are an important boost for young people, to tell them not to set limits to their curiosity and to show that we are really investing in them and in the development of their skills.”
Both decrees allocate resources to state and non-state legally recognized universities, including online universities, and to special higher education institutions (Gran Sasso Science Institute, IMT School for Advanced Studies Lucca, IUSS University School for Advanced Studies Pavia, Scuola Normale Superiore Pisa, Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies Pisa, International School for Advanced Studies Trieste). Both decrees establish that the scholarships can be used both to strengthen the existing PhD courses and to set up new ones, either individually or in consortia, including PhD courses of national interest.
Decree no. 351 of 9 April 2022 (in Italian) concerns PhD programmes covering the focus areas of the NRRP, innovative doctorates for Public Administration and cultural heritage, and the new three-year PhD courses dedicated to the green and digital transformation, funded using the resources of the NRRP.
In detail, the decree allocates 150 million euro (out of a total of 462 million euro set aside for these actions by 2026) from the NRRP to the first 2,500 three-year scholarships, taking into account the need for each measure to allocate 40% of the scholarships to institutions located in the 8 regions of southern Italy: 1,200 scholarships for the extension of the number of PhD courses, of which 480 in the southern regions, funded with 72 million euro; 1,000 scholarships for PhD courses for the Public Administration, of which 400 funded with 60 million euro in the southern regions; 200 scholarships for PhD courses for cultural heritage, of which80 for universities located in the southern regions, funded with 12 million euro; and 100 scholarships for PhD programmes dedicated to the green and digital transformation, of which 40 in the South, with an investment of 6 million euro. The decree also lays down the eligibility criteria and procedures for the different types of doctorate, as well as the assessment criteria, in line with the new regulations (Decree no. 226 of 14 December 2021) on the accreditation of PhD courses.
Decree no. 352 of 9 April 2022 (in Italian) concerns the funding of innovative industrial doctorates. The decree allocates the first 150 million euro (out of a total of 600 million euro set aside for this measure in the NRRP) for the 50% co-financing of 5,000 scholarships for thee-year PhD courses starting from the next academic year, again taking into account the need to allocate at least 40% of the funds available, i.e. 2,000 scholarships, to the regions of southern Italy.
The decree requires the universities and special higher education institutions implementing the measure to identify partner companies willing to co-finance 50% of scholarships for innovative PhD courses in order to meet their own research and innovation needs. The decree also lays down the eligibility criteria and procedures for the different types of doctorate, as well as the assessment criteria, in line with the new regulations (Decree no. 226 of 14 December 2021) on the accreditation of PhD courses.