It is not uncommon for end-users from higher education and research communities in some parts of the world to confess ignorance over the existence and or role of a National Research and Education Network in their country.
It is also hardly surprising to learn that some governments and development partners are sitting on pots of money that would be channeled towards NREN activities due to limited knowledge on the existence of the NRENs or mainly due to the ‘why fund an NREN?’ question.
In some countries, NRENs are suffering from stunted growth due to lack of capacity as well as absence of critical information on how to propel themselves to expected levels due to difficulties in convincing stakeholders on the value of operating an NREN.
The scenarios explained above are exactly the challenges and shortfalls the Case for NRENs Portal seeks to address.
The Case for NRENs Portal is a website that contains a pool of information and resources that will help end-users; funders as well as new and emerging NRENs understand the benefits and value of operating an NREN.
For end users as an NREN’s target audience, the Portal contains resources that can help NRENs develop successful business models that depend on offering demand driven services to end user. It also contains user case studies that demonstrate how R&E networks can benefit specific user communities.
For NRENs struggling to source funding from government or development partners, the portal is also of great importance. A dedicated section of the portal has a collection of information that can help NRENs convince development partners and stakeholders to fund their operations and activities. Another section compiles case studies of successful NRENs, which can act as models for new NRENs.
Currently, the Case for NRENs review group, which was formed at TNC 2014 in Dublin has engaged Regional Research and Education Networks to identify new and emerging NRENs or NRENs facing specific problems in their region and direct them to the portal where they are expected to identify the resources that would help them evolve into successful NRENs or address the challenges they are facing.
A review process of the responses from the identified NRENs is expected to be conducted at the end of the first quarter of the year to determine the potency of the portal.