Geographic Issues

Many geographic issues in research and education networking are related to the digital divide between different countries and regions in and around Europe. Such issues have already been investigated in the SERENATE project. More detailed information from specific countries is now becoming available through the Development Support activity (NA4) in the GN2 project, the annual editions of the TERENA Compendium of National Research and Education Networks in Europe, related studies from regional e-Infrastructure projects and other relevant sources of information.

However, it is important to look beyond these data and investigate matters in more depth. Not only because some figures reported from various sources - like, for example, the TERENA Compendium - may be too optimistic, but mainly because tracing the root of the digital divide is much more demanding than what research and education networking indicators and data figures can reveal.

Recent reports on geographic research and education networking issues (for example, the Varna Statement, the Report from the International Workshop on African Research & Education Networking) and EU-sponsored regional projects that aim to address the digital divide in developing parts of Europe and the world (for example, SEEREN, EUMEDCONNECT, Porta Optica) have hinted that the lagging behind in research and education networking is a by-product of overall national and regional policies and priorities. Thus, if one aspires to improve the research and education networking landscape, then one must address the root of the problem rather than its result. There are sometimes also geographic issues and challenges inside an otherwise well-developed country (for example, for certain regions or scientific communities).

The final goal of the work in the study area on geographic issues is to produce a better measuring approach and understanding of the challenges at hand and how to address them in a more effective way.