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Spain appoints first Chief Data Officer, vows to promote construction of digital infrastructure

Madrid wants to move from being a technology consumer, to sitting at the decision-making table alongside European partners.

By João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

2 Mins

July 22, 2021 | 12:00 AM BST

Spain appoints first Chief Data Officer, vows to promote construction of digital infrastructure

Alberto Palomo-Lozano

The Spanish Government has appointed its first-ever chief data officer (CDO), in a move that mirrors other countries including France, the UK, the US, and Canada.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation has selected theoretical physics PhD Alberto Palomo-Lozano for the role and has tasked the technologist with the setting up of the Data Office for Spain, under the leadership of the Secretary of State for Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence.

Palomo-Lozano, who has been based in the US for several years but has now moved back to Spain to take to the position, has also been instructed by Madrid to strategise, define and construct the necessary digital frameworks and platforms to ensure data flows across sectors, ensuring privacy and respecting the Spanish people’s digital rights.

Part of his work will be focused on attracting data centre investment into the country to not only grow the country’s data economy but also permit for the storage of digital assets within borders.

The CDO is also expected to represent Spain in the GAIA-X project and launch a GAIA-X hub in the country. GAIA-X is an EU cloud project that seeks to create a “federated data infrastructure of Europe” community by developing common requirements for a European data infrastructure.

Prior to taking to the role of Spain’s CDO, Palomo-Lozano served as the lead data scientist and architect for Avangrid, Iberdrola’s North American subsidiary, since 2016. Before that, he was a senior researcher in AI and deep learning for Huawei.  

Spain has in the last two years seen a resurgence in interest for data centre investment, especially in the regions of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao.

Some of the latest projects include AWS’ US$3 billion public cloud campus in the outskirts of Madrid, Merlin Properties several sites across the country and developments from Equinix and Colt Data Centres.

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João Marques Lima

Founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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