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I have read that a prerequisite to apply for a RTDb (tenure-track assistant professor) position in Italy is to have held a 3-year RTDa position in an Italian university or an equivalent 3-year postdoc position in another country or to already have received a national associate professor habilitation. Is this information accurate? If yes,

  • Must the three years have passed at the time of the application or at the time of the appointment to the position?
  • Does the habilitation have any requirements about the years of postdoctoral experience?

Also, what are the characteristics of a RTDa position in Italy and how do they differ from a postdoctoral contract in other European countries?

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Yes, that is accurate up to my knowledge.

  1. This should be specified in the individual calls, but usually requirements are checked when the applications close: so if you must submit your application until January 31 (for instance), then you also must have 3 years of experience on January 31.

  2. No, there isn't an explicit number of years of postdoctoral experience required for habilitation. However, the committee also evaluates your "scientific maturity" to take on an associate professor position, so they can decide that your experience is not sufficient. I suggest you to take a look at how candidates were evaluated in your sector at the previous deadlines, to get an idea.

  3. RTD-A positions have a fixed duration (3-year positions, renewable once for 2 further years), and they involve some teaching (ca. 60 classroom hours/year, plus a good amount of exams). They are probably better described as a "non-tenure-track junior assistant professor position" rather than as a postdoc.

If you are thinking about applying now, note that you missed the last deadline at https://abilitazione.miur.it/public/agenda.php?sersel=61&&#idx-1 . I guess that new dates will be published soon with minimal changes to the overall system, but now we are waiting from news from the ministry.

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  • Thank you! This answer is very detailed and helpful. If I may ask for a personal opinion, do you think that applying for a RTDa position is worth it (the long-term objective being the RTDb application) or that I should accept a good postdoc offer in another European country (that also happens to include teaching and a good chunk of exams)? – Kei Dec 6 '20 at 14:21
  • The research group and the specific place matter a lot, but I'd say it is comparable to a good postdoc offer. The fact that it is long-term (3+2 years) is a plus, and it will be easier to get a B position once you have a foot in the door. In terms of funding, Italy is a bit worse than Germany/Britain/France/Austria/Scandinavia though. – Federico Poloni Dec 6 '20 at 14:52

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