Local researchers, academics and medical doctors can benefit from extensive global collaboration opportunities that foster knowledge sharing and capacity development with the launch of European Union (EU) co-funded Asi@Connect Bhutan project on August 21 in Thimphu.
The project enables its regional high capacity and high quality internet network, Trans Eurasia Information Network (TEIN) to connect with Bhutan’s high speed 10 Giga bits per second (Gbps) network Druk Research and Education Network (DrukREN),
The network, TEIN links up research and education (R&E) communities across Asia-Pacific and Europe.
Information and communications minister, Karma Donnen Wangdi, during the event, said the connection will facilitate the participation of researchers in world-class collaborative research projects, such as radio astronomy, telemedicine, and crop research outside Bhutan.
“It will also help support cost-effective and e-learning initiatives, making education more flexible and accessible,” he added.
Moreover, Lyonpo said Bhutan is exploring Telemedicine activities with Telemedicine Development Center of Asia and Kyushu University Hospital in Japan in close collaboration with health ministry, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital and Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences.
“It is for the Bhutanese government to decide what are the priorities and what could be financed by the resources provided by EU,” said Ambassador, EU to Bhutan, Tomasz Kozlowski.
Additionally, he said that the project would contribute to the establishment of direct contact between research and development community in Bhutan from universities and hospitals with research centers in Europe and other Asian countries.
Ambassador Tomasz Kozlowski assured to provide financial and technical assistance to promote and to make use of Asi@Connect project in Bhutan. “Make it really operational; use it as much as possible in the interest of all us and first of all in the interest of the people,” he said.
President of TEIN Cooperation Center, Yong Hwan Chung, said that Bhutan has potential for R&e in areas like economics and climate change crisis adding that Bhutan’s R&D community has been actively working with TEIN partners even when there were no global network connectivity.
The global network connectivity opens window to exchange knowledge and information like telemedicine where medical doctors and experts share experiences and knowledge for epidemic diseases prevention and better public health service.
Similarly, the researchers and institutions could collaborate on a range of subjects in natural science through e-science.
Moreover, a real time data can be exchanged through computing systems for climate change and weather prediction by earth observation.
Additionally, researchers and engineers can discuss to develop and deliver innovative network technologies such as future internet to make the network environment more reliable, compatible and sustainable.
DrukREN was built and is operated by the Department of Information Technology and Telecom, Ministry of information and communications for R&E community.
It provides connectivity to 25 research institutes, colleges under Royal University of Bhutan and Hospitals and has plan to further extend high speed connectivity to all other R&E institutes in the country.
DrukREN has commissioned its global R&E link via National Knowledge Network (NKN) in India with link capacity of 1 Gbps and TEIN, and maintains close relationship with National Startup Resource Center.
DrukREN started as national project funded by Asian Development Bank and was operational in April last year.
The launch also saw a technical session on telemedicine and live streaming of Endoscopy and technical workshop on network management and application.
Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu