Friday, December 01, 2006

UNESCO and HP Launch Grid Computing Project To Counter Brain Drain In Africa

African scientists will be able to connect up with fellow researchers who have moved overseas through a 'grid computing' project. Grid computing technology uses powerful computer servers to give individuals access to databases all over the world.

The UNESCO Hewlett-Packard “Piloting Solutions for Reversing Brain Drain into Brain Gain for Africa” project was launched on November 20th to help reduce brain drain in Africa by providing universities laboratories and research centers in Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Zimbabwe with systems of interconnections that will enable students and faculty who have stayed in their countries to establish links with researchers and professionals around the world.

The African project was developed by UNESCO’s Education Sector in response to requests by Member States. Over the past decades, African countries have suffered greatly from the emigration of skilled professionals, scientists, academics and researchers who are estimated to be leaving the continent at the rate of 20,000 a year.

The Education Ministries of the countries involved, along with UNESCO, will choose the universities that will benefit from the project. Preference will be given to university departments with important information technology components. HP will provide equipment and local human resources to the universities, as well as training and support, until the projects become self-sustainable. It will also donate PCs and monitors and fund research visits abroad and meetings between beneficiary universities.

UNESCO will be in charge of overall coordination and monitoring of activities, as well as administrative management; evaluation and promotion of results.

This new project in Africa follows the successful joint HP-UNESCO “Piloting Solutions for Alleviating Brain Drain in South East Europe” project, launched in 2003. Three years after its launch, the project has resulted in the development of websites, databases and new research projects at several of the universities involved. Four universities* have become self-sustainable in the use of grid technology and the project continues in three other universities**.

*University of Split in Croatia, University of Montenegro, East Sarajevo University and the University of Sarajevo
**University of Belgrade, University of Skopje and the University of Tirana


Check out the October 2006 issue of UNESCO’s “Education Today” Newsletter: From brain drain to brain gain (PDF)
UNESCO and the private sector
African students the most mobile in the world, From the UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Hewlett-Packard and UNESCO
, A partnership that works

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