The Tuscany Region strongly supports the Tuscan ecosystem of research, innovation and higher education, which is one of the most advanced in Italy. Investment in this sector – which is crucial for economic development and for the impact of scientific discoveries on improving the quality of life of all citizens – is growing throughout Europe and also in our country.
In Italy, investment in research and innovation increased by 27% from 2006 to 2016 to a total of more than €23 billion and in Tuscany it grew even more, by 41%, to a total of €1.5 billion in 2016 (Eurostat data). This result places Tuscany in eighth place among the Italian regions with the largest increase in investment and sixth in total resources, well above the national average.
With seven state universities and a total of 69 departments, Tuscany is the only region to host all types of universities existing in our country. There are also 43 public research institutions and facilities, including 36 offices of the National Research Council (13% of the main CNR offices), 5 INFN offices, the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (14% of the Italian total), one office of the National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) and one of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV).
12% of Italian publications are produced in Tuscany and 15% of Italian European projects are developed in Tuscany.
Tuscan universities also attract students from all over Italy and the world: there are more than 115,000 students enrolled, of whom more than 35,000 from other regions and 3,000 from abroad. The number of staff involved in teaching and research activities is also significant: in Tuscany, in fact, there are 4,130 researchers and lecturers and 1,530 research fellows.
In order to contribute to the creation and strengthening of common values and objectives, and to enhance the social impact of research, Tuscany strongly supports the right to university study: in our region 100% of those eligible for scholarships for graduation have received the contribution (data referring to the academic year 2012-2013, last period covered by USTAT data). On average, 13-14 thousand grants are awarded each year, the number of accommodation places was 4,706 in 2018 and the resources allocated for the rent contribution reached €1,128 thousand in the 2017/2018 academic year.
Moreover, the Region funds other types of interventions in support of higher education, such as curricular internships, vouchers for master’s degree courses and study abroad and Pegaso doctoral grants (475 grants funded from 2014 to 2019 with more than 27 million euros).
Tuscany also funds the calls for research grants, to direct young researchers towards research topics with application potential: with the call approved in 2017, €5 million were allocated for 192 grants operating on 142 research projects, while with the 2019 “100 researchers for culture” call €4.7 million were allocated for 77 research projects and 111 grants.
There is also considerable support for entrepreneurial initiatives from the world of research, such as Start Cup Toscana, which rewards the best high-tech entrepreneurial initiatives coming from universities and research centres.
In order to promote international exchanges and make the most of the results of the regional research activity, the Region has promoted the creation of Tour4eu, an association that brings together the seven Tuscan universities to promote their interests in Europe.