Lancaster University

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Queen’s Award for Lancaster University

11/18/2005 09:49:40

Professor Barry Forde, Head of Technical Services in ISS
and chief architect of the network infrastructure.

Lancaster University has won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher & Further Education for the extensive regional broadband networks rolled out by its Information Systems Services Directorate.

The Prize for Connecting the Last Mile: the Largest Regional Rural Broadband Network for Education in Europe was announced at a special ceremony at St James’s Palace on 17th November and will be presented by Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, at an honours ceremony at Buckingham Palace in mid-February.

Lancaster University’s Prize recognises its achievement in delivering the largest ‘last-mile’ regional broadband infrastructure in Europe across what is a highly dispersed and largely rural region, and which has a highly varied and mountainous terrain.

Groups benefiting from sustainable, low-cost, high-capacity broadband regional networks developed by Lancaster University and its education and public sector partners are:

Trudi and Hal Van Geesbergen of Stavelely School, near Kendal.
Trudi and Hal Van Geesbergen of Stavelely School, near Kendal.
  • Universities, schools, colleges, libraries, museums, community and adult learning centres.
  • Researchers and communities throughout the region who are linked to the University’s very high capacity (10GbE) backbone network which runs from Carlisle in North to Cheshire in the South.
  • Lancaster University partners Cumbria Institute of the Arts, St Martin’s College and Carlisle College, as well as other colleges and sites in the Region who benefit from state of the art network connectivity provided by Lancaster University as the lead site for the Cumbria and North Lancashire wide-area academic network (CANLMAN).
  • By far the most extensive in terms of area covered and nodes connected, is the network for the Cumbria and Lancashire Education Online (CLEO) Regional Broadband Consortium. With its County Council partners in Lancashire and Cumbria, the University has delivered a broadband network that has already hooked up over 1000 schools, including remote primary schools in Lakeland valleys and rural Lancashire. Remote schools such as these would either be beyond the reach of other commercial telecommunications networks or they could not afford the commercial charges.

    The infrastructure of these networks is largely owned by the University and its public sector and education partners.

    Ten year olds Jake Wicks and India Moore, Dallas Road School, Lancaster.
    Ten year olds Jake Wicks and India Moore, Dallas Road School, Lancaster.

    Lancaster University Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings said : “ This is an excellent achievement which brings together the research and technical capabilities of the university for the benefit of the public and private sectors in the North-West region, including the rural and upland area of Cumbria. There is immense scope for further development of the work in the near future.”

    Lancaster University’s Director of Information Systems Services John Gallagher said: “The enduring achievement of the project is that through the partnership with Lancashire County Council and Cumbria County Council and others, we now have a public-sector owned and managed asset that delivers very high quality, high-speed broadband at low cost to its end-users.”

    Professor Barry Forde, Head of Technical Services in ISS and chief architect of the network infrastructure, commented: “Lancaster University is unique in the close collaboration between its world class academic and research groups and the network support team in ISS. This has enabled us to build very advanced networks that are affordable - a good example of technology transfer at its best”

    County Councillor Hazel Harding, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “We congratulate the University on this Award. The partnership working of CLEO meant that children in small remote primary schools could access information and knowledge in a cost effective way. This has made a huge difference for these schools."

    Cumbria County Council leader Tim Stoddard said: “We have worked very closely with Lancaster University and Lancashire County Council on the CLEO project. It has been an extremely successful way of improving educational opportunities in remote areas through the creative use of IT. The project and the partnership work are worthy of the recognition. We are very proud of the achievement.”

    The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes reward universities and colleges that demonstrate work of a world-class standard of excellence. The Prize is one of the highest honours a university can achieve.