April 28, 2011
Press release about European Commission Central and Eastern European Networking Engine (CEENGINE) project.

Vienna, Amsterdam, Tbilisi, April 28th, 2011

A small project with great consequences

The continuing commitment of the Central and Eastern European Networking Association (CEENet) to animating Eastern European and Central Asian NRENs is now enhanced by the CEENGINE (Central and Eastern European Networking Engine) project, funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme.
Started on July 2010, this three-year long enterprise will build on the past successes of CEENet in re-enforcing and stimulating CEENet activities related to the creation, incubation and development of National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe and in Central Asia.
With Commission support, the Association will engage more intensively and aggressively in the current and ongoing development of these NRENs towards GÉANT3 – the European research and education backbone network.
The development of an NREN is a complex process involving players with different visions and goals. The objective of CEENGINE is to benchmark the current state of NREN development in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. CEENGINE coordinates ongoing activities in order to strengthen the position of NRENs in the region and includes R&D support, staff training, cross-border connections and political support.
CEENet activities have proven very effective in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and CEENGINE will evaluate the possibility of extending CEENet support to other less-developed regions (such as Sub-Saharan Africa).
An important factor in the success of CEENGINE is the close cooperation and synergy with GÉANT3 and TERENA.
"CEENet's experience in this region is a valuable asset, which can help us to strengthen our links to local NRENs", said Vasilis Maglaris, the Chairman of the National Research & Education Networks Policy Committee (NREN PC) of the GÉANT3 project. “We are happy to see that the European Commission rewards such activities and we are looking forward to feedback from this region".
„TERENA has been supporting emerging communities in southeast Europe for several years, building on the strength of its work with TERENA member organisations. CEENet has developed solid competence in the Eastern European region and its NRENs, based on their twenty-year long support for academic networking there”, said Karel Vietch, Secretary General of TERENA.„There is synergy between the Networking Development Support activities of TERENA and CEENet. One of these collaboration events will take place in a joint Policy Workshop on E-Infrastructures in Eastern Europe on 7-8 November 2011 in Bucharest. We believe that this event will have a beneficial impact on the region and are looking forward to it”.
Prof. Andrey S. Mendkovich, Chairman of CEENet, has confidence in the project. „This is a great honour and a great opportunity„, he says. „We have a chance of a major boost of our activities the region. This is a small project with great consequences”.
CEENet is not-for-profit association, registered in 1994 in Austria, with twenty-two members from Eastern Europe and Central Asia. CEENet co-operated with Virtual Silk Highway project, which provided satellite connections to ensure a high-speed and high-capacity Internet connection to GÉANT for the South Caucasus and Central Asia. The SILK project has been replaced by another project supported by CEENet, called „Porta Optica”, which assessed and verified the readiness of NRENs for broadband connectivity – and also by the Black Sea Interconnection (BSI) project, which finally connected the Southern Caucasus countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia) to GÉANT3 using optical links.
The CEENGINE project is coordinated by the CEENet, which is the only partner.

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