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IU, partners lead $3.25M grant to improve data-sharing in Africa, North America and Europe

Oct. 12, 2016

Countless research projects -- including the treatment of HIV-positive patients and solving the problem of parasitic weeds infecting African agriculture -- will benefit from a new networking grant awarded to Indiana University and partners.

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IU will coordinate domestically with Internet2 and the Energy Sciences Network. Thanks to these regional partnerships, the collabroative initiative has the potential to reach research and education communities in more than 80 countries across three continents.

International Networks at IU will co-lead the four-year, $3.25 million Networks for European, American and African Research, grant funded through the U.S. National Science Foundation’s International Research Network Connections program. Jennifer Schopf, director of International Networks at IU, is principal investigator on the award.

This powerful project will provide services and bandwidth connecting researchers in the U.S. with their counterparts in Europe and Africa. In the process, it will support the majority of the NSF-funded research sharing between Africa and the U.S.

GÉANT, which provides support to the European research and education network, is IU's co-lead on the grant. Both will work with the following African regional research and education networks to foster collaboration and speedier science:

  • UbuntuNet Alliance
  • Arab States Research and Education Network
  • West and Central African Research and Education Network
  • South African National Research Network
  • Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa

IU will coordinate domestically with Internet2 and the Energy Sciences Network. Thanks to these regional partnerships, the collabroative initiative has the potential to reach research and education communities in more than 80 countries across three continents.

Networks for European, American and African Research will be transformational to National Science Foundation-funded science, providing the network and the human expertise to make the most of international collaborations and data sharing.

"With her third major international networking grant, Dr. Schopf continues IU's almost 20 years of leading development and operations of the international research networks to Asia, Europe and now Africa. These federal grants are highly competitive, and her leadership with great partners across the world like GÉANT and IU’s renowned Global Research Network Operations Center will again advance the nation, science and the world," said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and professor of information systems in the IU Kelley School of Business.

"We're thrilled to be able to expand our reach and to work with a new community to advance science and collaboration worldwide. IU has an amazing team, and they worked extremely hard to win this award." Schopf said.

Jonathan Dick, chief medical information officer for the Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare is excited about the collaborations the Networks for European, American and African Research grant will support. AMPATH is a partnership between IU, Moi University in Kenya and a consortium of North American universities. The group now treats over 80,000 HIV-positive people across western Kenya and is scaling up services to support primary care and treatment for chronic disease and cancer. In the past year, AMPATH launched a real-time cloud-based electronic medical record at 21 remote clinics.

Dick said that the networking support offered by the Networks for European, American and African Research collaboration will be crucial to improving the lives of thousands of Kenyans. "We are extremely excited about the opportunity to collaborate with IU and to explore how we can leverage connectivity for our health information system to directly improve the care for thousands of Kenyans," he said.

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