NUANCE – October 2014

UbuntuNet-Connect 2014 promises to unearth growth in innovations

All roads lead to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia where UbuntuNet-Connect 2014 will be held from 13-14 November 2014. According to the CEO of UbuntuNet Alliance,  Eng. Dr Francis (Tusu) Tusubira, the country is ready to host UbuntuNet-Connect 2014.

“Everything is in place for UbuntuNet-Connect 2014. We received an overwhelming response from potential speakers and have made our selection. This year’s UbuntuNet-Connect conference gains its uniqueness from the fact that we are unearthing innovation from all corners of Africa,” said Dr Tusubira.

“In response to the global threat of Ebola and the role of collaborative research and education in addressing it, the Ebola Symposium has been organised for the purpose of demonstrating the untapped power of research and education networks, and how researchers and clinicians can use the networks in promoting public health and fighting infectious diseases such as Ebola,” adds Dr  Tusubira.

On the social side of the conference Dr Tusu states, “UbuntuNet-Connect 2014 is expected to offer  a rich cultural experience to adventurous conference participants as the country is home to one of the seven  natural wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls. UbuntuNet-Connect 2014 will also treat participants to a memorable African Night organized by the host, Zambia Research and Education Network (ZAMREN). Let us Connect! Let us Connect!”

Register for UbuntuNet-Connect 2014 here.

17 Network Engineers scoop UbuntuNet-Connect 2014 fellowships

UbuntuNet Alliance this month announced names of 17 Network Engineers from member National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) awarded travel fellowships to attend a five-day Network Engineering Training of Trainers Workshop slated for 8-12 November 2014, ahead of the UbuntuNet-Connect 2014 in Lusaka. The engineers were selected for successfully imparting their skills to other up-and-coming network engineers in their respective countries after being trained themselves.

One of the awardees, Lino Khalau of the Mozambique Research and Education Network (MoRENet) says that he is ready to multiply the skills and knowledge gained from network engineer’s training that he previously received through the Alliance.

“I hope with the workshop to be able to help provide sustainable technical assistance to support the rapid construction of current research and education networks.  I also hope to assist the UbuntuNet Alliance community to create training teams, establish laboratories training curricula and assist with the establishment of international partnerships in research and education using the new networks,” says Khalau.

This year’s Network Engineering Training of Trainers is a product of a multi-partner capacity building programme being implemented by UbuntuNet Alliance with the aim of building a critical mass of experienced engineers to manage the UbuntuNet network. A successful similar one was held last year at UbuntuNet-Connect 2013 in Kigali, Rwanda. The partners are AfricaConnect Project, the International Network for Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP) and Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC).

In addition to training of Trainers, other capacity building activities under the programme have been in the form of Campus Network Design Workshops, Direct Engineering Assistance and participation in Africa Network Operators Group (AfNOG) trainings. UbuntuNet Alliance is grateful to the partners for the support.

Access the full list of awardees here.

RENU builds resilience for increased medical collaboration on networks

The Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) in Uganda and a new Bio-informatics Centre are among the research projects set to benefit from a service agreement between The Network and System Engineers/Administrators of member institutions from Research and Education Network for Uganda (RENU) and C-Squared to access capacity of their fiber infrastructure at reduced  rates.

Uganda’s JCRC is involved in collaborative HIV and AIDS research while the Bio-informatics Centre will be mainly involved in collaborative Genomic Research. C-Squared is a Uganda-based wholly owned subsidiary of Google that was incorporated in Uganda as a public infrastructure provider (PIP).

“In principle this agreement means that RENU member institutions that have sites or campuses in the Kampala, Entebbe, Wakiso metropolitan area can be linked to RENU PoPs that are located in Kampala via fibre links provided by C-Squared,” says Isaac Kasana, CEO of RENU, Uganda’s NREN.

Ugandan researchers will also benefit from increased resilience that will support future local traffic. The design of the C-squared metropolitan fiber network incorporates high redundancy thus ensuring maximum availability to institutions. The Agreement is set to last for 10 years and caters for linking member institutions to RENU PoPs initially at 1Gbps, with potential for upgrades to higher capacities.

DANTE and TERENA join forces to become the GÉANT Association

In response to the community of Europe’s national research and education networking organisations’ (NRENs’) wishes, the GÉANT Association has been formed by re-organising TERENA and DANTE under a unified governance structure. The membership of TERENA and the shareholders of DANTE voted to proceed during meetings held in Berlin on 7 October. This restructuring marks a new phase in almost thirty years of collaborative research and education networking in Europe.

Pierre Bruyère, Director of Belnet, the Belgian national research and education networking organisation (NREN), was appointed as Chair of the interim board of the GÉANT Association following three years as president of TERENA. He says: “The GÉANT Association is the leading collaboration on network and related infrastructure and services for the benefit of research and education, contributing to Europe’s economic growth and competitiveness.”

The new Interim CEO of the GÉANT Association has been named as Bob Day, Executive Director of Janet, the United Kingdom’s NREN. The association’s board asked him, as he steps down as chair of DANTE, to take on this new role during the period of transition and integration. He says: “The restructuring will create a vehicle to coordinate the community’s approach to the European Commission’s Horizon2020 Programme”.

Valentino Cavalli, long-term Acting Secretary General of TERENA agrees: “The main benefits will be simplified governance, more efficient management, more flexible use of resources and a more inclusive membership for the association.”

There will be no service disruption while the process of integration is completed; in fact this will have a positive impact on how we serve our members and in our relationships with partners and the user community,” says Niels Hersoug and Matthew Scott, the joint General Managers of DANTE. “Indeed we see this as strengthening the European research and education networking community as a whole.” Read more.

NUANCE celebrates Cathrin Stover

In October NUANCE is celebrating Cathrin Stover as a digital woman who has inspired many in research and education networks across the planet. The Chief International Relations and Communications Officer at DANTE and well respected Project Manager and partner with UbuntuNet Alliance in implementing the AfricaConnect project was this month listed  one of the finalists in the Digital Woman of the Year Award, European category.

So who is Cathrin Stover? Here is a brief bio of Cathrin as presented by the Digital Woman Awards page:

Cathrin Stover joined DANTE in 1997, after studying a degree in International Business. She had stumbled upon an advert in the Guardian which said: “Not for profit organisation, cutting edge Internet technology, looking for a new member of staff with an international profile.”

During the interview Cathrin realised she was more than a little out of her depth. DANTE had 11 employees and was much like a typical internet start-up at the time, albeit in the not-for-profit sector. Their goal was ambitious – to organise and operate a European research and education networking infrastructure. Excited by the challenge and the potential benefits this network could bring to society, she famously stated: “I can learn that” and got the job on the spot.

Among many global accomplishments, Cathrin is project manager of the DEVCO funded AfricaConnect project which builds the first ever telecommunications infrastructure crossing borders in the African continent, and she plays a leading role in the GÉANT project, a collaboration between 41 European partners. GÉANT plays a crucial part in the European Commission’s Excellent Science: e-infrastructures program with a vital role to ensure Horizon 2020 project participants are able to collaborate, share and access data, discuss and learn together, and test their innovations across the network unimpeded. Regardless of the outcome of the Digital Woman Awards, Cathrin Stover remains the most admired woman in the research and education networking (REN) arena. Her work in AfricaConnect Project will forever impact future African generations for the better.The results of the of Digital Women Awards will be announced in November.

Workshop on Scientific Applications for the Internet of Things at ICTP

The Telecommunications/ICT4D Laboratory (T/ICT4D) of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP, Trieste, Italy) is organizing a Workshop on Scientific Applications for the Internet of Things (IoT) to be held at the ICTP, Trieste, Italy, from 16 to 27 March 2015. This Workshop is co-sponsored by the International Telecommunications Union, Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D), by the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) based at the University of Oregon, and by the NetworkTheWorld Foundation.

Topics will include: IoT Architecture and Technologies, Low Power Wireless Communications, Sensor Technology, IPv6 among others.

Scientists and students from all countries that are members of the United Nations, UNESCO or International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) may attend this Workshop. As it will be conducted in English, participants should have an adequate working knowledge of this language. Although the main purpose of the Centre is to help research workers from developing countries, through a programme of training activities within a framework of international cooperation, students and postdoctoral scientists from developed countries are also welcome to attend.

As a rule, travel and subsistence expenses of the participants should be borne by their home institution. Every effort should be made by candidates to secure support for their fare (or at least half-fare). However, limited funds are available for some participants, who are nationals of, and working in, a developing country. Such support is available only for those who attend the entire activity. There is no registration fee. For further information and to apply, click here.

UbuntuNet Alliance management visits DANTE

Pic: Dr Pascal Hoba, incoming CEO of the Allliance  and Cathrin Stover of DANTE at the GEANT network operation centre watching big screens
The picture shows Dr Pascal Hoba, incoming CEO of the Alliance and Cathrin Stover of DANTE watching the big screens at the GEANT network operations center.

UbuntuNet Alliance Management visited DANTE offices in Cambridge, UK on 14-15 October 2014 to discuss the AfricaConnect project, the Project that is implementing the UbuntuNet as the project winds up.

The AfricaConnect projects has yielded amiable results in lowering connectivity costs for countries in the region like Zambia and Uganda since it started in 2011.

CEO of the Alliance Eng Dr Francis Tusubira was accompanied by the incoming CEO of the Alliance Dr Pascal Hoba and Finance and Administration Manager, Tiwonge Msulira Banda as they met their counterparts at DANTE, the joint General Managers, Niels Hersoug and Mathew Scott; AfricaConnect Project Manager, Cathrin Stover; Chief Finance Officer, David Wrathmall; Project Accountant, Munya Shawe; Senior International Relations Officer, Thomas Fryer; and Procurement Consultant, Phil Matthews.

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