New Tools for the Governance of the Academic Research in Italy: the Role of Research Evaluation

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New Tools for the Governance of the Academic Research in Italy: the Role of Research Evaluation


WP 13/2005; Evaluation has been put on the agenda of most Governments as a central process to enhance the public research institutions’ performance (Geuna, 1999, Geuna and Martin, 2003, Shapira and Kuhlman, 2003). New agencies or intermediate bodies have been settled up, both at the Government and at the institutions’ level, aiming to assess the quality of research and its impact on the socio-economic environment. In Italy, the pressure for a greater accountability of the public research institutions started at the beginning of nineties, but the system was deeply modified in 1999. Moreover, the Government at the beginning of 2004 launched a formalised evaluation exercise (the VTR), aimed to assess the research performance of all the public institutions (Universities and public research agencies) across scientific fields, for a three-years period. The modification recently introduced in the Government criteria for the core funding allocation to the Universities would assure the impact of VTR results on funding decisions. Different key interested groups, both from academics (Conference of Rectors) and from stakeholders (mainly Industrial Associations), contributed to the development of the described process, by interacting with the Government and with the intermediate bodies in charge for establishing the evaluation procedures. The aim of the paper is to investigate how the new evaluation procedures, even at this early stage, have been implemented by the public research institutions, and how these procedures are changing the internal models of research direction and organisation. The paper was prepared for the Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook Conference on “Changing Knowledge Production through Evaluation” Bielefeld, 9-11 June 2005


CNR Ceris