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Italy-U.S. Cooperation on Earth Sciences and Cultural Heritage at the Italian Embassy in Washington.

Italy-U.S. Cooperation on Earth Sciences and Cultural Heritage at the Italian Embassy in Washington.
Italy-U.S. Cooperation on Earth Sciences and Cultural Heritage at the Italian Embassy in Washington.

The study of the Earth system, the impact of climate change, and the development of environmental technologies were the focus of the meeting hosted by the Embassy of Italy in Washington of the Italy-United States working group on Earth Sciences and Cultural Heritage. The group, established in 2013 under the Agreement between the United States and Italy on science and technology, aims to strengthen scientific and technological cooperation on natural hazards, the terrestrial and marine environment, climate, energy, and Earth observations.

The meeting was organized by the two co-chairs, Fabrizia Buongiorno from the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) and Ingrid Verstraeten, PhD, from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), along with the Offices for Science and Technology of the Embassy of Italy and the Department of State. Experts from leading research institutions, agencies, and universities specializing in Earth sciences provided an update on bilateral collaboration and prospects for future projects, following the latest discussion during the Joint U.S.-Italy Commission Meeting on Cooperation in Science and Technology held in Rome in January 2023.

Representatives from INGV, Italian National Research Council (CNR), Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), Italian Institute of Oceanography and Applied Geophysics (OGS), Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change (CMCC), Italian Space Agency (ASI), and Sotacarbo SpA – Sustainable Energy Research Centre for Italy, as well as from USGS, the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and NASA-JPL for the United States, were present.

During the meeting, new strategic initiatives were presented by Alessandro Boero from the Directorate General for Internationalization and Communication of the Italian Ministry of Universities and Research (MUR), Prof. Francesco Corvaro, Italy’s Special Envoy for Climate Change (both via video link), and Sirin Tekinay, PhD, Program Director at the NSF’s Office of International Science and Engineering, who was present at the Embassy.

The discussion during the meeting focused on climate sciences, including the study of oceans and coastal areas, polar sciences, hydrology, and the conservation of cultural heritage; on natural hazards, including volcanoes; on the energy transition with particular reference to green hydrogen; on the applications of Earth observation from space, including joint cooperation on space missions related to biology and geology, and atmospheric contaminants.

The meeting provided a significant opportunity to strengthen bilateral cooperation between government agencies and research institutions of both countries, through discussions on joint projects and increased sharing of data, information, and best practices for understanding and monitoring the Earth system. The numerous networking opportunities also facilitated discussions on education and training through student and researcher exchange programs and provided an opportunity to explore joint funding mechanisms.