Hewlett Packard: Access to knowledge society

In the last decades African countries have suffered from emigration of professionals, scientists, academics and qualified researchers. 20.000 of them are estimated to leave the continent every year.  

Nowadays, solutions to stop "the brain drain" and encourage the return of the professionals have been set up, tested and validated. This initiative enables universities to collaborate with experts around the world in innovative education and research projects. By strengthening their IT capacities they can interact with communities of expatriate researchers.

Concrete examples

UNESCO and HP provide equipment, training, assistance and operational funds to ensure that each institution benefits fully from the project. 

This project is based on the use of grid and cloud computing technology. It also provides equipment to university laboratories and research centres enabling the students and teachers to work with researchers and experts all around the world. They can also work on important research projects with other institutions in the world.


Which universities?

In April 2003, UNESCO's Division for Higher Education and Hewlett Packard Europe committed to fight against "brain drain". The first phase has been launched in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Between 2006 and 2009, a pilot phase was successfully implemented in Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Zimbabwe.

In 2009 "The brain gain" initiative expanded to another fifteen higher education institutions in the Middle East and Africa.  

Next steps

Strengthen the capacities in the field of sustainable development with the science and technology progress and thanks to new partners, the initiative should include hundred universities.  

"We look forward to building on our work with UNESCO and our expertise in grid* and cloud computing to enable more people to play an active role in all kinds of education projects, wherever they are based”, said Gabriele Zedlmayer, HP EMEA Vice President, Corporate Marketing and Global Citizenship.

"We have suffered in the past from our best talents leaving Senegal to further their careers elsewhere. This project helps us to plug into the world of research. We can build connections with colleagues in other countries, which benefit our own work, and this link also provides an opportunity for our own academics and researchers to further their careers from Senegal", said Ibrahima Niang from Cheikh Anta Diop University (UCAD).

* Grid computing is a hardware and software infrastructure that clusters and integrates high-end computer networks, databases and scientific instruments from multiple sources to form a virtual environment in which users can work collaboratively. The grid concept was developed in the mid-1990s as a shared computing approach that coordinates decentralised resources and uses open, general-purpose protocols and interfaces to deliver high-quality service levels.

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