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MFA: Networking for competitiveness and growth – Terzi-Profumo: IT platform on programmes and opportunities

An information technology (IT) platform for institutions, universities, research centres and enterprises in the innovation sector. That is the initiative launched by Ministers Giulio Terzi and Francesco Profumo in a conference at the Foreign Ministry in Rome attended by Italian researchers with a well-established success record in foreign universities and research structures.

The researchers present included Carlo Rubbia, physicists Antonio Ereditato and Fabiola Gianotti, molecular biologist Antonio Iavarone, and CERN Research Director Sergio Bertolucci. Also present were Bruno Coppi and Federico Capasso.

A new multi-channel interactive instrument

“A multi-channel, interactive instrument”, explained Terzi, “that gives participants access to information available from the two Ministries and a chance to engage in dialogue with the institutions, to raise their awareness of research and innovation issues”. A first step in this direction, he continued, will be the creation of a tablet and smartphone app “to make the databases already providing scientific and technological information easier to use. These include RISeT (the science attachés’ network) and the Davinci project (database for Italian researchers abroad) run by the foreign ministry”.

Invest your talent in Italy

The Foreign Ministry, added Terzi, has also set up a grant programme called “Invest Your Talent in Italy”. This has enabled 300 students from countries experiencing strong economic growth (Brazil, Turkey and India) to gain educational and/or training experience here, thus laying the foundations for future collaboration. Similar initiatives are envisaged for the countries of the Middle East and the Mediterranean.

The Minister for Education, Universities and Research, Profumo, explained that work is progressing to promote “structural investments that impart continuity” to research programmes and make them increasingly competitive at the international level. In addition to the portal, which will go online on an experimental basis in the 2012-13 academic year, another “strong point” will be to promote university courses in English, along the lines of those organised by the Politecnico di Milano.

Government-Research community task force: promoting “brain circulation”

The Conference also discussed the idea of a task force between the government and the world of research to encourage the circulation of knowledge and create a network for Italian researchers abroad using the country’s research structure and government. This idea emerged yesterday, 16 April 2012, during a meeting at the Aspen Institute, chaired by Cesare Romiti.

The goal of the task force, explained Terzi, would be “to promote instruments to create ‘brain circulation’”, or in other words to link our top researchers working abroad with the Italian research world.

Minister Profumo’s comment on the initiative was very positive. “The task force that Terzi is calling for, at the initiative of the Aspen Institute, deserves careful attention indeed. Minister Terzi and I”, added Profumo to the researchers present at the Conference, “will take an active part in transferring the best of your experience into good practice for our country”.