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Innovative Internet drives collaborative EU-Central Asian research and education

Almaty, Kazakhstan and Cambridge, UK; 10 October 2014: Researchers, academics and students across Central Asia and Europe are set to benefit from the recent capacity upgrade of the Central Asia Research and Education Network (CAREN), celebrated recently at the 1st CAREN Regional Conference (CRNC 2014) in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

CAREN provides a high-performance Internet network dedicated to research and education (R&E), facilitating communication, information exchange and collaboration between over 300 universities and research centres across Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Thanks to its interconnection to the pan-European GÉANT network, CAREN allows seamless collaboration between Central Asia and Europe and provides access to the global R&E community. Jointly funded by the European Union and Central Asian national research and education network (NREN) partners, the project is coordinated by research networking organisation DANTE.

Themed "Innovative Internet for Researchers and Higher Education" and hosted at Turan University, the event brings together practitioners from the Central Asian research and higher education community, policy makers, connectivity providers, ICT vendors and will also draw on the expertise of representatives from other regional networks and organisations, such a GÉANT and its Asian counterpart TEIN. Keynote speakers include, among others, Michael Riggs from UN-APCICT and Saori Imaizumi from the World Bank.

Over the next two days, participants will hear and see first-hand from scientists and academics how CAREN’s high-speed links make a real difference in advancing collaborative research in areas such environmental studies, seismology, telemedicine and preservation of natural and cultural heritage. In addition, presentations will outline how e-learning and remote training opportunities make education and knowledge transfer more accessible.

"We have a dreadful history of seismic disasters. We cannot prevent earthquakes, but we can minimise their effects", commented Dr Bolot Moldobekov, Co-Director of the Central-Asian Institute for Applied Geosciences (CAIAG) and speaker at the conference. "CAREN’s high-speed connectivity allows us to work together with the best people around the world to better understand and prepare for earthquakes."

Since the start of the project in 2009, connectivity costs have fallen, thus allowing link capacities to be upgraded. Increased bandwidth, together with improved network performance will provide an additional boost to R&E collaborations within the region and further afield.

"The development of a high-capacity, yet cost-effective data network for research and education across Asia is high on the EU agenda. We welcome the recent upgrade of the CAREN network as it significantly improves connectivity between Central Asia and Europe and other parts of the world", said Jean-Claude Boidin, Head of Unit, DG Development and Cooperation, European Commission.

CRNC 2014 is organised by the CAREN project and is hosted by the Kazakh National Research and Education Network (KazRENA) in conjunction with Turan University in Almaty. The conference is further supported by the Ministry of Education and the President’s Archives of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

"We are honoured to host the first edition of the CAREN conference. Kazakhstan has very ambitious goals in the field of science and education. International collaboration is of vital importance to our universities and research centres. CAREN is key to the success of such joint endeavours," commented Dr Kanat Ospanov, Director of KazRENA.

About CAREN:

Operational since July 2010, the Central Asia Research and Education Network (CAREN) provides a dedicated high-capacity Internet network, connecting more than half a million scientists and students at over 300 institutions across Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan via the national research and education networks (NRENs). Uzbekistan is a candidate country. CAREN is jointly funded by the European Commission and the beneficiary partners and managed by research networking organisation DANTE. The first phase of the CAREN project was successfully completed in October 2013, establishing CAREN as the regional network for Central Asia. The second phase is underway with the vision to create a sustainable infrastructure that will deliver network connectivity, services and technical support, with long-term benefits for the region’s R&E community. For more information, visit http://caren.dante.net

About GÉANT:

GÉANT is the pan-European research and education network that interconnects Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs). Together we connect over 50 million users at 10,000 institutions across Europe, supporting research in areas such as energy, the environment, space and medicine.

Operating at speeds of up to 500Gbps and reaching over 100 national networks worldwide, GÉANT remains the largest and most advanced research and education network in the world.

Co-funded by the European Commission under the EU’s 7th Research and Development Framework Programme, GÉANT is a flagship e-Infrastructure key to achieving the European Research Area – a seamless and open European space for online research – and assuring world-leading connectivity between Europe and the rest of the world in support of global research collaborations.

The network and associated services comprise the GÉANT project (GN3plus), a collaborative effort comprising 41 project partners: 38 European NRENs, DANTE, TERENA and NORDUnet (representing the 5 Nordic countries), and 30 Open Call project partners. GÉANT is operated by DANTE on behalf of Europe's NRENs. For more information, visit www.geant.net

About KazRENA:

Kazakhstan’s NREN, KazRENA, joined CAREN at the beginning of January 2012. Pioneering IPv6 in Kazakhstan, KazRENA has set up an IPv6 training lab set to become a centre of excellence across the region, serving not only the academic, but also the wider Internet community, including government agencies and commercial providers. For more information, visit www.kazrena.kz

About DANTE:

DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe) is a non-profit organisation established in 1993 that plans, builds and operates large scale, advanced networks for research and education. On behalf of Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), DANTE has built and operates GÉANT, a flagship e-Infrastructure key to achieving the European Research Area.

Working in cooperation with the European Commission and in close partnership with Europe’s NRENs and international networking partners, DANTE remains fundamental to the success of global research collaboration.

DANTE manages research and education (R&E) networking projects serving Europe (GÉANT), the Mediterranean (EUMEDCONNECT), Sub-Saharan Africa (AfricaConnect), Central Asia (CAREN) regions and coordinates Europe-China collaboration (ORIENTplus). DANTE also supports R&E networking organisations in Latin America (RedCLARA), Caribbean (CKLN) and Asia-Pacific (TEIN*CC). For more information, visit www.dante.net

For Media Contact:
Helga Spitaler
Senior Communications Officer
+44 (0)1223 371 342

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