What is the organization of the National Research Council of Italy (CNR)? In particular, I'd like to know

  • How does one get a position there? I assume there are public competitions (as for university positions), but I've never seen an announcement: Are they very rare or just not advertised as much?
  • What is the career progression in the CNR? I've seen people being called "Technologist", "Researcher", "Senior Researcher", and "Research Director" within them: What are the differences/seniorities/career progression mechanisms?
  • What are the other differences between an academic career at a university and at a CNR unit? In particular, in terms of teaching load, administrative tasks, and salary?

1 Answer 1


First, CNR is a giant entity with a hundred units, spread across all Italy, and with about eight-nine thousand researchers. It is therefore quite different from a university.

  1. Yes, there are public competitions. All available calls can be found here. These calls are also published, like all public calls in Italy for whatever position, in the Gazzetta Ufficiale 4ª Serie Speciale - Concorsi ed Esami (in Italian).
  2. In principle, technologist and researcher are two different paths. A technologist is a kind of senior technician. However, the distinction between the two paths is frequently fuzzy. For researchers, the career progression is Researcher (equivalent to an Assistant Professor in the university system), Senior Researcher (equivalent to an Associate Professor), and Research Director (equivalent to a Full Professor). For technologists, the career progression is Technologist, Senior Technologist and Technologist Director. You move from one level to another through competitions. These are all permanent positions.
  3. CNR staff does not have any teaching duties, because it's a research only institution. Some researchers, though, are also affiliated to universities (and some CNR units are hosted by universities) and may teach classes. The salary between CNR and universities is about the same. Within CNR, also the salary between technologists and researchers, at equal level, is about the same. You can find details about the gross salary in these tables, which are however quite hard to interpret. The salaries for researchers can be found from p. 3 of the linked document. According to my understanding, the levels (abbreviated Liv. in the document) correspond to the positions: Liv III, Researcher; Liv II, Senior Researcher; Liv I, Research Director. The fascia corresponds to the number of years of employment: one starts from 1ª fascia, then after three years moves to 2ª fascia, after five more years to 3ª fascia and so on (the number of years between each fascia is reported in this page).
  • Thank you! What is the path to get promoted between Researcher, Senior Researcher, and Research Director? Is there a habilitation process (as in the French CNRS)?
    – Kei
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 9:55
  • @Kei As far as I know, there's no habilitation for CNR (unlike in the university). You apply for a progression when CNR opens a position. Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 10:42
  • Thanks! I've also taken a look at the tables, but I couldn't understand much. Could you extract from them the lowest and highest salary (before taxes) for the "Researchers", "Senior Researcher", and "Research Director"?
    – Kei
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 15:44
  • Finally, I'd like to ask you: on average, would you say that the number of positions in the CNR in a given town and in a given research area (within mathematics) is more or less than the number of university positions?
    – Kei
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 15:50
  • @Kei I've edited the answer to add some explanation on the salary. Beware though that that is anyway the gross salary, and the net salary is not easily predictable. The number of university positions is totally independent from that of the CNR positions. Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 16:08

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