Permanent… No, wait. In 2009. If. December 7, 2007Posted by dorigo in news, personal, physics, politics, science.
The italian way. How else to define the regularization process that is going to take place inside INFN in the forthcoming months ?
INFN suffered in the past four years from a blockade of the hiring process of new personnel with permanent positions. People who had won a selection to become a researcher, a technician, or an accountant were put in stand-by, in a kind of limbo. There simply were no funds to hire the new personnel. Berlusconi’s government had cut funds to research and the result was a total freezing of the institute.
At the end of 2005, something started moving again. A big selection of national scope was called for researcher positions. In particle physics, 25 people were selected with a tough exam in Rome -among them, yours truly. They were hired with a 5-year contract and the promise that the position would become permanent without the need of passing a further selection. So these were temporary positions which would become permanent. Indeed, one year after the selection, the new government now led by Prodi’s center-left coalition gave more funds to INFN, and the institute started a procedure to “stabilize” the selection winners, i.e. hire them permanently: but, to make things just a bit more interesting, they inserted the clause that they had to total three years of service before being eligible.
Now, italian bureaucracy is a perfect case study for Murphy’s law: anything that can go wrong usually will. So the new procedure started by INFN looked to the eyes of the least gullible observers like a necessary but by no means sufficient step toward the coveted permanent position. After a few more months, it now transpires that INFN has more funds than they expected to a few months ago. They could make the winners of the 2005 selection permanent, but this could be seen as a undue favor to few. The outsiders -those who did not win the 2005 selection, or who were distracted by other obligations then, would question the procedure, having no chance to get hired themselves.
So instead, what will INFN choose to do ? They will call a new selection for immediate hiring of permanent researchers, and give a large bonus in points to the winners of the 2005 selection. These poor souls, once assured that they would never have to pass a selection to get a permanent position, have to get on theory books again, and pass yet one more exam. Or, they could abstain from participating, in the faith that INFN already promised to hire them permanently upon completing three years of service…
Nobody will choose the second course of action, for fear that INFN changes rules yet over again, or that funds disappear, that Prodi’s government falls and the new premier votes some law freezing INFN hiring again. So that proves that really, life is a continuous exam… And it also shows that Italy is a really funny country.