This year, representatives from the EaPConnect project participated in TNC24, the largest and most prestigious research and education networking conference, held in Rennes from June 10-14.

Irina Matthews, EaPConnect Project Manager, comments:

“TNC24 offered EaPConnect beneficiaries the opportunity to strengthen connections, share experiences and just catch up with old friends. I am particularly delighted that EaP NRENs were featured in the conference programme’s plenary and parallel sessions, contributing to the success of one of the most anticipated events in the global R&E community.”

Gilles Massen, Chair of the GÉANT Board of Directors, highlighted memorable moments from TNC23 in his TNC24 welcome address, recalling the standing ovation for URAN during last year’s closing plenary. In the sessions dedicated to URAN within the conference’s Community Hub programme, Irina started her presentation:

“Our thoughts continue to be with our colleagues from URAN who haven’t been able to join us in person since February 2022. We miss them dearly.”

Lightning Talks from Armenia

The Lightning Talks, a popular session at TNC, featured two Armenian researchers from the Institute of Informatics and Automation Problems of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia.

Lightning Talk by Eliza Gyulgyulyan
Eliza Gyulgyulyan giving a Lightning Talk at TNC24

Eliza Gyulgyulyan presented ‘Making Informed Decisions with Data Lakes’, discussing how alerts about poor data quality can help organisations avoid wasting resources and make informed decisions. Eliza told us:

“This was my second TNC, this conference improves every year! Presenting on a grand stage and receiving positive feedback was gratifying, affirming the value of my work. Connecting with fellow Future Talent Programme participants allowed for rich experiences throughout the week. The conference served as a valuable platform for knowledge sharing and networking with scientists and researchers from all over the world. Meeting GÉANT CEO Eric Huizer was undeniably one of the highlights; his energy elevated the event, and I greatly appreciated his valuable advice. I look forward to attending future TNC conferences.”

Lightning Talk by Arusyak Manasyan
Arusyak Manasyan giving a Lightning Talk at TNC24

Arusyak Manasyan’s presentation on ‘Network Performance Optimisation and Equipment Integration Advisory Service’ highlighted the use of simulation tools to optimise network performance and provide tailored recommendations for seamless equipment integration by NRENs. Arusyak said:

“During the event, I had the pleasure of interacting with fellow participants and organisers. It provided a valuable opportunity to connect with many professionals in my field, engage in discussions on various topics and issues, and learning from their perspectives and experiences. Additionally, I attended several sessions that sparked new ideas.”

Creating and Strengthening Connections


In the Community Hub, a recent addition to the TNC programme, EaP Project partners led three entire sessions.

The EaP NRENs, beneficiaries of the project for almost ten years, have significantly benefited from the EaPConnect project in terms of infrastructure and services. Conference participants were invited to meet the EaP NRENs to strengthen international R&E community connections. Two sessions were dedicated to URAN, where Irina Matthews shared a story of strength, resilience and humanity: “Telling a story and listening to a story is a way of building connections”.

During a live stream from Kyiv, Ukrainian colleagues shared with presentations and videos how people and communities live their lives day by day and how communities need to stay connected to maintain their identities to counterbalance the devastating effects of war.

The year ahead

As we approach July 2025, the EaPConnect Project prepares to conclude its remarkable ten-year journey. During this time, the region has experienced a tenfold increase in connectivity, benefiting R&E institutions. Amidst significant geopolitical events that continue to impact the area, we look forward to celebrating the 25th anniversary of RENAM on October 8, following our yearly EaPConnect Project meeting.  We’ve started planning a project final event in Tbilisi, scheduled for the beginning of March 2025. Watch this space for updates.