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Not the Hub They Wanted

A planned research hub in Italy is drawing criticism, ScienceInsider reports.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi recently described a plan for a Milan-based Human Technopole Italy 2040 (HT) that was developed by Italian Institute of Technology. The HT would be situated at the site of the former Expo 2015 in northwest Milan and include seven IIT-run centers — for medical genomics, agriculture and food science, big-data analysis, and nanoscience — that would receive €1.5 billion during the course of the next 10 years, ScienceInsider adds.

While researchers commend the additional research funding, some say that the hub's development process wasn't transparent and that its establishment would likely only benefit researchers with good connections.

"An investment of this magnitude should involve the scientific community, not just a small number of people," Giorgio Parisi from the University of Rome La Sapienza tells ScienceInsider.

However, supporters like Umberto Veronesi, who helped create the plan, say that it will help Italian science. He writes in La Repubblica that it "represents the best opportunity for medical, scientific and civil progress in Italy since the Second World War."

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