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Preview of Investing in Networking and Human Expertise in Support of African Science Session at 2018 Global Summit

Apr 24, 2018, by Sara Aly
Tags: 2018 Internet2 Global Summit, African Research and Education Community, European Research and Education Community, Frontpage News, International Community, International Partners, North American Research and Education Community, Research & Education Networks

By Julio Ibarra (Florida International University), Boubakar Barry (WACREN), Omo Oaiya (WACREN), Edward Moynihan (Indiana University), Salem Alagtash (ASREN), Dale Smith (University of Oregon), and Thomas Fryer (GÉANT)

Supporting research and scholarship is a shared vision of research and education (R&E) networking communities all over the world. Across continents, researchers need to collaborate with their international colleagues and access large volumes of sensitive data quickly as they tackle complex research questions.

The arrival of undersea cables along the coasts of Africa over the last decade, combined with increased investment in national fiber backbones, has expedited the development of national research and education networks (NRENs) across the African continent.

Thanks to major commitments and efforts made by universities, NRENs, and Regional RENs throughout Africa, there are now over fifteen NRENs connected to the global research and education infrastructure and a dozen more in an advanced planning stage.

To compliment these efforts, recent investments have also been made by governments and NGOs around the world to provide continuing support for the development of research and education networks and services across Africa. The US National Science Foundation’s International Research Network Connections (IRNC) program and GÉANT’s AfricaConnect2 project are coordinating and working together with Regional and National RENs in Africa to improve connectivity, provide targeted training opportunities, and increase application engagement.

At the upcoming Internet2 Global Summit, African regional REN partners (ASREN, Ubuntunet Alliance, and WACREN), along with representatives from the IRNC program (Indiana University, Florida International University, and the Network Startup Resource Center) and GÉANT, will come together to discuss current infrastructure, lessons learned from human capacity building workshops, and ongoing efforts to engage international research collaborations working in Africa.

The session will highlight some of the challenges African NRENs and researchers working in Africa face, and explore how the global R&E networking community can continue joint efforts to address these challenges effectively and efficiently.

We encourage Global Summit attendees with programs or researchers in Africa, or those interested in learning more about recent developments in the region, to join us for this discussion on strengthening and supporting NRENs and research in Africa. For those attendees interested in learning even more about NRENs in Africa, we also encourage you to join the Africa Special Interest Group session where representatives from African RENs will come together to share their experiences and discuss avenues for improvement and sustainability.

We hope you’ll join us.