With 2016 just beginning, Georgia and Armenia have started to implement links to the GÉANT network, as part of the EU-funded EaPConnect project.

Yerevan and Mount Ararat, Armenia

EaPConnect aims to create a modern digital environment for innovations and collaborations in the Eastern Partnership region –Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – by providing advanced e-infrastructure and services to students and researchers and integrating them in the European research area.

GRENA and ASNET-AM are established networks which have been connecting the main research and education institutions in Georgia and Armenia for two decades already. Two 1Gbps links to GÉANT will now enable over 50 universities and research institutes locally to join the European research and education community and collaborate with their peers across borders. Researchers in Georgia and Armenia already work with global partners such as CERN in high-energy physics, meteorology, climate change, and seismology.

Next to join in is Azerbaijan, which has started contract negotiations to connect their national network, AzScienceNet, to GÉANT. There is also a tender under way to link the Belarus network, UIIP NASB, to the pan-European network.

We expect the Eastern Partnership countries to be fully connected to GÉANT by the end of 2016. For the European research and education community, this enlargement will provide a welcome addition of expertise in the fields of physics, climate change, disaster prevention or life sciences.