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La Educación
Número: (132-133) I,II
Año: 1999

5. What is the purpose of the Research and Development Laboratories (R&D) initiative?

The purpose of the R&D Laboratories Initiative is to provide educators and researchers access to state-of-the-art technology for use in teaching advanced technological concepts and experimenting with new techniques. In so doing, the Initiative addresses the lack of current information and resources for planning and developing technology, the lack of international cooperation in developing the critical mass needed for projects and joint efforts, and the lack of interaction (lack of confidence and sometimes lack of information) between universities and industries. Laboratory facilities are designed to be modular and flexible, providing an environment for a wide-ranging, adaptable laboratory system. Many ISTEC member institutions have similar laboratory facilities and are presently upgrading curricula in telecommunication, digital signal processing, microprocessors, control, and other areas.

This same method is being used in other areas as well, allowing institutions to have access to updated networking technology, to telecommunications equipment, to advanced software platforms, and to new computer equipment and methods. Along with the access to this technology, databases and information repositories are being created to allow sharing of ideas, techniques, methods, and materials to minimize the duplication of efforts throughout the region. All of this information is available to the ISTEC members involved in the projects. An additional benefit of this mechanism is creation of a vehicle for university-industry collaboration.