AbstractThe paper reviews the Italian experience in the evaluation of research in the 2000–2020 period. The initial exercise (VTR 2000–2003) did not involve all researchers and had no impact on funding. After a long political and cultural debate there was a decision to create an independent Agency in charge of a periodic research assessment, involving all researchers, and having impact on performance-based funding. The legislation was approved in 2006 and the Agency was created in 2010–2011. In parallel, a major reform of academic promotion was approved in 2010. The Agency (ANVUR) launched three exercises, two of which have been completed and published (Valutazione della Qualità della Ricerca, or Assessment of Research Quality, VQR 2004–2010 and VQR 2011–2014). It also developed a complete array of quantitative indicators to be used as a threshold for candidates to the academic promotion (Habilitation). The paper offers detailed evidence of the evaluative framework, the main methodological and practical problems and the changes and adaptations introduced over time. It concludes with several policy implications.