Home > Activities > Departments


University Departments of Excellence

The Law no. 232/2016 establishes a special section of the Funding Fund of state universities called “Fund for the financing of university departments of excellence”, with an allocation of 271 million euro starting from 2018, to be distributed among the Departments of the state universities that excel at quality of research and at scientific, organizational and teaching planning.

The selection of “Departments of excellence” is based on a two-step procedure. First, as mandated by paragraph 319 of the Law, ANVUR ranks Italian State Universities’ Departments on the basis of the indicator called “Standardised indicator of departmental performance” (Indicatore  Standardizzato di Performance Dipartiemntale – ISPD), which is computed using VQR 2011-2014 results and takes into account the position of the Departments in the national distribution.

The Departments placed in the first 350 positions of the aforementioned ranking, can apply for funding and can access the second part of selection.

Some limits in the number of applications for each State university are fixed by law. Each university can apply with a maximum of 15 departments (paragraph 322). The number of Departments that can be financed in each scientific field is also defined in the Annex of the Ministerial Decree no. 262/2017.

The second step of selection aims at identifying 180 “Departments of excellence” out of 350 and is carried out by an Evaluation Committee, appointed by the Ministry of Education. The applicant Departments are asked to present a departmental project. The Evaluation Committee acts in two phases:

  • in the first phase, the Commission evaluates the projects presented by the Departments which obtained the highest ISPD in each university (indicated with “Yes” in the “Fase 1” column of the linked table, and assigns a score between 1 and 30 on grounds of consistency and feasibility. In case of a tie, the order takes into account the score assigned to the feasibility and, subsequently, the ISPD score. Departments are eligible for funding with a score of 15 at least.
  • In the second phase, the remaining projects are examined and are assigned a score between 1 and 100, of which at most 70 points according to the ISPD and a maximum of 30 points according to the criteria of consistency and feasibility. In case of a tie, the total score assigned to the project is taken into account and, subsequently, the score related to the feasibility.

The list of the 180 “Departments of excellence” is available here.