The Italian National Research Council (CNR) was established as an institution in 1923 to represent Italy at the International Research Council in Brussels. It was transformed, by Decree No. 82 of March 1945, into a government body with legal personality under the direct responsibility of the Council of Ministers Department which, in 1979, delegated its powers of management and supervision to the Minister for Scientific and Technological Research. Since 1989, the Ministry for University and Scientific Research has been responsible for the supervision of CNR with regard to its scientific, organizational, financial and accounting autonomy.
The National Research Councils main objective is to promote and regulate research in Italy in order to advance the countrys scientific and technological progress. Its activities include research and consulting. It contracts out research work and provides grants for specific studies, research projects and scientific missions. It awards scholarships on the basis of examinations it organises, including trainee research scholarships, scholarships for Italian undergraduates and research scholarships for foreigners. CNR is an independent institution and carries out its activities through its Governing Bodies (the President, the General Director, the Executive Council, the Administrative Board), Advisory Bodies (15 National Advisory Committees and the Plenary Assembly of the National Advisory Committees) and Supervisory Bodies (the Auditors Committee responsible for auditing its financial and accounting management).
CNR has an annual budget of approximately 1.500 billion Italian lire
and employs 7.000 staff, of whom 4.000 are research workers and
technicians working in 292 Research Centres throughout Italy (Research Areas, Institutes
and Research Centres).