by Dimitri Tartari,
Head of Digital Agenda, Emilia-Romagna Region
The Coordination of the Digital Agenda of Emilia-Romagna (ADER) is pleased to meet you and welcomes you to the ALL DIGITAL Summit 2019, on 10-11 October. As a local partner of the meeting, along with ART-ER, Fondazione Golinelli, Open Group and Lai-momo, we are working to make your stay in Bologna and Emilia Romagna interesting and pleasant.
Besides its great food, famous cars (Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini) and musical tradition (from Giuseppe Verdi to Pavarotti), Emilia Romagna is characterized and well known for its strong orientation towards innovation and export and at the same time for the attention paid to social inclusion and territorial balances.
With 4.4M residents, representing 7.3% of the whole Italian population, Emilia Romagna hosts 9.3% of Italian manufacturing firms, generates over 11% of national R&D spending and 13.6% of Italian exports. Annual GDP per capita at € 33,600 is 16% above the EU28 average.
Digital development has been for over 20 years a regional policy priority and a key contributor to the above achievements.
It started with the creation of the Lepida ultra-broadband public network, which today connects all public sector organisations (from municipalities to schools) and enables private telecom operators to reach rural and other weak regional areas. Other priorities have been and still are the innovation of public services, the support of firms’ digital transformation in all economic sectors and, ever more important, education at all levels and the fight of digital exclusion (with the Pane e Internet project launched 10 years ago).
The Digital Agenda of Emilia-Romagna 2015-2019 (known as ADER) set the ambitious goal of achieving in 2025 a 100% digital Emilia Romagna, in other words a region in which:
- people live, study, have fun and work using technologies, Internet and digital in general, as a normal endeavour
- digital rights are fully satisfied, with zero differences between places, people, businesses and cities in order to ensure an adequate digital ecosystem for all.
ADER translates digital citizenship rights into four concrete axes of intervention: infrastructures, data and services, competences and communities.
A very important recent evolution in this direction is the birth of what we call the Emilia Romagna Data Valley. In June 2019, the proposal coordinated by Cineca (the national university consortium for data processing based in Bologna) was selected by the European Commission for the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking. The EU awarded 120M€ to install a new super-computer in Bologna (to be called Leonardo) that will support high-performance computing projects and infrastructures all across Europe.
To facilitate this development, the regional government approved also in June 2019 the new law “Investments of the Emilia-Romagna Region in the field of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Meteorology and Climate Change”, aimed at further strengthening the position of Bologna and Emilia Romagna at the highest levels of the international scientific community in these areas. The law grants free of charge to the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) and Cineca an area of the Bologna Technopole for the installation of the Leonardo supercomputer. It also supports the establishment of a Big Data for Human Development Foundation between major regional, national, international scientific institutions and companies. This is expected to attract talents and public and private investment in new technologies to make Emilia Romagna a major incubator of new science and new businesses, and the heart of the supercomputing systems of the whole of Europe. This knowledge hub will address great socio-economic challenges, from weather forecasts and climate change to technological innovation related to industry 4.0.
Digital competence and more widespread science and technology education in general are key ingredients for the success of ADER and of the new challenging and fascinating endeavours just mentioned. An important action in this direction is represented by the regional La Carovana STEM project carried out by ART-ER to fight the gender gap in digital education, that will be presented at the Summit.
What ALL DIGITAL is doing for the development of digital competence with its Italian members and across Europe is an essential task and we thank in advance all those who will come to the Summit to share their ideas and experiences. On our side, we are committed to ensuring that digital competence and 21st century skills will be at the heart of the new programming of the regional digital agenda. We believe that they are crucial not only for productivity and economic growth, but also for our cultural development and democracy.
It’s a pleasure to welcome you to Emilia Romagna, and we will try to make your stay in Bologna as pleasant and interesting as possible.