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StudioSì - Smart Specialization Fund

L'immagine raffigura alcuni ragazzi all'università


In November 2018, in the framework of Action I.3 of the National Operational Programme (NOP) on Research and Innovation 2014-2020, the Ministry of University and Research (MUR), formerly MIUR, established a "Fund of Funds" of national relevance to support university study activities and increase access to tertiary education in order to increase the number of graduates which in Italy is lower than the OECD average, especially in the 30-34 age group and in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
In addition, the ex-ante evaluation conducted by the European Investment Bank (EIB) revealed a large funding gap. Specifically, in the 2019-2023 period, the student funding applications rejected by the market will be in the order of at least 225 million euro, according to the most conservative scenario, while under a potential scenario, it could reach approximately 610 million euro.

Through the creation of this Fund, called "Studiosì-Smart Specialization Fund", the NOP on Research and Innovation 2014-2020 aims to increase participation in tertiary education pathways, including three-year, single-cycle and master's degree courses in areas consistent with the National Smart Specialization Strategy.

The beneficiaries of the Fund are students from the 8 regions targeted by the NOP on Research and Innovation 2014-2020 (Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Puglia, Sardinia and Sicily) who are attending, or will attend, university and master's degree courses in Italy or abroad. Up to 25% of the resources can be allocated to students from non-target areas, including foreign students, who intend to study in Italy's southern regions, in line with the Programme specifications. Students can apply for up to 50,000 euros and the courses must be completed by 31.12.2025.

The Fund, co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF), is supported under Action I.3 "Tertiary Education in Areas Consistent with the NSSS and its Attractiveness" of the NOP on Research and Innovation 2014-2020 and has an initial budget of 93 million euro.

This financial instrument is managed by EIB that implements it through 2 selected financial intermediaries. The instrument involves the allocation of funds without any personal or third party guarantee obligation, on extremely favourable terms, (interest-free on NOP public resources, 30-month grace period), covering enrolment fees and other study expenses (rent, didactic material, etc.).
The financial intermediaries selected by the EIB are Gruppo Bancario Cooperativo ICCREA and Intesa San Paolo.

Eligible students can submit their funding applications - on the basis of their needs - to only one intermediary, Intesa San Paolo or Gruppo Bancario Cooperativo Iccrea, starting from 1 September 2020.

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You can find all the useful information about the initiative on


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