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New research minister in Italy


Engineer Francesco Profumo was today appointed minister of education, universities and research in the technical government being put together by Mario Monti following the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi on 12 November.

Profumo, who is close to the centre-left Democratic Party, was former rector of the University of Turin until he was appointed in August as president of Italy’s National Research Council, which runs some 100 research institutes.

Italy’s chronically underfunded universities and research institutes, where academic recruitment has been stagnant for years, have recently undergone reform to make them more autonomous and to encourage them to be more efficient. One of Profumo’s challenges will be to ensure that the reforms are enacted; universities have been slow to draft their new statutes, and as a result few competitions for academic posts have been announced.

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