The definition and organisation of research at Istat are described in the Three-year programme for thematic and methodologic research:
- the thematic research develops analyses on relevant structural and dynamic issues of the economy, the society and the environment, in order to increase the relevance of collected and disseminated data, and to fully enhance the available information asset;
- the methodologic research in a national statistical institute is aimed at developing methods and statistical techniques to guarantee the ongoing improving of production processes, so that the produced statistical information is compliant with quality requirements, such as accuracy, timeliness, relevance and low costs.
A Research Committee has been set up to coordinate, steer and control the coherence and uniformity of research activities.
Moreover, there are three key tools to develop research areas:
- Thematic Research Laboratories– one devoted to economic and environmental research, the other to demographic and social research – are aimed at promoting and coordinating a structured research activity programme to improve the quality of scientific publications and contributions to Istat flagships.
Thematic research areas
- The Italian economic low growth rate: causes, consequences and policy
- The production system: selective effects of competition
- Labour market: trends and transitions
- Structure and dynamics of population and households: emerging models and continuity of behaviours
- Social change, behaviours, cohesion and exclusion
- Economic and social aspects of inequality and poverty
- Health conditions, survival and access to health care
- Equity and sustainability of wellbeing
- Environment, territory and networks: anthropic pressures, climate changes, territorial specialisations, sustainable development
- The Advisory committee on statistical methods guarantees that the submitted projects have the required characteristics of quality, coherence and conformity with the current state of research at the international level, through refereeing and tutoring activities. Furthermore, it suggests and conducts training activities.
Methodological research areas
- Definition of information needs (includes user needs analysis and user segmentation)
- Sampling methods
- Data collection methods
- Data integration methods
- Data classification and coding
- Editing and imputation of partial non-responses and measurement errors
- Treatment of total non-responses and weighting
- Estimators and inference
- Complex indicators (indices, rates, seasonally adjusted data,…)
- Data analysis and documentation of statistical output
- Methods for data disclosure
- Data dissemination tools and services (open data, remote access, tools for data visualisation,…)
- Methods for metadata management and modelling
- Methods for data and products quality
- Design of statistical processes
- Methods and tools standardisation
- Dissemination and promotion of statistical literacy
Priority areas of research
- Continuous census
- Big data
- Unique process
- The Laboratory for innovation offers the opportunity to devote time to research and to the development of innovative projects; moreover, it makes available infrastructures useful to test the innovative ideas in a dedicated space.