Nobel Physics Prize winner says Italy research underfunded

Rome (AFP) –

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Italian Giorgio Parisi, winner of the 2021 Nobel Physics Prize, slammed Friday the lack of funding for research in Italy, saying it invested one of the lowest amounts in Europe.

"Research is underfunded and the situation has worsened over the past 10-15 years," he told a press conference with the foreign press in Rome.

"I was pleased to see that Mario Draghi's government is committed to increasing the research budget, we are at the bottom (of the list of funding amounts)" in the European Union, he said.

Research Minister Cristina Messa promised six billion euros in funding for 60 projects on Thursday, including five billion this year.

According to 2019 data from Eurostat, Italy spent 1.45 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on research, while the EU average is 2.19 percent. It lags far behind Germany, which spends 3.17 percent.

"Italy is not a welcoming country for researchers, whether Italian or foreign," said Parisi, who on Tuesday won the prize along with two other scientists, Japanese-American scientist Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselmann of Germany.

"Research is like a vegetable garden, if you think you can water it every fortnight, things will go wrong," he said.