Italy's Ministry of Education has set up a commission to combat nepotism in university recruitment.
Letizia Moratti, the Education Minister, announced the commission after Gino Giugni, an expert on employment law, published an open letter declaring that the concorsi - entrance exams for university teachers - are often unfairly pre-determined.
According to newspaper Corriere della Sera, the charges of organised nepotism are confirmed by the fact that very often the number of candidates for a concorso is the same as the number of available posts.
The implication is that the jobs are pre-assigned by a network of academic barons in each field, and that the concorso becomes a mere formality.
Ms Moratti announced that reform of the system would prevent groups of senior academics sitting on exam commissions assigning posts to their proteges, rather than to the most deserving candidates.
The concorsi system underwent a major reform in 1999.