Deployment of e-infrastructures for research provides best example of ERA to date, says head of unit

August 7, 2003

Brussels, 06 Aug 2003

In an interview for the CORDIS Greek Member State service, Mario Campolargo, Head of Unit for Research Infrastructures in the Commission's Information Society Directorate General, has explained why he thinks the deployment of an e-infrastructure for research in Europe is the best example to date of progress towards a European Research Area (ERA).

e-infrastructure can be described as a combination of highly integrated technology components, normally deployed in building a dynamic e-business environment. The concept of deploying technologies such as GRIDs (the technology that experts believe to be the next generation of the world wide web) for Europe's research community is consistent, Mr Campolargo believes, with the EU's goal of enhancing cohesion between Member States.

'GRIDs allow us to establish virtual research communities, by bringing together a set of dispersed instruments into a single virtual infrastructure, to foster more effective and productive research,' he said.

Recognition of the benefits of Grid empowered e-infrastructures has already led to the launch of a number of test beds and the funding of 19 projects under the Fifth Framework Programme. Under the Sixth Framework Programme, more than 375 million euro has been allocated to research network technologies.

Mr Campolargo believes that the GRID powered infrastructures are complementary to the traditional methods of researcher mobility, and that sharing results, databases, computer power and instruments can help generate better research and greater cooperation between research communities.

A good example of e-infrastructures facilitating good research and better cooperation is GEANT, a high technology network that connects more than 3,000 universities in 32 European countries. The network has also formed cooperation mechanisms with other regions, which Mr Campolargo says also allows the network to 'operate as a catalyst for international research cooperation.'

Mr Campolargo is confident that once technologies such as GRID and those that power the GEANT network become pervasive and widespread, they will provide an added potential to the electronic infrastructures already deployed in Europe, enabling scientific communities to be linked more easily and with greater transparency. 'They will have seamless, fast, cheap, secure, transparent and controlled access to a myriad of devices and information,' he claimed. To read the interview in full, please visit: iew1.htm

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities

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