Italian authorities are finalising a post-event strategy for the site that hosted Milan’s Expo 2015. A technology park will be at its core. Universities, research centres, start-ups, industrial investors and service providers will all be offered a share of the 1 million-square-metre area that hosted the six-month event that wrapped up in October 2015.

“The re-qualification project of the old Expo 2015 area is our most important project,” said Mauro Parolini, minister of trade, tourism and the service sector of Lombardy’s regional government. “We are in the process of investing more than €200m just to equip the area and get it started. We want to set up there research and university space for industrial and service development.”

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A post-Expo strategy has been in the making for months, with the national and regional governments trying to come up with the best solution for a site that welcomed about 21 million visitors in 2015 during the six-month exposition. Its key location remains one of its main selling points, according to Mr Parolini. The area lies on the outskirts of Milan, just next to Fieramilano, one of largest trade fair and exhibition centres in the world, and is well served by a wide web of connections including underground and overground railway services, regional highways and two airports.

The national government has now announced the establishment of the so-called 'Human Technopole', a centre aiming at developing research and best practices in the field of medicine and nutritional sciences with a specific focus on cancers and neurodegenerative diseases – the centre should attract an annual $150m in private and public investment over the next 10 years. At the same time, Lombardy’s regional government is setting aside funds to lure local universities and start-ups into relocating in the area. The local government is also thinking of giving the area a special development zone (SDZ) status with special incentives for investors – the SDZ status should be granted by mid-2016, according to local press reports.