CLARA's network, named as RedCLARA, and its connection to GÉANT were executed by the ALICE project (América Latina Interconectada Con Europa – Latin America Interconnected with Europe), which main goal was to create a research networks infrastructure in Latin America and interconnect it with its European counterpart GÉANT through the Internet protocol (IP).
Within the @LIS Programme (European Commission – EuropAid Cooperation Office), in June 3rd 2003 the officers from the European Commission and the representatives from DANTE signed the contract that gave the starting point to ALICE. The contract signed by €12.5 million (€10 million – 80% funded by the European Commission, and €2,5 million – 20%, contributed by the Latin American partners) served for the creation of an infrastructure that connected the Latin American research networks at an intra-regional level, and interconnected them with the pan-European network GÉANT.
In order to achieve the ALICE Project objective, DANTE –institution in charge of GÉANT’s management- as part of its role as ALICE Project coordinator, associated in Europe with NREN from Spain (RedIRIS), France (RENATER), Italy (GARR) and Portugal (FCCN), and in Latin America ALICE associated with CLARA and with the NREN from the 18 countries whose participation was admitted by the regulations of the @LIS programme: RETINA (Argentina), ADSIB (Bolivia), RNP (Brazil), REUNA (Chile), University of the Cauca (Colombia), CRnet (Costa Rica), RedUniv (Cuba), CEDIA (Ecuador), RAICES (El Salvador), RAGIE (Guatemala), UNITEC (Honduras), CUDI (Mexico), CNU on behalf of RENIA (Nicaragua), RedCyT (Panama), ARANDU (Paraguay), RAP (Peru), RAU (Uruguay) and REACCIUN (Venezuela).
Initially ALICE was supposed to end in April of 2006, but the Project received two temporary extension authorizations (with the exact the budget of the contract signed in June 3rd, 2003) from the European Commission, hence its finalization was marked in March of 2008.
The success and benefits brought about by the ALICE project were reflected in the @LIS Final Evaluation which assessed the project very highly with a score of 4.3 out of a possible 5. Indeed, this was the highest of the scores awarded to the five Horizontal Actions included in the @LIS Programme. Furthermore, when compared with the @LIS programme’s 19 demonstration projects, ALICE came second only to ATLAS (which achieved a score of 4.38), whilst equalling the score of IALE. ALICE’s average score breaks down into the following parameters:
The success of the ALICE project is further echoed in the following comments made in the @LIS Final Evaluation.
“ALICE was the most tangible action of @lis and operated at an “intermediate” level. Its specific objective was the creation of an infrastructure (although of a virtual nature) on which the "brains" of Europe and Latin America could interconnect. The objective was achieved to a greater degree than expected, despite the continuity of this connection being subject to the European subsidy.”
“With regard to the research network, the final evaluation has noted the impressive success and promising progress of the Latin American academic network. This was a desired reality for many but considered an almost unattainable objective before @lis (through its ALICE action) decided to support the establishment of the CLARA Network. It is an achievement essential to finally constructing a Latin American capacity for scientific and technological collaboration, a basic element for the development of an Information Society which really meets the needs of the region and is not simply set up as a framework for the application of technologies developed elsewhere. The CLARA Network has also allowed the worldwide research and education network system to be completed with Eumedconnect in the Mediterranean and TEIN2 in Eurasia, constituting a counterweight to the North American equivalent Internet2 in LA, and providing the essential support for EU–LA collaboration in development programmes (FP6, FP7).”
You can download the @LIS Final Evaluation here.