The drive to acquire the best and brightest talent is often the number one differentiator that can determine the success or failure of any organization. The ability to unleash the potential of those dedicated to research and development drives innovation and change in all sectors of society. The value in enabling these bright minds cannot be overstated, but it requires an investment in the tools that are needed to flourish.
Participation in Research Activities is More Important Than Ever
Fewer than 15% of the colleges and universities in the U.S. are part of a research network. Bright individuals exist at every college and university throughout higher education systems across the country, regardless of institution size. Given this large pool of talented individuals, it’s essential for academic institutions to have the ability to collaborate and participate in research activities.
Geographic Challenges in Expanding Access to Research Activities
Unfortunately, researchers and educators that are not based in major metropolitan areas often get left behind. Those located at rural and underserved colleges and universities, community colleges and minority-serving institutions often do not have the network infrastructure to collaborate and innovate at the same level as those in metro communities. It’s ultimately communities, families and businesses across the country that miss out when researchers are not able to contribute simply because of where they are located.
To leverage this existing potential, every college and university institution in America should be connected to a research network. Ideally, this would be a national imperative and should be a part of federal investments in research and education. While this network would ultimately contribute to the future of the national broadband strategy, keep in mind that a research and education network is not just about broadband networking. It also includes software, tools, resources and workforce development necessary to maintain a competitive edge on the world stage. A significant investment would ensure that universities and colleges have equal access and the opportunity to participate in research activities with higher education colleagues throughout the United States.
Collaboration is Key
If anything highlights the value of research collaboration, it’s the local and international response to the ongoing pandemic. The development and delivery of vaccines happened in record time. This particular action was powered by the ability to collaborate and quickly share tremendous amounts of data across the higher-education research network. Built for high-speed access, this research and education network infrastructure can connect the top research universities and institutions throughout the country. Collaboration and synergy is enhanced, leading to accelerated innovation.
This year, Congress should consider expanding access to the research and education network across the nation. It will be important to implement a holistic action plan that integrates local, state and national needs across network, security, trust and identity tools, collaboration and training needs.
Juniper Networks was built on innovation. As a networking pioneer, Juniper delivered the revolutionary M40 Core Router in 1998, which allowed unconstrained internet growth. As a strong supporter of collaboration and innovation, it’s becoming clearer that the expansion of research and education network infrastructure will open doors to innovation and discovery that will benefit all of us.
Visit The Minds We Need website to learn more about advocating for expanded access to research and education networks.