Research and development in Italy

Luigi Rossi Bernardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This examination of the current state of affairs in Italian scientific and technological research begins with a review of the international terminology of research and development (basic research, applied research, experimental development) as well as the definitions of some principal spending categories (total spending, appropriations). This is followed by a deeper look at the structural weaknesses in the European, and more specifically Italian, industrial systems. Factors restraining the growth of research activity in Italy include the relatively small size of firms (some 25 per cent of Europe's small and medium-sized firms are Italian), the low technological intensity of the country's most mature and most export-oriented economic sectors, and insufficient levels of investment (half of all research investment is public). This, moreover, in the face of higher rates of investment by the United States and Japan and higher average spending on innovation among member states of the European Union. There follows an analysis of the response of the European Union, including the creation of "key technological platforms" at European level, and of the measures Italy has taken, or is committed to taking, in accordance with the "National Research Programme 2005-2007" (NRP). Recent Italian measures to enhance competitiveness and innovation include the institution of a network of technology districts, the internationalization of research programmes, and twelve strategic projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-439
Number of pages23
JournalReview of Economic Conditions in Italy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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