The headquarters of the space agency will be in Seville, and the headquarters of artificial intelligence in A Coruña | Sciences

The Council of Ministers chose the city of Seville as the headquarters of Spain’s future space agency, A Coruña, to house the artificial intelligence agency.

This was confirmed by the Minister of Regional Policy and Government Spokesperson, Isabel Rodriguez, at the press conference after the Cabinet meeting on Monday. Thus, the central government had achieved its objective of locating the newly created public bodies outside of Madrid. Both decisions were taken unanimously, the minister’s spokesperson explained today.

Seville was chosen among 21 sites vying to house the new body, which will depend on the Ministry of Science. The candidacy of the capital of Seville, with the support of the Andalusian Junta, offered an “excellent place” worth 6.7 million euros and ceded to the Agency at no cost by the City Council, equipped according to the requirements with a unique and exclusive building already available and suitable for the activity, as indicated in a press release issued For the Ministry of Regional Policy, which was responsible for directing the selection process. The building that will house the new entity is the Business Advanced Resource Center (CREA). In addition, Seville offered four other possible alternative locations.

The important presence of companies in the aviation sector in Andalusia also influenced the decision, with 152 entities across the community, 64 of which are located in the capital itself. Added to this are four universities, 22 research groups and five public institutions linked to space, according to the territory’s policy.

The idea of ​​locating the space agency in Seville got an important boost three years ago, when the city hosted a major meeting of ministers from the ESA’s 22 member states. At that meeting, a historic contribution of €14.4 billion to the budget of this organization was closed, an achievement in which the then Minister of Science, Pedro Duque, played a prominent role.

The constitution of the space agency, which is attached to the ministries of science, which is run by Diana Morant, and defense, which is run by Margarita Robles, is set for the first quarter of 2023. The government also hopes to establish a governing council in that period and complete the process of appointing its director, according to sources in the Ministry of Science.

Seville was the great candidate to house the headquarters of what would be Spain’s NASA. In fact, the Andalusian capital was the first to apply. “As soon as we became aware of the open process, we had no doubts. The mayor of Seville, Antonio Muñoz Martínez, admitted to CincoDías a few days ago that it would cost very little to reactivate the ecosystem already in place in the city in favor of the project.” The mayor recounted how the Andalusian capital has a large part of the work already done, since for years there has been a great public and economic awareness about the importance of strengthening the aviation sector. Proof of this is the presence of the aerospace and defense giant Airbus, with two factories employing more than 3,000 workers in Seville. For its part, Andalucía Aerospace Group issues €2,400 million in invoices and has 14,500 employees.

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The government’s commitment to this balanced distribution of state institutions to end the centralization of public bodies in the capital, Madrid, opened before them an unexpected political front a few months ago. Aragon, headed by Javier Lampan, one of the main barons of the PSOE, and Teruel Existe, among Pedro Sánchez’s most reliable associates, announced in October that they would appeal the Spanish space agency’s positioning requirements in court, understanding this distinction. against uninhabited territories, and thus contrary to the spirit of a just presence throughout the territory of the headquarters of the newly created national entities.

The executive’s decision also represented a setback for Castilla and León, as three towns – the cities of León, Palencia and the town of Cebreros – vied to host the new body. Leon’s candidacy received an important boost last week when the European Space Agency announced its first Spanish astronauts in 30 years, born, raised and educated in this city.

The idea of ​​creating a Spanish space agency is part of the new national security strategy presented in May 2021. The creation of this agency is an old demand of the sector that insists that Spain needs a unique vision regarding the space sector, with an organism that coordinates and gives stability. In 2015, the Ministries of Economy and Competitiveness, as well as Public Works, Defense and Industry, began working on this future space agency as a body that would bring together all competencies in space affairs.

Like Expo 1992.

Today’s mayor of Seville compared the choice of the city as the venue for the 1992 Fair: “Very important news, perhaps we can compare it with the time when we celebrated the 92 World Fair. News that threatens the future and with great responsibility (…) It is clear evidence that when we all come together, Seville achieves its goal.” Muñoz thanked the business sector, the four universities, the Seville Provincial Council and the Andalusian government for their support.

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The Andalusian Council was pleased with the nomination, while regretting that Granada was not chosen as the headquarters of the AI ​​agency. “Happiness could not be complete because Granda had all the requirements. Perhaps there were those who were afraid to give the two places to Andalusia,” said the spokesman for the Andalusian government, Ramon Fernandez Pacheco, about the government’s decision, which was divided between Andalusia and Galicia.

The estimated impact of the HQ appointment predicts that within a decade the turnover of the space industry in the Andalusian capital will rise to 300 million (now 50 million) and that employment will quadruple, from 400 to 1,600 highly qualified jobs according to a report by the International University of Andalusia (UNIA) And Andalucía Aerospace and Andalusian Technology Corporation (CTA).

The Seville City Council plans to set up an office to manage and support the integration of the agency’s staff in the city, in order to meet their needs for housing, school, health center and job search for family members. In short, it is about laying out a red carpet for agency staff to facilitate administrative procedures that bureaucracy often makes difficult, in addition to providing favorable conditions with banks for employees who land in the Andalusian capital.

“Today is a day of history, very important for all of Andalusia. The Spanish Space Agency will be an exceptional boost to our economy, connecting Andalusia with innovation, industry and continuous improvement to help attract investment and generate opportunities. It is a very important step to continue building this space hub that radiates from Seville to the other Andalusian provinces Javier González de Lara, President of the Andalusian Confederation of Entrepreneurs (CEA), also paid tribute.

Artificial intelligence

In September, the Council of Ministers approved the start of procedures for the establishment of the physical headquarters of the future Spanish Agency for the Supervision of Artificial Intelligence (AESIA), which today has been decided to have its headquarters in A Coruña. With this, the government confirmed that Spain would become the first EU country with a state agency to oversee artificial intelligence (AI), taking precedence over the entry into force of the future European AI regulation, which stipulates the need for member states to have supervisory authority in the matter. The creation of a government agency is contemplated in the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence and has a provision of 5 million euros for its implementation in the public budgets for 2022.

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According to the government, the state agency for the supervision of artificial intelligence will have autonomy, independence, its own assets and management powers. It will be essential to ensure compliance with European regulations on artificial intelligence and to oversee the correct interpretation of it. In addition, it aims to raise awareness about the impact of artificial intelligence on society, with the aim of generating confidence in an ecosystem that is respectful and secured in the use of this technology. In this sense, the main task of the agency is to reduce the risks that artificial intelligence can bring in areas such as security, privacy and people’s health, as well as other basic rights.

The appointment as headquarters of the Spanish AI Agency was accepted with ecstasy in the academic and political institutions of La Coruña. The city turned to defend this candidacy headed by the Universidade de la Coruña, which Xunta chose for the first time against those of Santiago and Ourense in a tough process with 200 indicators evaluated.

Among the strengths of the A Coruña project is the fact that its metropolitan area concentrates a large part of the ICT sector in Galicia. A Coruña is the municipality with the largest number of companies in this sector (700) and has 60% of the turnover and more than 45% of the jobs created by the community in the field of new technologies (7,200 jobs). It also has a so-called ICT City, a digital innovation pole that will be built in the old facilities of the historic arms factory. It will house an industrial park, a technology campus, and an artificial intelligence business incubator. Behind the candidacy “There is a job for 30 years”, highlights Amparo Alonso, Professor of Computing and Artificial Intelligence at the University of A Coruña and Coordinator of the ICT City.

Three decades ago, the Faculty of Informatics was founded in La Coruña, an incubator of “talents” on the basis of which “little by little” an “ecosystem” of very powerful technology companies was built, highlights Alonso, who until recently was president of the Spanish Association of Artificial Intelligence. This AI researcher explains that the Coruña region is not only the headquarters for technology-producing companies of various sizes, but also important companies that are “consumers” of these developments, such as the textile giant Inditex.

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