Just two days after the visit of our Head of State, there’s bad news for SISSA, coming from the ministerial degree on university planning 2019-2021 and from the decree on the Ordinary Finance Fund (FFO), one of the main sources of revenue for Italian Universities. According to some of the first analyses available, the School will undergo an additional cut of about half a million euro. A reduction in funds that will imply cutbacks in crucial activities during the approval of the provisional budget, especially among those directed towards the local territory. This despite SISSA being recently named as the top Italian University and seventh in Europe among those founded in the last fifty years according to a ranking published by the highly respected journal Nature. This despite the School received 23 prestigious grants from the European Research Council. This despite the President of the Republic telling the SISSA community “Thank you for all you do here” no more than forty-eight hours ago.
The parameters that led to the lowering of the SISSA reward funding share by about 0.5 million euros are part of a decision scheme that penalizes characteristic aspects of the SISSA research framework, such as the independence of the scientists responsible for the various projects. These same features have led SISSA to very high quality results in terms of prestigious funding and international awards, while at the same time have ensured the training of graduate students and excellent young researchers. The latest cut follows from another already made on scholarships starting from 2015, of about 1 million on an annual basis, with an overall underfunding for SISSA that puts at risk the functioning of all the activities that allow the School to maintain such high standards.