King's College lecturer 'shunned' by alma mater Verona

Federico Formenti

LONDON – An Italian academic, Federico Formenti, who is Senior Lecturer at King’s College London and former Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, has been denied repeatedly a research post at the University of Verona despite winning entry competitions since 2010, as nepotistic ‘baroni’ evidently prefer much less-qualified candidates, education sources say.

 His case epitomises the issue known in Italy as ‘cervelli in fuga’ (human capital flight), regarding the emigration of Italian academic talent to other countries due to the struggle to find work within the Italian higher education system.

 Formenti, with a degree from the University of Verona, a doctorate degree from the University of Manchester and a post-doctorate degree from the University of Oxford, has been trying to return to his hometown of Verona since 2010.

 When asked how he gained his position as Senior Lecturer at King’s College, the academic replied, “well, to be part of the ‘Golden Triangle’ of British universities -- Cambridge, Oxford and London -- you have to have a brilliant C.V.”

 This, however, is evidently not sufficient when applying for the same job in Italy.

 “As lecturers at Oxford, we have the privilege of teaching the best students in the world,” Formenti enthused. When asked, “And what about at the University of Verona?” he hesitated, finally responding, “not anymore.”

 The saga began six years ago when Formenti applied to return to Verona for a research post in Motor Science at the university there. The lecturer claims many colleagues saw this decision as “a set-back in his career,” going from Oxford to Verona, yet Formenti had made up his mind.

 Much to his surprise, the academic recalls, “another candidate was preferred” with a degree in Physics, “but no research doctorate, nor post-doctorate scholarship, nor any teaching experience.”

 Formenti has published works for BBC News, a chapter in the Routledge Handbook and also in the American ‘Natural History’ magazine.

 The selected candidate did boast however an extensive list of published research documents to her name, “most, apart from one or two, she had co-authored with the head of department at the University of Verona -- Federico Schena,” Formenti explained.

 The King’s College Senior Lecturer appealed and won a new entry committee, ensuring that the University of Verona had to re-do their application process and review all candidate profiles.

 Yet, who was the head of the new committee? “The head of the committee was the same Prof. Schena.”

 This time, Dr Formenti went to court in an official protest against the system. Once again, he won. The Council of State urged the University of Verona to once again re-do the application process.

 However, six years down the line, the institution has simply ignored the sentence, blatantly refusing to apply the judgements of the courts.

Watch the video here:



Prof. Federico Schena