Italy is taking a step forward in enabling the experimentation of technological innovations that are the result of ingenuity and discoveries. Article 36 of Law decree No. 76 dated 16 July 2020 detailing “Urgent measures for digital simplification and innovation” removed existing obstacles. The measure was converted into law, with amendments, by article 1 of Law No. 120 dated 11 September 2020. The novelty is expressed by the words “Sperimentazione Italia”.
Our country invests less in innovation than other European Union countries (European Commission - Country Report Italy 2020). However, there is potential for the development of creativity and innovation in Italy and abroad which must be exploited to a greater extent than what has been done to date. Italy can play a role as an innovation lab at international level to allow the creation and development of technologies capable of bringing economic benefits to the country and improvements in the quality of life of its citizens.
“Sperimentazione Italia” is one of the initiatives of Italy 2025, the strategy for the technological innovation and digitalisation of the country.
The experimentation of innovative initiatives is often prevented or delayed by outdated rules, particularly complex regulations, prohibitions and bureaucratic processes that are not always up to the times. “Sperimentazione Italia”has the goal of opening a simpler and quicker path for projects that have little or no precedent to undergo pilot tests.
The measure grants the possibility for companies, universities, research bodies, university startups and spin-offs (*) from any sector (except excluded areas of application), to test pilot projects in the field of digitalisation and technological innovation, derogating regulatory constraints.
- University spin-off is intended as a company aimed at the financial exploitation of the results of university research, for which the University authorises the participation of its permanent and non-permanent staff, even at the time of establishment and to which it also offers services to facilitate the start-up and initial development. Ref. article 6, paragraph 9, of Law No. 240 dated 30 December 2010.
Information for participation
In the presence of the necessary safety requirements and documentation, those who request authorisation to experiment innovative tools, products and services can access a simplified procedure in order to get the “green light”. To start this procedure, it will be sufficient to submit an application to the Department for Digital transformation and to the Ministry of Economic development, which, after an in-depth review of the application, may authorise the experimentation, defining the relative characteristics and terms.
Below is a summary of the required steps and the subsequent procedural and authorisation stages:
1. Application for experimentation in derogation
The application form for temporary derogation to the regulation must:
- be submitted by certified e-mail address (Pec) to the Department for Digital transformation and the Ministry of Economic development (more information at the bottom of the page);
- specify which in force regulations would prevent the experimentation;
- specify the characteristics of the experimentation in question (e.g. duration, purpose, expected benefits, mitigation measures for potential risks, etc.) by attaching to the application sent by certified e-mail address (Pec) the technical annex with all fields completed (more information at the bottom of the page).
2. Assessment of the application
The Ministry of Economic development, having consulted the Ministry of Infrastructures and transportation regarding any aspects related to roadway traffic safety, reviews the application and prepares an investigation report within 30 days. This contains the proposal for authorisation with the “green light” or the notice of refusal to be addressed to the Department for Digital transformation. The Ministry of Economic development may ask the applicant for clarifications or additional information regarding the application, in which case the 30-day deadline pauses and resumes again when the requested information is received or when the deadline expires. If the requested information is not submitted by the deadline, the application will be deemed as having been rejected.
3. Experimentation authorisation
For all projects that offer concrete and effective aspects of technological innovation, with results that have positive effects on the quality of the environment or life, and concrete chances of success, the Department for Digital transformation, in agreement with the Ministry of Economic development, authorises the experimentation for a duration not exceeding one year and extendable only once. The authorisation also defines how the experimentation shall be carried out and the requirements deemed necessary to limit the associated risks. The authorisation replaces for all intents and purposes all deeds of approval, permits, authorisations, clearances falling within the competence of other state administrations.
4. Experimentation oversight and final report
The Department for Digital transformation, in agreement with the Ministry of Economic development, monitors and verifies the experimentation and analyses the progress of the initiatives, the results achieved and the impacts on the quality of the environment and life. At the end of the experimentation, the applicant submits a report to the Department for Digital transformation and to the Ministry of Economic development presenting the results of the monitoring and experimentation, as well as the economic and social benefits achieved. The Department for Digital transformation certifies whether the initiative promoted by the applicant has been successfully completed and submits an opinion to the President of the Council of Ministers and the Minister responsible for the matter on whether it is appropriate to amend the provisions of the law or regulations in force derogated in the activity being tested.
5. Regulatory initiatives
Within 90 days from the date of the positive certification of the experimentation report, the President of the Council of Ministers, or the delegated Minister, in agreement with the Minister responsible for the matter, will promote the regulations and regulatory initiatives necessary to allow the experimentation activity to be carried out at full capacity.
Excluded areas of application
The regulation excludes the derogation in a number of cases. Under no circumstances may an exception be made to provisions for the protection of health, the environment, cultural heritage and the landscape. The same applies to criminal provisions or the anti-mafia laws, as specified in Legislative Decree No. 159 dated 6 September 2011, nor can binding obligations arising from Italy’s membership with the European Union or international obligations be violated or circumvented.
In addition, it is not possible to perform experimentation in the following fields:
- techno-finance (FinTech) pursuant to article 36 of Law Decree No. 34 dated 30 April 2019, converted, with amendments, into Law No. 58 dated 28 June 2019;
- collection of savings, credit, finance, currency, electronic currency, payment systems, insurance and any other financial services subject to authorisation;
- national security;
- personal data, marital status, electronic identity card;
- electoral and referendum;
- proceedings within the competence of the provincial public security authorities concerning public demonstrations, personal and patrimonial prevention measures, authorisations and other measures with an enabling content, residence, expulsion and expulsion from the national territory of foreigners and citizens of the European Union, or in any case, any other procedure of a preventive nature in matters of public security.