The first step towards establishing a National Research and Education Network (NREN) in Albania was taken at a workshop organised by TERENA. The event took place in the Albanian capital Tirana on 1 December 2005 and was part of a series of activities led by TERENA to provide assistance to the development of research and education networking in less-advanced regions in and around Europe.
The first step towards establishing a National Research and Education Network (NREN) in Albania was taken at a workshop organised by TERENA. The event in the Albanian capital Tirana on 1 December and was part of a series of activities led by TERENA to provide assistance to the development of research and education networking in less-advanced regions in and around Europe. These activities are funded by the European Union as part of the project that also provides funding for GÉANT2, the new pan-European research and education backbone network. The chairman of the project’s Policy Committee, Vasilis Maglaris, was one of the speakers at the workshop, together with Valentino Cavalli from TERENA and Massimo Carboni from the Italian National Research and Education Networking organisation GARR.
Albania has already obtained access to the current pan-European network for research and education, GÉANT, thanks to the European Union’s funding of the SEEREN project, which ended in December 2004 (http://www.seeren.org/). Prominent academic institutions in the country participate in the SEEREN2 project, which started in October 2005 and will connect Albania to GÉANT2.
In spite of this good news coming from abroad, there is no national network dedicated to research and education in Albania. Attempts to create the Academic Network of Albania have been stalled for years, and universities depend on separate connections to the Internet via commercial Internet Service Providers.
The workshop, which was attended by about 30 people representing the major universities and the Academy of Sciences of Albania, was the follow-up of an assessment of the status of research and education networking in the country, which was carried out by a team of experts in the spring of 2005. This assessment led to a report with strategic recommendations, which has been submitted to the Albanian government and other stakeholders in the country as well as to the European Commission.
The participants at the Tirana workshop agreed that it is vital for the country to establish an NREN organisation that is able to represent the whole country in the international research and education networking community, and they laid down a strategy to achieve this goal. They also emphasised the intention of all scientific institutions and universities in the country to talk to the Albanian government in order to obtain the support that is necessary to achieve the level of network service provision that will enable the country to join the European model of research and education networking.
Participants agreed that it is necessary to speak with a single voice to foster the establishment of a single organisation. They also emphasised the urgency of building university networks that are interconnected through a national network, so that teachers, researchers and students will be provided with an advanced infrastructure for collaboration with their peers in Albania and abroad.