What is EUMEDCONNECT3?
EUMEDCONNECT3 is a high-capacity IP-based data-communications network serving the research and education (R&E) community across the Mediterranean. Offering a direct link to GÉANT, its pan-European multi-gigabit counterpart, EUMEDCONNECT3 allows users across North Africa and the Middle East to collaborate with their peers at more than 8,000 R&E establishments in Europe. Via GÉANT’s connections to other regions of the world, EUMEDCONNECT3 provides the Mediterranean with a gateway to global research collaboration.
Launched in September 2011, EUMEDCONNECT3 aims to build on the success of earlier phases: EUMEDCONNECT2, which ran from 2008 to the end of August 2011 and EUMEDCONNECT which created the first regional network for R&E in 2004 under the European Commission’s Euro-Mediterranean Information Society (EUMEDIS) Programme. EUMEDCONNECT pioneered the approach of building regional networks for research and education interconnected with GÉANT, and has thus been ground-breaking for European R&E initiatives to support other world regions such as Latin America (ALICE project) and Asia-Pacific (TEIN3 project).
What are the benefits of EUMEDCONNECT3?
The European Commission is contributing over 3M Euro towards the costs of EUMEDCONNECT3 from its regional European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI South) budget, with the remaining funds being provided by the Mediterranean partners. The project is projected to run to 2014. In the medium term it is planned ASREN will take on responsibility for research and education e-Infrastructure deployment and promoting collaborative research within the region.
Who is involved in EUMEDCONNECT3?
Currently the connected EUMEDCONNECT3 Mediterranean partners are Algeria and Palestine and additional countries in the region including those that were connected in earlier phases are eligible to participate.
The EUMEDCONNECT3 project is coordinated by GÉANT, a not-for-profit organisation that also operates regional networking projects in other parts of the world. Supporting GÉANT in the project are the National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) of Cyprus (CyNet), France (RENATER), Greece (GRNET), Italy (Consortium GARR) and Spain (RedIRIS).
The success of the EUMEDCONNECT2 project led to the establishment of ASREN, the Arab States Research and Education Network, a not for profit organisation intended to take over network management and pro-actively pursue the extension of the backbone to other Arab states.
- Provides high-capacity Internet connectivity for academic and scientific collaborations.
- Links directly to GÉANT, creating a potential user base of more than 40 million.
- Operates at speeds of up to 622Mbps.
- Offers interconnection with the worldwide R&E community via GÉANT to scientists and researchers in the Mediterranean region.
EUMEDCONNECT3 success stories
Saving lives through ground-breaking drug discovery
High-speed networks and the huge data-managing capabilities of distributed (grid) computing were used to accelerate the screening and study of drugs against malaria and avian flu.
Research teams in Italy and Egypt jointly looked for drug-based alternatives to blood transfusion, the principal treatment for the blood disorder thalassaemia to minimise the risk of transmitting diseases.
Facilitating e-learning in medical training
EUMEDCONNECT3 and GÉANT support time-saving and cost-effective medical training across Europe and the Mediterranean. Health professionals can attend virtual training sessions, share best practice, particularly with regard to clinical protocols, and participate in multi-party discussions and scientific workgroup meetings via video-conferencing.
Making education more flexible and accessible
Against the backdrop of limited mobility and a rapidly expanding student population in many Mediterranean countries, ICT-enabled distance learning is fast becoming an accepted method of providing broader access to, and delivering education across, the region. A reliable network connection enables students to enrol ‘virtually’ and attend lectures remotely, overcoming geographical barriers to education.
Contributing to sustainable development in the Mediterranean
The existence of powerful e-infrastructure tools enables scientists in the southern Mediterranean to engage in data-intensive climate research and climate change impact studies and thus to formulate recommendations. These in turn allow policy-makers to respond to global challenges, whilst addressing local concerns.
Supporting grid-based computing applications
EUMEDGRID – the first distributed (grid) computing infrastructure in the region was established thanks to the high-capacity links provided by EUMEDCONNECT3 and its predecessor networks. Various grid applications have since been deployed, including collaborative modelling in water purification studies, bandwidth-hungry climate research, and the computer-intensive reconstruction of the sounds of ancient Mediterranean musical instruments.