The Ibero-American Science and Technology Education Consortium (ISTEC):\nThe Initiative Approach for Science and Technology Education, Research and Development
Effective and efficient, up-to-date education and information interchange are needed for the well-being of a country or region. To this end the Ibero-American Science and Technology Education Consortium (ISTEC) has been organized. The Consortium is providing mechanisms for improvement of education, research and development, and technology transfer throughout the Americas and the Iberian Peninsula. The mechanism utilized to identify and facilitate these activities is the Initiative, which is an area of interest identified by participating institutions to address the needs of a member institution, country, or region. By creating projects organized within these initiatives, current technology and information are made available for the solution of problems. Four initiatives have been identified to date, and within each of these initiatives projects are being carried out to achieve the objectives of the Consortium. The Library Linkages Initiative promotes the use and creation of innovative real-time information-sharing services. Within this initiative are projects which seek to provide technical information in a timely fashion to a user community which is diverse in its needs and its geographical distribution. This includes distribution of material through networked interconnection, development of regional data bases, and improved availability of materials for education and research. The Advanced Continuing Education Initiative seeks to upgrade human resources through a variety of activities. Included in this initiative are a number of training efforts. Short courses are being developed and delivered in a series of advanced technical presentations. Distance education is being used to distribute information about Information Technologies. Network facilities are being utilized to provide collaborative educational activities which draw together faculty and students on three continents. In addition, exchange programs, such as “sandwich” graduate programs which minimize time away from the home institution and maximize information transfer, permit the sharing of expertise among participating institutions. The Research and Development Laboratories Initiative creates cooperating laboratories that are modular, flexible, and expandable for education, R&D, and other activities. Similar laboratories are made available in many ISTEC institutions. With common basic elements in the laboratory, experiments, experiences, and techniques can be shared. These results, both in teaching mechanisms and research explorations, are made available to minimize the impact of starting new avenues of activities.\nThe “Los Libertadores” Initiative has been started, an initiative which will culminate in the creation of a nextgeneration network connecting multidisciplinary Centers of Excellence for addressing current in-country and regional problems. The Centers of Excellence allow technology to be utilized to address concerns of a country or region, and the network of these Centers is designed to share the information between cooperating sites to effectively utilize scarce resources throughout Ibero-America. The distributed nature of the projects and initiatives avoids duplication of efforts and responds needs identified by the members. A variety of projects are underway based on the initiatives in order to bring the benefits of technology to participants. Projects are designed to be dynamic and extensible, and maximum utilization of available resources is encouraged by transnational coordination and collaboration.