Research in Italy. We are not

of the Association of Health Researchers

17 JUNDear Director,
we read with interest the proposed agreement on the National Health Research Program (PNRS), published last June 15 by Quotidiano Sanità, ready for discussion in the State-Regions conference. As health research workers, we greatly appreciate the intentions stated in the PNRS including strengthening the transfer into clinical practice of knowledge developed through scientific research, thematic networks, public-private collaboration, internationalization of health research.

We are stunned, however, when we read about the stabilization and enhancement of the human capital of the IRCCS / IZS public research that would have taken place through Law no.205 of 27/12/2017, Article 1 Paragraph 422-434.

Through this law, the following recruitments of research workers with more than 3 years of service at public IRCCS / IZS were made:
● about 1,800 fixed-term workers for 5 years in the Section Area (Research Section);

● no. 0 temporary workers in the Management Area.
● no. 0 permanent workers in the Sub-Fund Area;
● no. 0 permanent workers in the Management Area.

With the Law of 27/12/2017 n.205, Article 1 Paragraph 422-434, and subsequent amendments, a system was in fact created (Research Pyramid) in which IRCCS / IZS research workers can be contracted as employees of the sector area D / Ds level with a fixed term of 5 years with possible renewal without career progression for another 5 years.

The first serious deficiency of the system is that the law establishes that at the end of the ten-year path these workers can be included in the National Health Service (SSN) depending on the economic availability and staff positions but currently there is no organic plant (now called ) of research within the IRCCS / IZS. Therefore, no stabilization with a Research role for workers within the public IRCCS / IZS is possible. We remind you that the range of seniority of service at the public IRCCS / IZS of the first 1800 “pyramid” is 4-40 years, with averages in some Institutes even over 20 years and that a possible recruitment in the Assistance role, for those who have the titles, it would be paradoxical after such an experience in scientific research.

The second major criticality is the placement in the Sector area of ​​all the health research personnel which determines a serious flattening and not an enhancement of the qualifications, skills and duties performed by the personnel involved, defined in the PNRS itself as highly strategic for the system. national health. Furthermore, the contractual item of rewards that could immediately help to make the salary compensation of many professional figures crucial for health research more adequate and attractive is currently limited by a questionable interpretation of a note ARAN which has determined a limitation in access to funds. already available. The total ineffectiveness of the pyramid maneuver for the enhancement of personnel can be quantified with some numbers on the first application of the Pyramid: the share of researchers so far attracted from abroad for recruitment in the Pyramid was 0.056% while it is estimated that the share of ” piramidati ”which has already abandoned the Institutes is on average 10%, with peaks in some institutions of 50%.

With a proactive and collaborative spirit, the Association of Researchers in Health – Italy (ARSI) asks you to take advantage of the precious opportunity for discussion between the State and the Regions on June 22 to open the discussion on five priority points for public health research:
● Management of the IRCCS / IZS research needs that takes into account the human capital of the research currently in place at the Institutes
● Structural funding of the IRCCS / IZS research needs
● Recognition of the doctorate as a preferential title for research tasks in line with what is already happening at the international level
● Meritocratic vertical progression (also in management) for IRCCS / IZS research workers
● Enhancement of human capital through adequate reward systems

Despite the undeniable efforts made so far by the parties involved, the current application of Law 205/2017, Article 1 Paragraph 422-434, in the public IRCCS / IZS appears to be a pyramid truncated in half, a path with no destination for those who have already run a marathon, a “headless monster”. This law is in fact the first, necessary, attempt to regulate work in the field of scientific research in the Public IRCCS / IZS, but its extensive revision is urgently needed. Health research is an integral part of the activities of the NHS, as stated in Law 502 of 1992, and precisely for this reason it is necessary to act now so that serious disparities are not created in the treatment and perspectives of health research workers compared to other NHS workers. .

Health Researchers Association – Italy (ARSI)

June 17, 2021
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