A new high-speed network connection linking researchers and students from Europe and China has been announced by the European Commission. The network will cost 4.15 million euro, and will be funded by the EU under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), China, and the European National Research and Education Networks (NRENs). The network, known as ORIENT (Oriental Research Infrastructure to European NeTworks), aims to increase the flow of information between Europe and China by connecting Europe's GÉANT - the world's most advanced international research and education network - with the Chinese research networks CERNET and CSTNET. The networks will be connected overland via Siberia, and will connect over 200 Chinese universities and research institutions at speeds of up to 2.5 gb per second. 'ORIENT enables truly international research cooperation, by making geographic location almost irrelevant,' said EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding. 'Access to applications such as telemedicine, digital libraries and e-learning will help the general public, as well as the research community, to build academic and cultural links between Europe and China and an open exchange of opinions and expertise between Chinese and European researchers.' On Europe's side, DANTE a non-profit organisation established in 1993 to build and manage research and education networks on behalf of the NRENs, will coordinate ORIENT. In China, CERNET will be responsible for coordination. CERNET provides internet services for Chinese universities, institutes, schools and other non-profit organisations, reaching more than 200 sites in 31 provinces. It already has connections to North America, Asia and the Pacific, encompassing around 1,300 universities and institutions and around 15 million users. CERNET will meet 50 per cent of the new network's costs, with the remainder divided between FP6 and the NRENs. A number of Sino-European research projects are already underway, and will profit from ORIENT. EUChinaGrid, a grid computing project, links computational resources in China and Europe, easing data transfer and processing between the two regions, while the EXPReS radio-astronomy project will see European radio telescopes connected to partners in China.