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TICAL2023 kicks off in Panama to build bridges for digital transformation

The role of National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in the digital transformation of Latin America and the Caribbean is the theme of the TICAL2023 conference that began this Monday, November 13, in Panama City, bringing together government authorities, strategic allies, professors, researchers and academics from across the region and Europe.

The 2023 edition of the flagship conference of the region's NRENs is the first to be held in an on-site format after three years, and also celebrates the 20th anniversary of RedCLARA.The event included welcoming remarks from the Executive Director of the Regional Advanced Network, Luis Eliécer Cadenas, and the National Secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation of Panama, Dr. Eduardo Ortega-Barría, commemorative videos and tributes to some of the founding members.

According to Cadenas, TICAL is once again taking place at a crucial moment for the Latin American and Caribbean research and education community. "We are celebrating not only the 20th anniversary of RedCLARA, but also the enthusiasm and interest that the event has generated in Panama and throughout the region. The conference brings high expectations for BELLA II and the work we are doing in Central America and the Caribbean, we will be able to expand the research community that participates and benefits from our efforts," he celebrated.

Eduardo Ortega-Barría emphasized the importance of Panama as the venue for the event. "TICAL is a great opportunity to promote science, technology and innovation in our region. This will be a special week for our entire country, as it also frames the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the creation of RNIE Panama, which is a very important step for us," she said.

The first day of TICAL 2023 featured four major panels where regional and NREN experts shared their experiences and success stories on topics such as technology trends and digital transformation, education, regional cooperation initiatives, and digital health and telemedicine. Unlike previous years, where there were open calls for proposals, the current version of TICAL was based on the identification of the NRENs themselves and their priority areas.

According to Felipe Parada, Deputy director of the Telemedicine Unit at the Universidad de Concepción (Chile), the opportunity to share experiences in these areas is what makes TICAL so special. "If we look closely, we see that the problems in Latin America in areas such as e-health are very similar. TICAL is an opportunity for us to support each other and create a community to address these issues. NRENs can contribute a lot to the digital transformation, not only through connectivity, but especially through collaboration."

TICAL2023 is organized by RedCLARA and the BELLA II project, with the support of the National Secretariat of Science and Technology (SENACYT) and the National Authority for Government Innovation (AIG) of Panama, under the auspices of SheerID, Grupo Binário, Liberty Networks and CALRIZ.

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