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Over the past decade, Southeast European countries affected by conflict have not only lost countless lives but also intellectual capacity. Two out of three teaching and research jobs have been lost in some universities. A project to alleviate brain drain in Southeast Europe was officially extended on 12 April with the delivery of cutting-edge Grid computing technology to the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje (FRY Macedonia) and to the Polytechnic University in Tirana (Albania).
Grid computing technology and seed money for exchange visits abroad to universities, the joint UNESCO and Hewlett Packard project is encouraging young scientists to stay in the region and collaborate with the diaspora. The project also enables scientists to undertake exchange visits and meet their fellow nationals working at major research institutions abroad. Since mid-2004, 38 such visits have taken place all around the world, leading to research partnerships with the European Laboratory of Nuclear Physics (CERN) Gelato Federation (the global research community dedicated to advancing the Linux Itanium platform), ICTP, etc.
‘The project will help [local university faculties] identify international partnerships and funding opportunities, as well as address the Bologna Process and other international developments of common interest,’ says Gabriele Zedlmayer, Vice-President of Corporate Affairs at Hewlett Packard. ‘We also have plans to replicate the project in Africa’.