Vicky Ford MEP

Member of the European Parliament for the East of England

02 NOV 2012

Vicky Ford MEP visits DANTE to see how superfast networks are delivering research and innovation

Vicky Ford MEP, Member of the European Parliament for the East of England, this week visited DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe) to gain a first-hand understanding of the Cambridge-based world leader in research networking.

DANTE's projects help to bring high-speed connectivity to parts of the world where such access can have a huge impact on peoples' lives. Working with the European Commission and local partners the not for profit organisation is a real innovator in the world of networking.

In the European Parliament, Ms Ford has a particular interest in Horizon 2020 – the EU's framework programme for research and innovation funding. Alongside this, Ms Ford is strongly committed to bringing money back to the UK for investment into research and innovation. DANTE employs around 80 staff at its two offices in Cambridge and has an annual turnover of around €35million. Approximately half of this is funded by the EC, which recognises the role of research networks in restoring Europe's economic growth and global competitiveness.

Mrs Ford commented, "The future of science and research is increasingly being driven by the ability to share, analyse and understand vast quantities of data. The benefits of this type of research can help us all. For example being able to analyse the data from thousands of brain scans is helping medics find new ways to diagnose and treat diseases like Alzheimer's. Sharing and processing the data from satellite images on weather changes now allows for much more accurate storm warnings to be issued."

"DANTE provides the GÉANT network which is the essential backbone for researchers to share information across Europe and the rest of the world. I was very impressed by what I learnt in Cambridge today."

DANTE's largest project is GÉANT, the high speed pan-European data network that interconnects Europe's national research and education networks and enables some of the largest research projects in the world. By providing the high speed networks that let researchers share data and collaborate with their peers worldwide, GÉANT underpins critical projects that would  previously have been impossible without its reach, capacity and reliability.

Mrs Ford said. "We all need researchers to help solve society's biggest challenges, their ideas are often crucial to driving growth. And to be at the cutting edge of science, our researchers need cutting edge IT and communications."

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My Political Priorities

Economic Stability must come first. Without a strong economy we can not deliver a strong society. I work with businesses and consumers to keep Britain open for business, cutting red tape, boosting trade opportunities and helping to deliver jobs and growth for all.

I support Science and Research which is key to delivering better medical care, healthy food as well as the Innovation and Creative Industries which bring improved lifestyles for all our families.

Strong home Security is vital in today's uncertain world, which requires robust policing and defence and deep international relationships that we can depend on. I work with others to achieve this.

I care about the Countryside and the Environment and making sure that rural and urban communities flourish.