The Italian higher education landscape
The Italian research landscape
Ca' Foscari's strategy for researchers' careers
An academic career path in Italy
The university teaching staff in Italy can be divided into the following main categories:
- Doctoral students (Dottorando)
- Short-term Research Fellows (Borsista di Ricerca)
- Research grant holders (Assegnista)
- Researchers (Ricercatore)
- Associate Professors (Professore Associato)
- Full Professors (Professore Ordinario)
Normally, academic careers in Italy start with a Doctoral Research Programme (Dottorato di Ricerca) and the award of a Doctorate Degree (Dottorato). Afterwards, the PhD can apply for a Research Grant (Assegno) or for the position of Researcher (A-Type/Ricercatore di tipo A or Tenure-Track Researcher - B-Type/Ricercatore di tipo B). The Research Grant (Assegno) is sometimes used to cover research of PhD students without a grant. The most common path is obtaining an A-Type Research contract and then a B-Type one. As mentioned above, to become a Researcher one needs to win a competition ("concorso") consisting of written and oral tests. Finally, to become Associate Professor or Full Professor (the highest academic qualification) one needs to obtain the National Scientific Habilitation (Abilitazione) and to pass a competition (concorso) in a University. There are also other roles and paths that can be followed, but this brief description aims to sum up the most widespread academic career in Italy.
In 2016, the Italian Law (DM 662/2016) established the Equivalence among Italian and International academic positions.
National Scientific Habilitation (Abilitazione)
From 2012 onwards academics, scientists and scholar can enter or be promoted to Associate Professor or Full Professor through a new procedure which has taken years to be implemented. It implies a nationwide selection to obtain an official qualification called “abilitazione”, that is a National Scientific Habilitation, without which it is not possible to access to the highest academic positions. The Habilitation can be obtained after applying to official calls ("concorsi nazionali") issued by the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MIUR) for various scientific fields (“raggruppamenti concorsuali”).
The call is issued on a yearly basis and is open for 4 months, and candidates are examined nationally by committees composed by Full Professors, selected on the basis of their experience in their scientific field. The National Scientific Habilitation is valid for 4 years and implies different requirements for the functions of Associate Professor or Full Professor. It certifies the scientific qualification which is a necessary requirement for access to the role of Associate or Full Professor.
Average salaries are low at the beginning of the academic career and increase with advancements. Salaries of Italian Full Professors are reckoned as high, even compared to academic salaries in the US. If one makes a full academic career in Italy, the salary at the end is 5 times the beginning salary. During the first three years in each position (the test period) no seniority is awarded.
|Position||Average salary per year|
|Doctoral Student||€ 12.500,00 (after taxes)|
|Short-term Research Fellow||€ 13.500,00 (after taxes)|
|Research grant holder*||€ 20.000,00|
|Researcher (A-Type)||€ 24.000,00 (after taxes)|
|Researcher (B-Type)||€ 28.600,00 (after taxes)|
|Associate Professor**||€ 54.000,00|
|Full Professor**||€ 74.000,00|
* Amounts may decrease between 24% and 32%, depending on the basis of different criteria, such as annual income, any other social security insurance, working activities type etc.
**Amounts may decrease between 23% and 43%, depending on the basis of different criteria, such as insurance costs, family benefits, etc. Salaries increase automatically every three years.