Collaboration between researchers in the Asia-Pacific region and their peers across the globe has been extended by euro18 million investment in the new Tein3 high speed research and education network
The new network is set to initially link eleven countries at speeds of up to 2.5gb/s and run until 2011.
It will enable increased co-operation between researchers in over 4,000 institutions across the region, and underpin global collaboration through links to the European Geant2 network.
The European Union has announced funding of euro12 million, backed by an additional euro6 million from Asian National Research Education Networks (NRENs) Tein3 will be operated by research networking organisation Dante, which also operates Geant2.
Tein3 is planned to initially link China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Australia.
Plans to extend the network to further Asian countries are under consideration.
The new generation of the Tein network is a vital part of the European Union's aim to create a global research community that bridges the digital divide and delivers tangible benefits to the wider world.
Preparations for the tendering of Tein3 have begun, with suppliers already showing a keen interest.
The tender will officially start in late March 2008.
Tein3 extends the success of the existing Tein2 network, which currently links research institutions in ten countries across south east Asia.
Tein2 was launched to help bridge the digital divide and has enabled significant projects in telemedicine, disaster warning and sustainable development since its launch in 2005.
For example, scientists in the Philippines and Germany are working together to predict typhoons, Australian doctors are able to carry out remote consultations on Vietnamese children and medical staff across the region are being trained through e-learning on the latest surgical procedures.
"This significant funding for Tein3 opens a new chapter in research networking for the Asia-Pacific region," commented Dai Davies, managing director, Dante.
"It will enable us to build on the achievements of Tein2 and create an even faster, more comprehensive network that links the researchers of the region to their peers around the world.
"Global challenges such as climate change, sustainable development and medical research require truly global collaboration - Tein3 will help researchers make major progress through working with their international peers".
Tein3 will link to the European Geant2 network, said to be the world's most advanced international research and education network.
Through Geant2's connections, researchers in the region will be able to collaborate with colleagues across other EU-funded networks in Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East, as well in the USA through the Internet2 network, thus creating a truly global research community.
"Since starting to discuss the tender process we've already seen tremendous interest in Tein3 from telecommunications companies and equipment providers," added David West, Tein3 project manager.
"We look forward to working with our partners and suppliers to ensure that Tein3 delivers the capabilities that the region's researchers need now and in the future."