ASNET-AM, the Armenian NREN, takes part in the pilot of the new GÉANT NREN Twinning Programme. The goal of the programme, launched under the auspices of the GN5-1 project,  is to share knowledge and foster collaboration between emerging and established NRENs.

Supported by GÉANT and facilitated by the UbuntuNet Alliance, two NREN pairings began work in early October 2023, with one partner from an emerging NREN and one from the GÉANT community.

ASNET-AM and Norway’s Sikt are respectively working with the NRENs of Malawi and Uganda, MAREN and RENU, both members of the UbuntuNet Alliance.

The two pilots will run for six months until the end of March 2024, with the goal of presenting project results at TNC24, GÉANT flagship conference that will take place in Rennes, France in June 2024. If successful, a new series of twinning projects might be launched with more partners worldwide.

Teams at the partnering NRENs decided on a theme or subject they want to focus on and developed a comprehensive work plan with milestones and deliverables to be achieved within the six months timeframe.

In particular, ASNET and MAREN have already initiated a series of virtual meetings centred on High-Performance Computing (HPC). Mutual team visits are scheduled for the second half of the project to further strengthen this collaboration. This partnership is oriented toward comprehensive capacity building, encompassing technical support for IPv6 deployment to address evolving networking requirements, academic CERT establishment, promotion and marketing of NREN services, and realising HPC benefits for specific use cases. Additionally, master classes and training sessions are set to commence in Zomba, Malawi, starting next year.

The RENU – Sikt partnership aims to deploy a new service at RENU, Campus Network as a Service (CNaaS), through capacity building activities and knowledge sharing.

The results of the ongoing pilot will also contribute to a proposal for a GÉANT NREN Twinning programme for the next iteration of the GN5 project. The objective is to anchor the programmes not only in upcoming phases of the GÉANT projects but also in the partners’ alliances, thus creating a secure basis for future cooperation between NRENs worldwide.

We are excited to take part in the NREN twinning programme with MAREN. We believe that this collaboration whilst advancing research and education, promoting knowledge sharing and fostering innovation in Africa, will be mutually beneficial as both our organisations can learn so much from each other. This initiative is crucial for unlocking the full potential of our regions’ academic and scientific capabilities and I am grateful to the GÉANT project for this opportunity.

Hrachya Astsatryan, Director, ASNET-AM