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italian watching from afar

It is very hard to break into the Italian academic system and historically required decades of servitude to the so-called "baroni" (the "barons", or senior professors). This is why so many Italian professors have sought academic careers outside of Italy (in Italian, this is a notorious problem called the "fuga dei cervelli" -- the fleeing/exodus of the brains; see information here on Italian wikipedia: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuga_di_cervelli), and so few foreigners have academic jobs within Italy. Most of the jobs advertised are not truly "open" searches.

Things seem to be changing somewhat now with some of the funding changes made at the EU level that incentivize internationalization, and some Italians with academic positions elsewhere have started returning in the past couple years to permanent positions in Italy (there has been funding from the Italian government to allow for this, which some universities -- I have heard anecdotally -- have even refused due to the changes it would wreak to their usual way of running things). But I just don't know to what extent things have changed enough that someone with no contacts or years in the system can break in (probably the changes of this are very low).

Timmy J

OP here: just wanted to say thanks for both of the responses. These are super helpful!

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