First fibre optic research network launched
Members of the province's first fibre optic research network officially launched the Atlantic Consortium of Research Networks (ACORN-NL) at a news conference at Memorial's St. John's campus March 13, 2007. The network is a not-for-profit corporation supported by its members, project partners and the federal government (primarily Industry Canada). The ACORN-NL network has received approximately $1.4 million from CANARIE (Canada's advanced Internet development organization) as well as funding from local stakeholders which will sustain the network for the next three years.
ACORN-NL is a collaboration among Memorial University and its research institutes, the Atlantic Computational Excellence Network (ACE-Net), the College of the North Atlantic, the Institute of Ocean Technology-NRC; the Department of Fisheries and Ocean, the Eastern School Board and the Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation. ACORN-NL will better enable member institutions to achieve their goals in research and education and will put Newfoundland and Labrador on an equal footing with other provinces that already have high-speed research grids.
Dr. Andy Bjerring, president and CEO of CANARIE, emphasized the role of collaboration in the initiative.
"What is driving all this is the increasing dependence of research on data ... digitized information in all its forms ... in fact on huge quantities of data ... and by the increasingly collaborative, distributed nature of research," said Dr. Bjerring. "No longer can any one institute or university expect to have within its four walls all the expertise, equipment or data required to mount globally-competitive research. Only through building collaborative teams, virtual institutes if you will, can Canadian researchers remain competitive."
Large research projects such as those funded by Genome Canada are being conducted through network-enabled collaborations. The network will allow researchers in Newfoundland and Labrador to collaborate more effectively with their colleagues nationally and globally, therefore creating new knowledge to contribute to the innovation cycle.
The College of the North Atlantic and Memorial University have worked together with private-sector carriers to make this network possible. While the main technical hub that links this provincial network to the national CA*Net 4 is at Memorial, the college in Corner Brook hosts the equipment that services the west coast, including Sir Wilfred Grenfell College.