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Lucas Adolfo Giraldo Ríos: “RENATA aims to continue working with a strategic linkage with RedCLARA”

Since March 12th, 2012, Lucas Giraldo Ríos, a business manager and an aspirant of a master on science management, is the Executive Director of the National Academic Network of Advanced Technology, RENATA from Colombia. Since his arrival, Rios has taken the responsibility to promote advanced network as life commitment, and as a way to give back to Colombia all it has given to him. "RENATA is the house of RedCLARA in Colombia" he emphasis. Giraldo is sure that hand to hand work with Red CLARA is essential to build up the scientific community in the country.

Lucas GiraldoWhich are the main contributions of RENATA to Colombia?
There have been many. Among others, we have 16,127 registered people in our database, and we keep a constant communication with them to achieve the connectivity objectives of the country. Besides, through our research projects we support the formation of five communities (digital repositories, advanced computing, R&D centres, health and culture) and we presented the largest number of projects in the 2010 and 2011 ComCLARA calls.

It is remarkable that we grew from 10 Mbps to 1.6 Gbps to provide a higher capacity to the scientific, educational and cultural work of the country. We increased the international bandwidth of our network from 10 Mbps to 133 Mbps to the Colombian scientific activity with the world and the network's use has grown a 300% since 2007.

Has this science and culture impulse meant a fundamental change to the country?
Over 3,000 academic and technician have been trained on advanced networks. Plus, we've published over 3,000 academic and scientific articles using www.renata.edu.co, a website already visited for more than 800,000 web users.

Furthermore, we are the promoters of e-Colabora, a science, education, innovation and culture magazine. We have been able to release three issues with the support from our regional networks, our communities and RedCLARA. Every issue has had over 3,000 visits from the academic community not only from Colombia, but from all over Latin America. Our videos have received more than 26,000 views on Youtube. We have more than 4,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter that receive information inviting them to academic tasks.

Allied with the Education Minister and Colciencias we managed to operate more than 50 web based projects. Besides, more than 6,000 hours of video from the connected institutions from Colombia and Latin America have been webcasted to the benefit any internet user.

The institution has become the third most active advanced network in Latin America. Is of utter importance that RENATA has generated more than 200 jobs to build a nation. But the most important thing of all: we have more than 143 connected members, 8 academic regional networks and 3 government members that strength the collaborative work to develop science, education, innovation and culture of Colombia.

From your experience, why technology has become a key element on the development? In this context, why should people gamble on advance networks?
Having technology means to dominate knowledge basis and the use of the physical resources to achieve once and again the ultimate goal. We must answer to three questions: How to?, What for? and With whom?
From that point of view, technology must be capable of articulating the knowledge to get specific purposes that satisfy needs, and that is when we go from simple growth to the development of a region and a community. Advanced networks articulate and enable technologies as disseminators of knowledge.

What are the particularities of the research and investigation community of Colombia? Do you think RENATA fulfils the needs of these audiences or there are remaining challenges?
RENATA satisfies the need of interaction of the scientific community through high speed methodologies and connections. Our challenge is to increase the contact, articulation and communication between the Colombian researchers and its partners in the world but our academic community every day has a better use of the potential and services of the network.

In your opinion which is the path that RENATA should follow?
The challenge is to become the digital nervous system that links and include all academic and scientific institutions of the country to enhance the development of the science, technology and innovation to benefit the progress of Colombia.

Which are your main goals and how do you expect to achieve them?
We have a lot of purposes and goals. However, I want to highlight that we are very interested that RENATA becomes the venue of academics and business actors for the development of the country. In this sense we are working with the Government and our regional academic networks to carry out that linkage.

What do you expect from the collaboration and connection with RedCLARA?

With REDCLARA is expected the articulation on three key elements. In the first place the infrastructure aspect on technological, human and knowledge elements, with global reach. The development and enhance of the Latin America´s articulation to achieved general objectives is only possible through RedClara.

Secondly, is fundamental the project management and the offer of services of advanced technologies which means in the design of product and services that can be developed and use by RedCLARA to the entire academic community.

Last but not least, to articulate the country's scientific community nationally and with its peers internationally is achieved by the contact offered by RedCLARA with all the scientific community in the region.

How can RENATA contribute with other members of RedCLARA that still have not exploited all the potential of advanced networks?

Through benchmarking that allows to transfer the knowledge and experience learned in RENATA and its regional network to benefit our colleagues. We love the idea of the network as a technological human infrastructure to reach common objectives. From that point of view we are very interested on having a strong relationship between our network and the international networks. An important fact: remember that RENATA is the house of RedCLARA and all of its members in Colombian.