The Nordunet3, the Internet programme, will be the first Nordic research programme to transformed into a Nordic/Baltic programme, the Nordic Council of Ministers decided at a meeting on 12 October. The joint Nordic/Baltic programme will commence on 1 January 2008.
Erlendur Helgason of NordfForsk (the Nordic Research Board) opened the meeting in his capacity as the official representative of the owners of the programme. Nordunet "was born" in 1985, when the first network for research programmes in the Nordic Region, Nordunet1, was set up. It has subsequently been followed by two new generations – Nordunet2 and now 3. In 1993, the appropriate ministries in the Nordic countries founded the company NORDunet AS to co-ordinate co-operation on high capacity networks.
At the opening of the meeting, Gard Titlestad, Head of Department in the Nordic Council of Ministers for Education, Research and Labour, said that the perspective for co-operation is a Baltic Sea Region that serves as an important European region for growth and creativity. The Nordic countries are particularly strong in the information technology field, a crucial advantage in promoting innovation and growth. The long-term Nordic co-operation on high capacity networks and Internet research under the auspices of Nordunet3 is an important aspect of this work. The long-term desire to open up Nordunet3 has finally borne fruit.
The Nordic and Baltic education and research ministers will discuss further co-operation at their joint meeting in Oslo on 31 October during the annual Session of the Nordic Council.
René Buch from NORDUnet announced that the Baltic countries will be able to submit suggestions for projects until 9 November. The proposals will be evaluated at the next board meeting on 13 December, so the network is truly Nordic/Baltic from New Year.