Two key documents establish the background for research: the National Reform Programme for Innovation, Growth and Employment, and the National Research Programme (PNR) 2014–2020. The National Research Programme 2014-2020 identifies thematic priorities for the national research policy:
- Cultural and scientific progress
- Health, demographic change and wellbeing
- European Bio-economy Challenges
- Secure, clean and efficient energy
- Smart, green and integrated transport
- Climate action, resource efficiency and raw materials
- Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies
- Space and astronomy
- Secure societies - protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens
- Restoring, preserving, valuing & managing the European Cultural Heritage, Creativity
- Digital agenda.
The political level for R&D policies is the Parliament and the Council of Ministries. The highest level of Science and Technology policy coordination is the Inter-Ministry Committee for Economic Planning.
At operational level, the Ministry for Education, University and Research coordinates national and international scientific activities, distributes funding to universities and research agencies, and establishes the procedures for funding public and private research, and technological development. The Ministry for Economic Development supports and manages industrial innovation. Other Ministries manage research funding in their specific fields.
There are two bodies with advisory tasks. One is the National Committee for Universities responsible for proposals and consultancy on academic curricula and recruitment. The other is the National Agency for the Evaluation of the University and the Research.
Transport policy is developed and implemented by the Ministry of Economic Development, Infrastructure and Transport.
Transport research is funded through the general research framework and through programmes dedicated to transport. To promote larger R&D investment and to stimulate R&D projects in the private sector, the Italian State supports companies through grants and loans. These include the Fund for Applied Research managed by the Ministry of Education, University and Research, and the Fund for Technological Innovation managed by the Ministry of Productive Activities.
Organisations responsible for the institutional framework and funding:
- Committee for Evaluation of Research
- Ministry for Economic Development
- Ministry for Education, University and Research
- Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports
- National Agency for the Evaluation of the University and the Research
- National Committee for the Evaluation of the University System
- National Committee for Universities