Over 500,000 researchers, academics and students across Central Asia stand to benefit from the launch of the 3rd phase of the EU-funded Central Asia Research and Education Network (CAREN) project which resumes regional R&E connectivity after the previous project phase ended in August 2015.
The contract signing between the European Commission and GÉANT at the end of June was welcomed by the CAREN project partners gathered at the CAREN Executive Committee meeting which took place 4-5 July in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Holding this first project meeting immediately after the signing reflects the urgent need to re-launch the CAREN project as soon as possible.
With 4.5M Euro initial EU co-funding (through its Development Co-operation budgets) the project will run up to 2019. CAREN3 will initially reconnect Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan where the governments have signed bilateral financing agreements with the EC. Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are also eligible to join the project subject to EC approval and similar government financing agreements.
Building on the previous two project phases, a new tender is already underway to re-establish a high-capacity regional network in Central Asia and to maintain and further develop advanced connectivity for R&E communities with counterparts in Europe and in other parts of the world. Existing and future collaborative projects span areas such as environmental monitoring, solar energy, telemedicine, the digitalisation of cultural heritage and e-learning which are to be re-started and further developed.
“CAREN3 opens the door to re-establish R&E collaborations between Central Asia and Europe. I believe the financing commitments secured with the Central Asian governments should strengthen the prospects for long-term project sustainability. Awarding the contract for the third phase of CAREN to GÉANT also reaffirms its role as the EC’s trusted manager of R&E networking projects in this strategically important region”. said David West, CAREN Project Manager, GÉANT.