The Convenzione signed on 30 December 2020 between the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of University and Research (MUR) and the Human Technopole Foundation (HT) regulates the creation of National Facilities (NFs) at HT, to be made available to the Italian scientific community to conduct high quality research in their respective fields, independent of institutional affiliation.
The scope of application of the Convenzione includes facilities to be newly identified and implemented. More information on the facilities and activities currently under development in accordance with the HT Strategic Plan 2020-2024 can be found here.
For the purpose of the Convenzione, National Facilities are defined by applying to the national context the definition of ‘research infrastructure’ introduced by the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), i.e., facilities, resources and related services used by the scientific community to conduct top-level research in their respective fields, regardless of institutional or national affiliation.
Specific operational units, called Infrastructural Units (IU), and defined as the set of people, tools, resources, technological procedures and cutting-edge experimental protocols necessary for a specific thematic line of research, form part of each individual NF.
How are new NFs of interest identified?
The Convenzione establishes that National Facilities be identified following public consultations open to the national scientific community in two stages: the first involving selected stakeholders representing the life sciences research system, the second aimed at the entire scientific community.
The tasks of the TC include:
- identifying already existing research infrastructures in the Country and in Europe that are open to the national community,
- preparing the form for the collection of proposals concerning the NFs and relevant IUs to be potentially implemented,
- carrying out the first and second level consultations,
- producing a final report summarising the results of the consultations and identifying the NFs in highest demand by the national scientific community.
First level consultation
The 1st level consultation, which took place between 23 July and 30 September 2021, involved representatives of Universities, research hospitals (IRCCS), public research organisations, industry, regions, social partners, and major third sector organisations (ETS) that conduct or fund research in the field of life sciences.
A total of 167 institutions were identified by the TC and invited to express their priorities and proposals regarding NFs to be potentially implemented at HT. Proposals were submitted through an online questionnaire, largely based on the form used by ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) to collect proposals for the implementation of research infrastructures to be included in the European roadmap.
The aim of this first phase of consultation was to collect aggregate indications reflecting the needs shared by a large part of the community represented by the stakeholders consulted.
Overall, this initial phase of consultation allowed the identification of ‘core areas’ of NFs in high demand among Italian researchers in the relevant fields. These NFs will allow Italian researchers to access a broad range of services, from omics technologies over imaging to structural analysis.
More information on the results of the first level consultation can be found here.