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Connecting Jordan to the global scientific community

An EU-funded programme is providing researchers in Jordan with access to academic resources in the region and across the world.

An agreement to connect ‘research and education’ (R&E) resources in Jordan with partner organisations from around the world has been reached with the support of the EU-funded EUMEDCONNECT3 programme. This innovation will provide Jordanian researchers and teachers with access to new technical resources, software applications, educational computing and research data that can only be accessed through a dedicated and specialised research and education network.

The agreement concluded between the Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN) and DAMAMAX, a provider of communication services and broadband solutions, means that the prestigious Talal Abu Ghazaleh University in Amman will be linked up to the GÉANT network in Europe. GÉANT is the pan-European research and education network that interconnects Europe’s National Research and Education Networks (NRENs).

ASREN was founded in 2010 in order to connect existing Arab NRENs with each other and with their counterparts across the globe. The network has been a crucial partner in the EUMEDCONNECT3 programme, which aims to connect R&E communities across the southern and eastern Mediterranean.

Since 2004, the EUMEDCONNECT programmes (there have been three) have provided e-infrastructure dedicated to research and educational use in the Mediterranean region. The success of the very first programme led to further EU funding, with EUMEDCONNECT2 running from 2008 to 2011. This in turn resulted in the formation and establishment of the current EUMEDCONNECT3 programme.

The specific objective of EUMEDCONNECT3, which is set to run until the end of 2014, has been to widen the extent of einfrastructure in both the Mediterranean and neighbouring Gulf region and create a pan-Arab R&E network. This network could potentially serve a population of over 250 million people, ensuring that researchers and academics in the region can continue to participate in world-class research and education activities.

The goals of EUMEDCONNECT3 reflect the fact that scientific research is changing. Individuals and indeed institutes can no longer work in isolation, and nowhere is this more evident that in the EU, where cross-border and multidisciplinary collaboration is now firmly entrenched. This culture of collaboration is now being increasingly expanded beyond the EU’s borders, enabling institutions in all parts of the world to become connected and truly globalised.

For example, the southern and eastern Mediterranean partners of EUMEDCONNECT3 include Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Lebanon. These countries are represented by their NRENs. Other NRENs in the Mediterranean region can also collaborate with EUMEDCONNECT3 partners via their direct GÉANT links.

The EUMEDCONNECT3 project is being coordinated by DANTE, a not-for-profit organisation that also operates regional networking projects in other parts of the world. DANTE is partnered by five European NRENs that border the Mediterranean.

The Commission has contributed over EUR 3 million towards the costs of EUMEDCONNECT3 from its regional European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI South) budget, with the remaining funds provided by the Mediterranean partners. It is envisaged that ASREN will take on responsibility for future research and education e-infrastructure deployment, along with the promotion of collaborative research within the region.

For further information, please visit: EUMEDCONNECT3 http://www.eumedconnect3.net/Pages/Home.aspx