As a result of political and economic developments in Central and Eastern Europe and
Central Asia, the science decision makers and the scientific and technological communities in
these countries are faced with new and challenging problems. Under these circumstances the
need for close ties between NATO and Cooperation Partner (CP) countries is essential.
Within the framework of the Workplan for Dialogue, Partnership and Cooperation established
by the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (NACC), the NATO Science Committee has
introduced a number of priority areas of concern to both NATO and its Cooperation Partners.
- Objectives and Areas of Interest
The Priority Area on Computer Networking is intended to provide support for the
enhancement of the communication infrastructure available to scientists rather than to support
fundamental and applied research in the field. The initiative encompasses a two-pronged
strategy for improving computer communication between scientists in NATO countries and
- firstly, a top-down approach focusing on policy, with the organization of workshops to
help Cooperation Partners elaborate their computer networking policies and strategies
and increase their know-how; and
- secondly, a bottom-up approach focusing on infrastructure, with the provision of
support to improve connectivity and to facilitate electronic communication to the
scientific communities of Cooperation Partners countries.
The activities supported in this field have essentially a catalytic role and are
complementary to, rather than conflicting or competing with, activities of parallel national or
international programmes. These activities take advantage of the special bilateral and
multilateral relationship which NATO membership makes possible.
- Support Mechanisms
Support in this Priority Area is provided through a variety of mechanisms to be
pursued in collaboration between scientists from NATO countries and Cooperation Partner
countries. The mechanisms are:
- Advanced Networking Workshops
Advanced Networking Workshops are of two types:
- the first category (Policy) is aimed at increasing the level of harmony among the various
network policies at national and international levels. These workshops provide a strong base
from which can be laid down a better coordinated collaboration between Cooperation Partners
and NATO countries. They provide unique fora for users and policy makers in which those
responsible for the scientific infrastructure acquire a better understanding of the need for
coordination in the planning and development of research networks. Among expected
concrete outcomes of such workshops are sets of recommendations for follow-up activities
- The second category (Training) is aimed at transferring technical know-how to network
administrators. These workshops are the forum for advanced level, extensive discussion
among qualified network managers from various countries. They become a unique
opportunity for the transfer of knowledge and the exchange of experiences between managers
coming from different environments and backgrounds.
- Computer Networking Supplement to Linkage Grants
NATO supports, through Linkage Grants, reciprocal visits of research teams conducting
common research. In order to improve the communication between the teams, Linkage Grant
holders are invited to consider whether the upgrading of the CP participants' networking
equipment could facilitate the quality and the quantity of the exchanges. A Supplement for
Computer Networking is available for purchasing small equipment that can enhance the
communication level between the collaborating teams. Typical grants cover the cost of
modems, software, leased line service fees and subscriptions.
- Networking Infrastructure Grants
Networking Infrastructure Grants are expected to promote local and international
collaboration through the setting up of links and networking capabilities. A key aspect of the
economics of international connectivity is the promotion of collaborative local infrastructures.
A Networking Infrastructure Grant provides assistance to the CP country institutions primarily
for purchasing equipment that will improve the level and the quality of the telecommunication
facilities. The infrastructure projects supported by these grants are regional by definition.
They are aimed at improving the general connectivity of a whole community in a specific
geographical region; they build upon existing infrastructure and propose ways to improve the
quality of the network by increasing the bandwidth between major sites and by distributing
access to larger communities. Institutes from a CP country involved in collaborative projects
with counterparts in a NATO country and interested in improving their networking facilities
are not eligible for a Networking Infrastructure Grant; to be eligible for support they must first
be awarded a NATO Linkage Grant and then may apply for a Computer Networking
Supplement as outlined in the previous paragraph.
- Other mechanisms
Other mechanisms such as Expert Visits are additional tools available to
the Panel. They may be used as the initial phase to more complex and larger collaborating
- Application Procedures
Applications for support of one of the above mechanisms are evaluated by the
Advisory Panel on Computer Networking. In order to be considered by the Advisory Panel an
application must not duplicate similar efforts elsewhere and be prepared on the specific
The Advisory Panel normally meets three times a year. Deadlines for receipt of applications,
as well as application forms and guideline Notes for Applicants are available from the address
below, and may also be downloaded from the NATO Gopher site.
NATO Scientific & Environmental Affairs