Lebanon and Palestine are new members of the global “family” of national research and education networks, NRENs. Also, research and education communities in Jordan will benefit from improved connectivity as a new link through London will offer service to the Eastern Mediterranean region.
The improved connectivity for the Eastern Mediterranean region is the latest extension to a program funded by the European Union. The program – EUMEDCONNECT3 – supports research and education networking in the Mediterranean region. It is run by European NREN association GÉANT in partnership with the regional Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN).
In the project, the partner countries connect to the ASREN Point of Presence (PoP) in Slough, London.
“Advanced connectivity is essential for regional and international interdisciplinary research,” says Dr. Khaled Toukan, Director of the Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Application in the Middle East (SESAME) in Jordan.
The advanced research facility can be used for studying the properties of materials with possible applications in design of pharmaceuticals, probing the structure of DNA, assessing archaeological artefacts, measuring soil pollution, and development of new materials.
“The ASREN connection prepares the ground for SESAME to become the scientific hub in the Middle East and for tackling the data deluge in the years to come,” says Khaled Toukan.
In 2018, the EUMEDCONNECT3 program catalyzed the formation of the Lebanese NREN, TechCARE. While before the establishment of TechCARE, Lebanon’s international research and education connectivity was at 10 Mbps (2016) it is now at 5.26 Gbps.
In Palestine, with support from ASREN and GÉANT, the program is working towards the re-establishment of a local NREN and the development of research and education infrastructures. As a consequence of the program, Palestine is now officially listed as national eduroam operator, and plans are underway for local institutions to join eduGAIN.
Further, EUMEDCONNECT3 provides connectivity to 40 currently running international research projects in the region on agriculture resilience, food and water management, energy research, and refugee protection.
Besides ASREN, GÉANT and the NRENs of Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine, the NRENs of Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy and Spain are actively involved in EUMEDCONNECT3.