INSTM as a resource for its affiliates

INSTM's value is best measured in its ability to attract financing for its affiliated universities. Indeed, as a non-profit organisation, apart from a small percentage which it keeps to finance its own operative needs, all of the funds that come into INSTM go directly into university research and its affiliates' own human resources and structures, or into other institution-led initiatives. In fact, of the €245 million that INSTM has received since 1992, it has spent just 4% on maintaining its central structure and institutional expenses. All of the remainder has gone to its project partners, with nearly 70% of the total going to affiliated universities as funding for research projects, expenses for their INSTM Reference Centres, financing for research grants and doctorate students, and funds for young researchers.

The sort of funding that its affiliates typically access through INSTM is geared to support interdisciplinary research involving the cooperation of several partners. For reasons already mentioned, it is more difficult to access this sort of help for single universities acting independently of one another. The principal instruments are European funds, which, in recent years, have accounted for approximately half of INSTM's research income. In addition, it has also received financing from two Italian research funds, FIRB and FISB, as well as several instruments for the creation of research networks.

Of the money that has come into the Consortium in the past year, €937,000 was awarded by the Ministry of Universities and Research as an Ordinary Fund for Higher Education (FFO). Although this could be viewed as being 'taken' from INSTM's affiliates, the average per university, at around €20,000, is repaid many times over each year in the form of millions of euros' worth of financing – well in excess of anything they could hope to attract independently. Thus INSTM's affiliates benefit from considerable leverage on the funds contributed to INSTM "on their behalf" by the Ministry of Education.

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