Further reactions on the launch of the EU-funded regional research and education network Black Sea Interconnection (BSI), which links the South Caucasus countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) and connects them to the high bandwidth, world-leading, pan-European GÉANT network that already serves 30 million researchers. This new connection will enable researchers and students to collaborate with their European peers in 40 countries, by sharing large amounts of data over the network, for example.

“Turkey is proud to lead such an important project in such a critical region and also to see the realisation of a regional network among the South Caucasian National Research and Education Networks”, said Prof. Nüket Yetiş, President of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey. “We believe this initial step towards the integration of the whole Black Sea Region to the European scientific community will stimulate collaboration between partner countries and serve as a model for regional development.”

“The BSI project provides the next step forward in collaboration across not just the Black Sea Region but to the global research community,” said Jean-François Bureau, Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy of NATO. “We welcome the introduction of increased network capacity and look forward to working alongside the BSI project to deliver advanced infrastructure to the regional research community.”

Armenian Prime Minister, Mr Tigran Sargsyan, stated, “Our researchers and students have previously found their efforts at collaboration hampered by a lack of high speed connectivity within the region, and vitally to Europe. IT development is the most important task to achieve the Armenian government’s primary goal of the national economy being driven by science and modern technology. The BSI project will provide the infrastructure we need to share knowledge amongst our peers, to enlarge scientific research collaboration and bring new technology and science to Armenia.”

Georgian Vice Prime Minister George Baramidze said, “BSI is the most important step in the last few years to integrate the Georgian research and education community in Europe. It will make it possible for Georgian scientists to run complex applications such as GRID computing and provide access to world-class experiments like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN.”

Azerbaijan Minister of Telecommunication and IT Professor Ali Abasov said, “The BSI project is of crucial importance for our scientific community, which consists of 36 research institutes and 20 universities, whose needs are growing rapidly. BSI is a much needed complementary contribution to our country’s ICT strategy, which is the realisation of President Ilham Aliev’s vision to make ICT the second most important area of our economy, after oil.”

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