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Germany and Italy have concluded an agreement on closer cooperation in the field of meteorology and climatology. Stefan Schnorr, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport, Jennifer Morgan, his counterpart at the Federal Foreign Office, and Armando Varricchio, the Italian ambassador, signed the intergovernmental agreement today in Berlin. In doing so, the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport is implementing one of the planned lighthouse projects in the field of research and science just two months after adopting the German-Italian action plan. The agreement aims to systemically strengthen research and bilateral cooperation in weather and earth observation.

Stefan Schnorr, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport:

Weather phenomena and the effects of climate change do not stop at national borders. Our scientific education and networking activities shouldn’t either. To tackle the challenges of the future, we need well-educated academics and young researchers who think and work globally. A closer German-Italian cooperation on meteorology and earth observation promotes and permanently establishes such networking activities in the academic and research landscapes of our two countries.

The agreement provides a legally binding framework for various projects so that these can be planned and implemented in the long run. With this, Germany and Italy are setting a strong example, not least in their role as host states of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). The goal is to strengthen research in the field of earth observation. The findings gained from this can then also be used by meteorological services in their operations. This helps, for instance, to improve the quality of weather forecasts when it comes to droughts and floods, which are two priority areas. Germany and Italy were particularly affected by these extreme weather events in recent years.

The agreement essentially comprises the following projects:
1. Creation of a joint master’s programme between the Center for Earth System Observation and Computational Analysis (CESOC, a collaborative research scheme between the University of Cologne, the University of Bonn and the Forschungszentrum Jülich) and the University of Bologna. For this purpose, funding is provided to cover additional costs incurring, such as for the extra personnel needed for programme coordination.

2. Establishment of a German-Italian network for further education between the German and Italian higher education institutions, research establishments and weather and climate services (‘Italia – Deutschland science-4-services network in weather and climate’, IDEA-S4S). Funding is provided for doctoral positions, groups of young researchers and research stays. The focus is on droughts and flooding.