Brussels, 23 Oct 2002
A project consortium funded by the European Commission is to carry out a study (SERENATE) into European research and education networking as targeted by eEurope.
The initiative will investigate strategic aspects of 'superfast' research network technologies in 14 interlinked work items, with each item leading to a public report. Such networks allow educational and research institutions to share and access dispersed data at high speeds, and are at the forefront of technological development. Members of the consortium include the Academia Europaea and the European Science Foundation.
Specifically, studies will focus on technical, organisational and financial issues, market conditions and the regulatory environment. A workshop will look at operators' views on infrastructure and likely evolution, an investigation of priorities and the needs of the European research community will be made, and scenarios for timing and costing of European infrastructure at international, national and local level will be discussed.
The project is being funded under the information society technologies (IST) section of the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5), and hopes to provide policy makers, investors and managers of research networks with a set of recommendations that will enable them to devise policies for further development in the field.
Research networks have been described by Erkki Liikanen, Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society, as a 'driver for innovation', as they bring together researchers from all regions of Europe. One such network, GÉANT, is co-funded by the Commission and has so far interlinked some 32 European nations. Its connectivity with equivalent networks in other world regions enables further research cooperation.
Mr Liikanen sees this technology as a key tool in the creation of the European Research Area, and EU funding for research networks is expected to double under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). The studies undertaken by SERENATE team should help to provide the necessary framework for development of research network technologies in Europe.