Foreword by Andreas Dudler
The year 2020 will remain in our global collective memory as the year in which had to learn how to deal day by day with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Challenges we faced on all levels of society – from the political, to the individual. And of course, challenges which today continue to dominate our conversations. Based on a forward-looking planning and stable services GÉANT could master these challenges.
The good news is that research and education networks in Europe and around the world delivered. In a world in which online became the fabric which kept us together, the GÉANT network, the European NRENs and their international partners delivered the secure and robust connectivity as well as the trust and identity services which consistently underpin the EU’s COVID-19 research platform, as much as any other pandemic related science. The new needs of the educational sector were met.
For GÉANT, 2020 was also the year in which we started the detailed planning for our activities under the new MFF and the Horizon Europe, Digital Europe, and Connecting Europe Facility with a focus on the continuity of the project activities, including our international capacities, as well as the specific focus on the delivery of hyperconnectivity to the EuroHPC (High Performance Computing in Europe) and the delivery of services through the European Science Cloud (EOSC).
The end of 2020 saw Brexit being concluded and we welcome the UK government’s decision to remain associated to Horizon Europe. We value our UK partner Jisc and strongly believe that Europe is better together.
And the year ended with very important changes to the Board of GÉANT. At the end of November 2020, I was extremely proud to be elected as Chair of the Board of the GÉANT Association taking over from Christian Grimm (DFN, Germany), who left the Board after six years of service, five of which as Chair. The GÉANT Board also thanked Marko Bonač (ARNES, Slovenia), who left the Board after six years, for his leadership in GÉANT’s cost-share committee. The General Assembly elected new members Ana Tavares Pinto (FCCN|FCT, Portugal) and Floor Jas (SURF, Netherland) for three-year terms, whilst Federico Ruggieri (GARR, Italy) was re-elected for a three-year term and Raimundas Tuminauskas (PSNC, Poland) was re-elected for a one-year term. Under my leadership the GÉANT Board will continue its track record of working towards the highest standards for the benefit of our community and underpinning research, education, and innovation in Europe and globally.
entities in eduGAIN
2020–A new perspective
To battle today’s major societal challenges, we need the support of researchers and teachers around the globe. The outbreak of COVID-19 showed us that we can win these battles only if we cooperate on a global scale, sharing our findings and building on each other’s results. GÉANT and the NRENs are here to make this possible in an easy and secure way.
For most of us 2020 was an extraordinary year. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools, universities, and research institutes had to temporarily shut their doors in so many countries. Educational organisations had to make a drastic move to online models to teach, learn and work. Fortunately, our community had the means and the tools to help these institutions make the needed transition.
As a result, our traffic patterns, videoconferencing usage, eduroam usage and priorities changed. At GÉANT, we increased our focus on education and saw TF-EDU develop and grow. We negotiated peering agreements with commercial providers in distant countries to allow students to connect with university campuses in Europe directly from their homes. OpenUP2U, the open-source software suite for online learning was made available to those NRENs and institutes requiring an affordable and trustworthy solution.
In the meantime, we were also able to minimise the delays to our existing projects. We continued the roll-out of our new fibre footprint throughout Europe and upgraded our international capacity where new traffic patterns required it. We worked closely with EMBL-EBI to make sure that any data exchange needed for COVID-19 research was fully supported. In addition, we were able to run our organisation smoothly and carry out our day-to-day activities notwithstanding the temporary closure of both offices in March 2020.
In 2020 every single staff gathering took place online. And while this arrangement worked, it is clear that there is a limit to the time that people can spend away from the office without direct contact with colleagues.
The R&E networking community coped well with the crisis and was able to provide support where needed. We achieved this on the basis of cooperation and resource sharing. A fundamental element is also the human network we have built within our community over the past decades. Trust, more than money, is our valuable commodity. The human network, however, needs maintenance, which is not easily achieved via videoconferencing alone. We therefore hope that by the end of 2021 we can return to meeting in person and that TNC22 will be a real-life event.
EOSC in Transition
It was in November 2018 when GÉANT CCO, Cathrin Stöver, was chosen to be co-chair of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) Executive Board. She was soon joined by several representatives of our NREN partners who were chosen to represent their countries in the EOSC Governance Board. Two years later, the intense work in the EOSC Executive and Governance Boards culminated when on 17 December 2020 Cathrin chaired the first General Assembly of the newly created EOSC Association, which duly elected its new President and Board and gave a mandate to the President and Board to continue to negotiate and eventually sign the EOSC Partnership Agreement with the European Commission.
For GÉANT and our community, the last two years working in the EOSC environment were a success. We established ourselves as reliable partners not only in the Executive Board and Governance Board, but also through manifold participation across the EOSC Working Groups and of course, in important positions across various EOSC projects. As a community, we found a constructive way of working together through regularly organised EOSC meetings, where we updated each other on recent happenings in the EOSC governance, but also across the projects, the working groups and on general interactions on national and European levels. This led to a cohesive community approach towards EOSC and resulted in 19 NRENs joining the founding members GÉANT and GARR as members or observers in the EOSC Association.
At the end of this two-year period of many meetings, interaction with stakeholders and intense work, our community can look back with pride. We have been in important roles in the EOSC Governance, the working groups, the projects and finally, in the EOSC Association itself. Our knowledge and expertise helped to deliver results and recommendations in the working groups; we helped to establish the co-programmed European Partnership for EOSC and the EOSC Association to go with it. Our community gave input to the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda and is now well represented in the Board of the EOSC Association with Sarah Jones from GÉANT and Ronan Byrne from HEANET being elected members of the Board.
GÉANT is looking forward to working with the EOSC Association towards our joint purpose of enabling better science in Europe and globally.
In 2020 the GÉANT General Assembly elected Claudio Allocchio, Senior Technical Officer at GARR, as the new GÉANT Community Committee (GCC) Chair, and Paul Rouse, GÉANT Chief Community Relations Officer, became the GCC co-Chair. The GCC successfully completed and kicked off the GÉANT Community Programme (GCP) strategy, in addition it was able to increase and update the programme’s areas of activities and to successfully launch the Task Force on Education (TF-EDU).
The shift to online meetings throughout the year saw an increase in participation and geographic reach, and online meetings also helped to bridge the divide between NRENs at various stage of maturity and the broader R&E community.
The GCC also managed to foster a notable increase in cross disciplinary exchanges within the community, but also to establish many liaisons between the GCP and formal projects’ activities. A major achievement was the concept creation of the GÉANT Innovation Programme: a completely new initiative to support and foster the development of new ideas. Targeted activities also enabled the GCC to increase awareness within the community of the GCP’s role and projects, and successfully increased the active participation in the programme of community representatives.
“2020 was a challenging year for all. But challenges give the opportunity to embrace new ways to look at problems and enable new ideas, activities, solutions and synergies to surface. In March 2020 we entered a completely unchartered territory and could not envisage the changes we would have managed to achieve. Last year brought some real paradigm shifts for the GÉANT Community Committee and the community, but we all pulled together and achieved new goals and many positive results.”
Chair of GÉANT Community Committee
GÉANT Learning and Development
In 2020, the GÉANT Learning and Development (GLAD) team paid special attention to the global transition towards remote work, increasing accessibility of online training, sharing free learning resources, addressing specific development needs of the community in changed circumstances.
Over the course of the year, all GLAD activities saw wider audience participation and community engagement, with participants also supported in actively producing their own community training sessions.
The offer available on the Moodle-based eLearning platform GÉANT eAcademy was expanded, and focus shifted from the production of individual courses and workshops towards the development and delivery of multi-module training programmes.
While physical meetings were hindered by travel restrictions, online events played an extremely important role, as demonstrated by the successful series of webinars on Technical Skills Development, Software Development and Operational Network Security. Furthermore, the GLAD team regularly published sessions recordings and organised them into playlists, giving the possibility to watch on demand and greatly increasing the training’s global outreach.
The Future Talent Programme (FTP), the GLAD initiative offering skills workshops to young professionals in the community, reached its fourth edition. The consolidated format continued to support the Trust and Identity Mentorship (TIM) programme and included the TNC Lighting Talk Challenge, which due to the cancellation of TNC20 was delivered in the form of virtual presentations.
Launched in October 2020, GÉANT Infoshares are a series of weekly online events, aimed at engaging, improving knowledge sharing, fostering discussion, and strengthening the human network across the GÉANT community.
Infoshares are part of the GÉANT Community Programme (GCP) and are coordinated by the Partner Relations Team. They usually take place on a Wednesday afternoon and cover strategic topics such as Services Development, Open Science, Quantum Key Distribution, and Network Technology, as well as general project updates.
The first set of twelve Infoshares, which ran until the winter break in December, registered vast interest, with 560 registrants and over 700 on-demand views.
Public and recorded Infoshares were made available on GÉANT’s eAcademy platform, on the GLAD website and also via a dedicated playlist on the GEANTtv YouTube Channel. All the listed spaces will keep being updated with new Infoshares taking place during 2021.
The level of traffic on the GÉANT network was impacted by COVID-19, where we saw for the first time in some years a drop in traffic to 2.35 Exabytes. However, this still represents an impressive average of 6.4 Petabytes every day.
We expect traffic levels to quickly ramp up in 2021 and present a closer reflection of what we have seen in the past – an average annualised increase in network traffic of 30% per annum for each of the past five years – as we continue to see strong progress in the GN4-3N project, despite the pandemic-related challenges experienced in 2020.
After a competitive selection process with over 850 applications, AfricaConnect3 was selected as one of 100 projects to be showcased at the third edition of the Paris Peace Forum 2020. Mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, delays were experienced in the expansion of the WACREN backbone in West and Central Africa. Benin, Burkina Faso and Cote d’ Ivoire are expected to be connected in 2021. In addition, a direct peering was established between UbuntuNet Alliance and WACREN in London. In North Africa, Algeria’s R&E connectivity was upgraded from 2.5 to 10Gbps.
GÉANT signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Chinese NREN CSTNET for a further two-year extension from January 2021 of the 10Gbps connectivity between China and Europe. The MoU also identified new cooperation opportunities in the context of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) initiative and CSTCloud and joint user engagement activities. The 100Gbps transmission circuits of the AsiaPacific Europe Ring (AER) between Tokyo and Amsterdam, and London and Singapore (CAE-1) have also performed well.
Preparations to extend the first EaPConnect project to June 2021 were made with the EC in order to implement the spectrum IRU connectivity for the route of Chisinau, Moldova, to Kiev, Ukraine, and Poznan, Poland. The five-year EaPConnect2 project started on 1 July 2020. Preparations were made for an Indefeasible Rights of Use (IRU) connectivity tender for Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and baselines were defined for other work areas, to take place in the second project.
GÉANT continued to participate in the ANA (Advanced North Atlantic) collaboration, providing a 100Gbps link between Paris and New York. Capacity across the North Atlantic increased to 1Tbps on ten diverse routes, with the addition of a new link between New York and Amsterdam, provided by the NSF-funded NEA3R (Networks for European, American and Africa Research) project coordinated by the International Networks team at Indiana University, and supported by GÉANT, NORDUnet and the UbuntuNet Alliance. GÉANT signed a new agreement with ESnet for the continued provision of connectivity and colocation services on the GÉANT backbone, with the intention of increasing the London-Amsterdam-Geneva ring for ESnet to 2x 100Gbps in 2021.
Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East
Lebanon’s connectivity was increased to 5Gbps to cater for the shift to online learning during the pandemic. Jordan’s 1Gbps international connectivity was re-tendered to optimise the network performance for SESAME, the synchrotron facility and major science hub in the Middle East. GÉANT signed agreements with the NRENs serving Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates allowing them to connect with the GÉANT network. GÉANT and ASREN have commenced discussions with the EC about the possibility of a follow-on project after EUMEDCONNECT3 ends in December 2021.
Russia and Central Asia
GÉANT and SRISA, the Scientific Research Institute for System Analysis of the Russian Academy of Sciences, agreed to establish a 10Gbps interconnection and signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The deployment of the interconnection was delayed due to the pandemic and the travel restrictions. Since the CAREN project ended in December 2019 connectivity with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan has been maintained via an interconnection agreement with the regional organisation CAREN CC.
Significant progress was made in the BELLA (Building the Europe Link to Latin America) project. Manufacture of the EllaLink submarine cable system was completed and deployment of the cable started, with landings completed in both Fortaleza, Brazil, and Sines, Portugal in December. BELLA connectivity on the EllaLink cable system is expected to be operational in June 2021. The BELLA IRU on EllaLink will provide for R&E data exchanges and the transmission of Copernicus data between Europe and Latin America for 25 years.
In 2020 and together with our NREN partners, the Research Engagement and Support team continued to work closely with a range of large pan-European research groups, including EUMETSAT, the European Space Agency, the Human Brain Project, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). In particular, we:
Increased our collaboration with the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking, with the aim of working together towards addressing the needs of the European Exascale program, from the technical, organisational and financial points of view.
Continued to contribute and support many of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially quality education, inclusive infrastructure for innovation, and global partnerships for sustainable development.
Are supporting research in the field of Quantum Communication and Quantum Key Distribution, by collaborating with international organisations, hardware vendors and European NRENs.
Increased participation in the ITER energy research project, leading to the pilot for the Authentication and Authorisation for Research and Collaboration Blueprint Architecture (AARC).
Trust & Identity
In any human interaction, who you are and whether you can be trusted are fundamental. In our online interactions, Trust & Identity (T&I) services have become just as important, underlying mobile work and study, and the ability to access information and services from a range of sources. Despite the impacts of COVID-19 during 2020, GÉANT’s T&I activities have gone from strength to strength.
Use of the eduroam WiFi roaming service reduced by around 30%, due to pandemic travel restrictions, yet still registered over three billion national and international authentications.
Participating locations increased with the addition of Ghana, Indonesia, Laos, Palestine, Rwanda and Greenland, 300+ off-campus hotspots across Uganda, and even vending machines in Kyoto, Japan.
In May, eduroam became a launch partner in the Wireless Broadband Alliance on Open Roaming, the WiFi industry association formed to promote interoperability and excellent user experience.
REFEDS and eduGAIN
REFEDS, ‘the voice of research and education identity federations’, supported a campaign that made it easier for researchers to join in collaborations formed rapidly in response to COVID-19; hosted sessions at Internet2 CAMP and ACAMP meetings; completed consultations on six topics; and issued an annual survey of federation operators. The REFEDS Sirtfi working group and eduGAIN security team published the eduGAIN Security Incident Response (SIR) Handbook. The eduGAIN training team, which was created to provide training on request, updated ‘approved’ training material and delivered a (remote) training event for ASREN. The eduGAIN interfederation service grew to 71 federations (from 66 in 2019) and 7000+ entities (from 5680) by the end of 2020. In October, eduGAIN welcomed the China Science and Technology Cloud (CSTCloud), which supports over 100,000 researchers.
Launched in February 2020, InAcademia allows students and staff from participating institutions to access or buy online services and products, while protecting their privacy. The Netherlands, Germany and Denmark were the first to adopt the service.
By April, the InAcademia team signed up one of the world’s largest identity verification aggregator companies, which gives access to a range of well-known online brands and services.
By autumn, user validations were taking place in those countries and Spain, which joined in September. Generation of the first invoice was a welcome milestone – and any future surplus will be ploughed back into GÉANT T&I activities.
MyAcademicID and EDSSI
The MyAcademicID project focused on developing a European student e-identity scheme by integrating eduGAIN and the European Student Identifier, and establishing digital bridges between them and the eIDAS interoperability framework. This Student eID allows users to identify and register themselves electronically at higher education institutions (HEI) and to access student services needed to participate in Eramsus+ student mobility. GÉANT and other MyAcademicID partners worked with key players in the Erasmus Student Card Initiative, paving the way to digitise the Erasmus+ programme student mobility process.
In November 2020, GÉANT delivered the MyAcademicID Identity and Access Management (MyAID IAM) platform and connected the first Erasmus+ service, Online Learning Agreement. The MyAcademicID team revisited the format of the European Student Identifier developed previously by the European Student Card Project and published new specifications to make it future proof. The EC’s Directorate General for Education and Culture, DG EAC, told 800 European HEI participants in the ‘Erasmus Going Digital’ workshop to join their national research and education identity federation and eduGAIN – a welcome endorsement of the federated identity management approach championed by the GÉANT community. Licia Florio of GÉANT explained how to do so and the benefits.
The European Digital Student Service Infrastructure (EDSSI) project continues work started by MyAcademicID, with GÉANT as a partner. The kick-off was held online in October.
eduTEAMS enables the creation and management of virtual teams and secure access and sharing of resources and services, using federated identities from eduGAIN and trusted identity providers.
In 2020, eduTEAMS saw significant growth, as it delivers Authentication and Authorisation Infrastructure (AAI) services for ESFRI cluster research infrastructures in the EOSC context; HPC infrastructures in the context of EuroHPC and the wider HPC community; and digitisation of student mobility in the European Student Card Initiative context.
The team worked with the photon and neutron community on the new Umbrella AAI that allows seamless access to data and data services across EOSC and PaNOSC, and with EOSC-Life cluster on the Lifescience AAI that will provide unified access across 13 research infrastructures that are part of EOSC-Life. eduTEAMS was selected for the federated AAI for the Social Sciences and Humanities Open Cloud (SSHOC) cluster research infrastructure.
The FENIX research infrastructure AAI became operational, enabling access to resources to support the Human Brain Project and other key scientific initiatives.
Elevating European research clouds to new heights
The COVID-19 pandemic greatly accelerated the demand for Cloud services in the Research and Education field. Throughout the past year, GÉANT continued to support NRENs and institutions in their cloud strategies and increased its efforts in ensuring continued access to services, facilitating distance learning, and by making available to the community non-commercial and open-source tools as the web-conferencing service eduMEET and the e-learning platform OpenUp2U.
Towards the new framework
2020 was a decisive year for Open Clouds for Research Environment (OCRE), the ground-breaking project aiming to enable agile consumption of commercial cloud services for more than 10,000 research institutions in 40 European countries.
With an estimated value of €600 million, the OCRE IaaS+ tender was published in April 2020 and executed throughout the year. The tender received a total of 1,100 bids, which were scored and evaluated by the OCRE team, resulting in the award of 473 framework agreements.
The OCRE IaaS+ cloud framework greatly expanded and superseded the previous GÉANT IaaS cloud framework, seamlessly replacing the existing contracts.
Finally, OCRE made its IaaS+ offering available via the new OCRE Cloud Catalogue, providing a wide and varied portfolio covering both IaaS and commodity cloud, as well as SaaS and PaaS.
Answering to the needs of the research and education community during the global pandemic, the team of Cloud managers across European NRENs came together and assembled a list of community and commercial distance learning and cloud-based services.
OCRE was also one of the main focus areas of the GÉANT Clouds team, with NRENs actively involved in shaping the tender and procurement process, working to ensure a seamless transition to the new framework and aligning national perspectives during bi-weekly NREN Cloud Forums.
eduMEET, the WebRTC web-conferencing platform developed within the GÉANT project, reached the production stage, and was officially launched. The Clouds team also announced the opening of the Community Cloud Flow Platform Beta Programme, which aims to allow NRENs and Institutions to aggregate their cloud infrastructures to manage them as a secure, robust, and flexible integrated cloud platform.
The 2020 edition of CLAW, the crisis management workshop for the GÉANT community took place online and was another success notwithstanding the format change. The annual CLAW event supplies training and exercise to NREN participants from communication and technical (ICT, Security) teams as well as management. Training sessions focus on crisis management: process and human behaviour in crisis handling. The CLAW training package can be deployed by any NREN.
With the growth of working from home and distance learning, the need for secure access to institutional services is increasing across the community. GÉANT, together with support from RIPE NCC, the NLnet Foundation and the Vietsch Foundation developed eduVPN.
eduVPN is about accessing an institute’s network or the Internet using an encrypted connection. eduVPN aims to replace the traditional closed source VPN concentrators by an open-source audited alternative which integrates smoothly with the federated identity environment.
The number of eduVPN instances grew considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic as people were sent home and had to access resources at their university remotely. New instances of eduVPN used as corporate VPNs were deployed in Cyprus, France, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Uganda. These added to the existing deployments in Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa. The software is fully open source and freely accessible.
“In 2020, the considerable shift to remote learning and working illustrates the growing reliance on stable and safe connectivity and information systems. It also emphasises the importance of the GN4-3 WP8 security projects on business continuity, state of the art protection against external attacks, security training and security awareness. In addition, the growing interest in security topics has been mirrored by increased participation in GN4-3 by the NREN community.”
Alf Moens, Senior Information Security Officer, GÉANT
Become A Cyber Hero
This year the GÉANT community successfully ran ‘Become A Cyber Hero’, the first pan-European campaign as part of the European Cyber Security Month 2020 activities.
The objective of the campaign was to encourage end-users to arm themselves against digital threats and feel empowered to protect (themselves and) their organisation.
The initiative witnessed the active participation and collaboration of 19 NRENs whose diverse contributions also included original research papers from European academics.
GN4-3 and GN4-3N
Together with GN4-3N, the GN4 Phase 3 (GN4-3) project is the third step in implementing the actions defined in the 68-month Framework Partnership Agreement established between the GÉANT Consortium and the European Commission. The GÉANT project is a fundamental element of the European e-infrastructure. Through its integrated catalogue of connectivity, collaboration and identity services, GÉANT, together with its National Research and Education Network (NREN) partners, provides users with unconstrained access to communication, computing, analysis, storage, applications and other resources, whenever and wherever needed.
With nearly 600 participants and now with AzScienceNet (Azerbaijan) increasing the number of project partners to 40, GN4-3 represents the largest and most complex of GÉANT’s 16 EC projects. It also accounts for the majority of the organisation’s revenue.
Throughout 2020, GN4-3 has maintained the operational excellence of the established GÉANT services, while still delivering a cost-efficient backbone network. The reliable, secure and state-of-the-art network services offered to researchers and other network users across Europe are exceptional due to the efforts made to ensure their relevance.
The first GN4-3/GN4-3N EC Review took place on 22-24 September 2020, in full-remote mode and with a densely packed agenda, with all Work Package presentations well prepared and informative, including key messages, achievements and successful results.
Input from the Network Infrastructure Advisory Committee (NIAC), formed of CTO-level experts from partner NRENs, continued to ensure GÉANT connectivity procurement and implementation plans across Europe meet the requirements of the GN4-3N project.
The optical line system (OLS) procurement (which resulted in the selection of an Infinera solution) will be the basis for the future-proof next generation of the GÉANT network, while the data centre interconnects (DCIs) now deployed on the majority of the network’s dark fibre routes are enabling cost-effective IP trunk capacity upgrades.
GÉANT’s role in the emerging integrated e-infrastructure landscape helped to coordinate the different strands of integration and consolidation work, including through support for and participation in the EOSC Future project.
In the field of High Performance Computing (HPC), a collaboration agreement was established with PRACE, CERN Open Lab and the SKA Organisation aiming to explore multi-party collaboration in HPC and its application to high energy physics and radioastronomy challenges.
Input and guidance was also provided to standards organisations such as the Open Grid Forum, Internet Engineering Task Force and W3C, with participants’ active involvement in standards development.
The project also collaborated with NRENs outside the EU, for example the Japanese NREN (NII/SINET) signed an MoU on cloud collaboration with GÉANT and presented at the Cloud Forum on 29 May 2020.
GÉANT coordinates 18 partners from eight countries in the Clock Network Services – Design Study (CLONETS-DS) project, which launched on 1 October 2020, for 24 months. This partnership comprises three National Measurement Institutes (NMIs), four NRENs, seven academic laboratories and four industrial partners. The consortium partners complement each other with knowledge and experience and form a unique group capable of building a time and frequency distribution network in Europe.
The CLONETS-DS project aims to establish a pan-European time and frequency reference system as a European Research Infrastructure to serve the European science community. It is based on transmitting ultra-precise time and frequency information via optical fibre. The proposed project builds on several joint European projects and its direct precursor project CLONETS. We now go far beyond previous efforts by designing a sustainable, pan-European, ultra-precise time-and-frequency reference-system available to the European research community. This Research Infrastructure considers user needs, designs the required architecture, engineering models and roadmaps, and develops a sustainability model for the future service, thus strengthening the European research area.
This research infrastructure will enable first class research, foster the collaboration between time and frequency stakeholders across Europe and will put Europe’s research community into a leading position.
GÉANT and the NRENs have been heavily engaged in the EC-funded EOSC projects. In 2020 we were part of the EOSCsecretariat project which played a coordination function, supporting the projects and the EOSC governance. We were also involved in the EOSC Enhance project which is building the EOSC Portal. This built on our previous role in EOSC Hub and eInfra central which developed many of the horizontal building blocks needed to federate services and build the EOSC. In addition to the GÉANT involvement, NRENs are playing leading roles in many thematic and regional cluster projects and continue to pursue key roles in ongoing projects.
This strong engagement in EOSC continues into the forthcoming year. We are a core partner in the EOSC Future project, leading the technical architecture and procurement activities. EOSC Future brings together the e-Infrastructures with thematic Research infrastructures to pursue the federated system of systems approach. In addition, we are building on the HPC-GIG project to continue collaboration with EuroHPC and foster alignment with EOSC. The NREN community is also well represented in the formal governance of EOSC, with GÉANT having been a founding member of the Association, Sarah Jones of GÉANT and Ronan Byrne of HEAnet being elected to the inaugural Board of Directors, and seven NRENs nominated as Mandated Organisations to represent national interests in the EOSC Association.