Bologna beat competition from three UK cities, Luxembourg, Finland’s Espoo and Iceland’s Akureyri to host the data center of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), an intergovernmental organisation supported by 34 states which provides medium-term weather and climate forecasts, as well as strategic information for both civil use (from aeronautics to geological protection) and national defense.
“This is great news and a huge accomplishment for Italy, Emilia, and Bologna,” Environment Minister Gianluca Galletti said, after the ECMWF Council yesterday announced its decision following a meeting in Reading, 40 miles west of London, where the center is currently based.
The Center employs around 300 staff from more than 30 countries but is no longer able to host and elaborate the huge amount of data.
“By June we will define the technical issues related to the agreement to move the offices to Bologna, which last September was announced as a candidate to host the ECMWF data center at its tech hub under construction. By June we will define the ratification agreement for the move to Bologna and detail all the technical and economic issues,” said the government, which has already earmarked €50 million of 2017 budget resources to set up the data center for weather and climate research.
The Center will be located at the former Manifattura Tabacchi (Tobacco Manufacturing) factory in Bologna, a 9,000-square meter site which could be further expanded. The important international investment will help make Bologna a technological and scientific hub for climate change over the next decades.
The Italian project was selected because it provides “high-level services and logistics infrastructures” at the Technopole of Bologna, which will host the Weather Center and offer “important opportunities of technical and scientific synergies” with other research centers in the country.
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