The EaPConnect project partners had the opportunity to meet at TNC23, the most awaited event in the international R&E calendar, held in Tirana, Albania on 5-9 June. The project representatives who were able to travel to Albania, not only enjoyed all the proven and tested benefits that attendance at GÉANT’s flagship conference offer, but were also able to take advantage of the time together to strengthen connections, share experiences and start plans for the next official All Hands EaPConnect project meeting that will take place in the beginning of October. But where? Read the whole article to find out.

The conference welcome address by Erik Huizer, GÉANT CEO, made a reference to the serious struggle that some of the community members around the world are currently facing, highlighting the URAN Association in Ukraine and SudREN in Sudan, and this was only the first of many more official mentions, on TNC23 plenary stage, of EaPConnect’s Ukrainian NREN partner.

The EaP partners who attended TNC23 really made the most of the conference, let’s see what they got up to.

RENAM (Moldova)
Colleagues from RENAM, the Moldovan NREN, were involved in discussions with some of TNC23 official partners on the software platforms, tools and services for R&E institutions and also explored opportunities for the application of AWS AI and machine learning tools for research data analysis to benefit Moldovan scientists. The RENAM team also discussed potential collaborations with Microsoft with the objective to provide services and solutions to universities and education institutions in the country, and started making plans with the Italian NREN GARR for the first LoLa (Low Latency technology) event in Moldova – under the auspices of the ‘EU4Digital: Connecting Research and Education Communities (EaPConnect)’ project – that will be organised in conjunction with the Moldovan Academy of Music, Theatre and Fine Arts.

ASNET-AM (Armenia)
The ASNET-AM team also had fantastic and busy week at TNC23. Hrachya Astsatryan, CEO of ASNET-AM gave a presentation on the “Serverless High-Performance Computing over Cloud for efficient workload processing (Shoc)” an architecture which aims to facilitate High-Performance Computing simulations in the cloud. At the meeting “Future directions for NRENs in Open science” Hrachya also presented on the Open Science activities currently taking place in Armenia, from infrastructures to services and digital repositories. The team has started evaluating the possibility of a collaboration with TNC23 partner Amazon Azure, as per OCRE procedures, for the delivery of Azure products in Armenia including training and support of certified specialists.

GRENA (Georgia)
Ramaz Kvatadze, Executive Director of GRENA, commented:

“It is highly beneficial for the international research and education community to attend such a prestigious research and education networking conference and to discuss possibilities of future cooperation that will further benefit all participants and strengthen everybody’s professional links”.

Ramaz, attended the GÉANT General Assembly and was also involved in discussions about the implementation of the recently launched SUBMERSE project which aims to deliver FAIR-compliant State of Polarisation and Distributed Acoustic Sensor data from the already installed telecommunications submarine fibre-optic cables.

AzScienceNet (Azerbaijan)

Rasim Alguliyev, General Director of the Institute of Information Technology commented:

“We are proud to be part of the TNC23 community. Our hope for AzScienceNet is to become a hub between European and Central Asian NRENs, between East and West, by connecting and integrating the R&E networks of Central Asia to the GÉANT infrastructure via AzScienceNet”.

The AzScienceNet executive team took part in discussions with some of TNC23 official partners and OCRE representatives to look at ways to provide R&E organisations in Azerbaijan with access to some of the newest and most innovative education solutions on the market.

URAN (Ukraine) and the Vietsch Foundation

TNC23 standing ovation for URAN
TNC23 standing ovation for URAN

In the closing plenary John Dyer from the Vietsch Foundation gave a memorable presentation about the role of the charitable organisation that has been operating as a channel for the global R&E community in the provision of financial support to URAN and R&E in war-torn Ukraine.  John’s warm and heartfelt speech and the strong and vibrant visuals in his presentation on TNC23’s imposing stage made a lasting impact on the closing plenary audience.

“I dedicate my presentation to the amazing and brave team from URAN who have been fearlessly working through these difficult times. It has been an honour for me and so heartwarming to hear the massive support and solidarity of the whole community for this courageous team.”

John Dyer’s presentation was followed by the most memorable standing ovation for the URAN team.  John asked the audience to join in, saying “Make sure the applause is heard in Kyiv”, it surely was!

The conference’s closing remarks by Erik Huizer included a heartfelt thank you message from Yevhenii Preobrazhensky, the Executive Director of URAN:

“’We are deeply grateful for the generous donations from European NRENs to support the URAN Association. During these challenging times of war and instability, your contributions help us to survive as an organisation, maintain our services, support research and education in Ukraine, and provide jobs and salaries to employees. We continue the fight for survival and freedom, for a worthy future of Ukrainian science and education – and on this path, we still need your support. We appreciate your solidarity and friendship and hope to further strengthen our collaboration. Thank you for your kindness and generosity.”

To send messages of support and goodwill to our friends from URAN, please write to

Next events

On the final day of the conference dedicated to workshops and side meetings, the EAPConnect Communications team took active part, remotely and in person, in the quarterly SIG-Marcomms event that gathers marketing and communications experts from national and regional research and education networks. Presentations and discussions focused on the value of NRENs, major rebranding campaigns and the changing social media scenario.

Naira Kocharyan from the Armenian NREN ASNET-AM, member of the group’s steering committee, closed the meeting announcing that the next SIG-Marcomms will take place in Yerevan, alongside the EaPConnect Project All Hands meeting, in the beginning of October.

To find out more about the forthcoming EaPConnect Project meeting and for information on how to support URAN, please contact Irina Matthews, GÉANT, EaPConnect Project Manager.