Vol. XXV, 3rd Quarter
July to September 2007
PREGINET empowers Filipino researchers to work with global counterparts
Global scale research collaboration activities that use high-speed and advanced network technologies demonstrate that the world is getting smaller. Technology enabled alliances make the concept of global community real.
This technology-driven development has allowed researchers and academics in the Philippines to participate in joint research projects with counterparts in international institutions through the Philippine Research, Education, and Government Information Network or PREGINET.
PREGINET is a research and education network envisioned to be a catalyst for collaborative R&D among government, academic, and research institutions. It is a project funded by the Department of Science and Technology and implemented by DOST’s Advanced Science and Technology Institute.
There are 76 partners currently connected to the network from research [29, academe , and government  sectors.
The network operates nationwide through access points in many regions and mostly utilizing existing network infrastructure of the Department of Transportation and Communications’ Telecommunications Office, and domestic common carriers.
The Philippines through PREGINET has direct connectivity to international research and education networks (RENs) such as the Asia Pacific Advanced Network (APAN), and the Trans-Eurasia Information Network 2 (TEIN2).
Connectivity to APAN and TEIN2 also serve as the country’s gateway to other regional RENs including Internet2 in the US and GEANT2 in Europe. PREGINET also participates in the Asian Internet Interconnection Initiative (AI3), a Japanese-led research program that provides satellite-based open Internet test-bed for Asia’s research and academic community.
PREGINET also has the support of Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Information Network (MAFFIN) that funds RP’s APAN link with 60 million yen annual budget.
Meanwhile, the European Commission provides 80 percent of funds for RP’s link to TEIN2, a 10-million euro project that links the Philippines to nine other Asia Pacific and 34 countries in Europe through GÉANT2, considered the world’s most advanced international REN. TEIN2 was deployed in January 2006 and scheduled to run until 2008.
TEIN3, the successor to TEIN2, is currently being discussed among project partners. On the other hand, the Widely Integrated Distributed Environment (WIDE) Project and JSAT Corporation of Japan provide the satellite transponder capacity used for the AI3 network.
“Being part of these international RENs is important in stimulating regional development and cooperation and helping the country to become an integral part of the global research community. The Philippines, through PREGINET has benefited from being a partner of these networks. Among the sectors that benefited most from these partnerships are disaster mitigation, medicine, distance education, and agricultural research”, ASTI Director Denis Villorente said.
DOST’s Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration utilizes the APAN/TEIN2 link in its daily weather forecasting activities. PAGASA retrieves global data twice daily from its counterpart agency in Germany for its numerical weather models.
On the other hand, the Philippine General Hospital’s surgery department collaborates with Japan’s Kyushu University Hospital along with other university hospitals in Australia, Korea, and Singapore in broadcasting live and interactive tele-surgery demonstrations or trainings. The arrangement allows images of ongoing surgery to be transmitted simultaneously to a remote venue and a counterpart hospital where a medical team can provide instant feedback on the procedure.
The International Rice Research Institute also has made use of PREGINET’s APAN/TEIN2 links for its virtual conferences and consultations with other Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research centers across the world to facilitate leading-edge agricultural researches.
Through PREGINET, partners could access electronic journals, dissertations, and thesis collections of the Philippine eLibrary project, a joint project of five government agencies.
Through its partnership with the AI3, PREGINET participates in distance learning initiatives such as the School-over-the-Internet Asia (SOI Asia).
Villorente is keen on maximizing the benefits of the PREGINET network locally. “The concept of a national research and education network is still not well appreciated in the Philippines. But its potential to contribute to innovative research collaborations is a target that PREGINET hopes to meet.”
PREGINET implementation started June 1, 2000 on a total project cost of P79 million. It is expected to be self-sustaining after direct DOST’s funding support ends in 2007.