INNOVATION AND RESEARCH IN SICILY

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The latest edition of the Report on research and innovation in Italy shows worrying numbers about the link between culture, media, science and innovation.

In the field of scientific research, Italy continues to be at the bottom of the rankings compared to other countries in Europe, where the ratio between investment in R&D and GDP is almost 2%.

Even researchers, therefore the workforce of the research, are still below the other European countries, mainly due to the aging of the Italian population.

Italy contributes 12.5% to the European Union budget but only gets 8.7% of the total research funding. In particular, the situation in Sicily is even more worrying. Only 1% of European resources are addressed to Sicily.

TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION AND RESEARCH IN SICILY

The CNR (National Research Council) discussed the research situation in Italy together with various institutions. In particular, experts talked about the essential problems, the budget and strategy that are currently inadequate to face modernity. Italy remains a country unable to metabolise the problem and properly react.

In particular, Sicily is the last in Europe in investments for innovation, despite the national Digital Agenda plan, aimed at making Italian companies and technological infrastructures more competitive.

Appropriations and resources allocated to the South

Italy has shown difficulties in the ability to spend funds on ICT, Research and Innovation, despite having one of the highest endowments. The resources available from the 2014-2020 ERDF Fund amount to 6 billion for research and innovation and 2.3 billion for the development of ICT. There are the highest figures after Poland and Spain. But nevertheless, the amount of investments reported and used is 828 million.

In this negative scenario, Sicily is characterised by its extreme delay.

The sums allocated for research and innovation and for ICT amounted to € 749.8 million, which makes Sicily the third region for appropriations. It is the only region which spent little or nothing, despite the fact that Sicily is one of the regions that planned major investments together with Puglia and Campania.

Cases of technological innovation in Sicily

One of the biggest problems is that Sicily is not attractive for foreign investments and the Italy Startup Visa program of the Ministry of Economic Development for foreign investors has too few candidates, none of which concern Sicily, which still appears unattractive for who wants to launch a new business.

More than half of the 23 million provided by Mise (Italian Ministry of Economic and Development) go to Sicily for the creation of a platform of innovative technologies for not-invasive treatments in radiotherapy and robotic surgery, presented by the Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Research G. Giglio of Cefalù.

Speaking of which, the new organizational model of the Regional Transplant Centre has been recently presented in Palermo, divided into two areas.

The coordination and governance area is entrusted with:

The operational coordination area of the organ and tissue donation and transplantation process performs the following functions:

EU FUNDS AND INNOVATION STRATEGIES

Over 130 million funds have been reserved for calls for technological innovation and research.
They aim at:

New innovation strategies in the south

The mission of the Plan for the South, presented by the Italian Prime Minister and the ministers Provenzano and Azzolina, is to support the south Italy to become more connected and inclusive for young people, without neglecting ecological and innovation aspects.

The ten-year project is based on an idea of the South in 2030 and aims to create a new development strategy. It includes investments dedicated to education, the fight against child educational poverty, the strengthening of school buildings, the extension of the No Tax area, the attraction of researchers to the South and the modernisation of infrastructures.

The phases of the Plan for the South 2030

The Plan is divided into two phases:

The new method is based on strengthening the central control, on cooperation between central and local administrations, on the activation of national competence centres and on the use of central purchasing bodies and contracting stations, on the simplification of the PSC (an Italian document containing the security and coordination plan) management procedures and on active partnership.

The plan also includes actions for the proximity of places, the relaunch of the national strategy for internal areas and the regeneration of urban contexts, as well as the recovery and redevelopment of the historic centre of Palermo.

The circular economy and attention to young people and women

The plan also focuses on the ecological change through a circular economy experimentation, the enhancement of sustainable transport, supply chain and district contracts in the agri-food sector and forest management.

As regards innovation, the project supports technology transfer and the strengthening of networks between research and business, as well as the international vocation of the economy and southern society. The plan also includes the adoption of a strategy that strengthens the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and development cooperation programs.

The South Plan 2030 also provides for measures to strengthen the competitiveness of the production system and the enhancement of employment opportunities for young men and women (incentive for female employment, tax credit for investments in the South, “Cresci al Sud” and “Southern Protocol ” in collaboration with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and Invitalia).

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