Leonie Schäfer of DFN and Veronika Di Luna of GÉANT have taken over management of the EU-funded EaPConnect project, with effect from 1 September 2018.

EaPConnect is developing network connectivity and services for the research and education communities in Eastern Partnership countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The six beneficiary partners – the national research and education networks of those countries – welcomed Leonie and Veronika to their new role.

The former EaPConnect project manager, Maria Minaricova, left GÉANT and the project at the end of August to pursue a new opportunity. The EaPConnect project partners thanked her for all her contributions to EaPConnect and wished her well in her new position.

Leonie and Veronika have both been closely involved with EaPConnect in different capacities since the project began; their new shared role in leading the whole portfolio of project activities will be an opportunity to make greater use of their wide range of skills and expertise.

About Leonie Schäfer

Leonie’s previous role in EaPConnect has been to organise the annual Eastern Partnership E-infrastructures Conferences (EaPEC) and many of the knowledge-building workshops. Within DFN, the German NREN, Leonie is responsible for International Liaisons, fostering collaboration with GÉANT members and international partners. In this and many previous posts, Leonie has a long experience of managing international research projects, coordinating with partners, preparing and evaluating project proposals and overseeing events.

Originally trained in computer science, Leonie worked as a software developer and researcher before moving into project management. With past roles including Project Officer at the EU Commission and subsequently Consultant for EU Research Programmes, she also has a strong EU background and understanding.

About Veronika Di Luna

Veronika has been in the research and education networking community for four years, working as a GÉANT International Relations Officer and in the international projects finance team. She supported a range of EU-funded development projects, in particular focusing on developing new initiatives to support the growth and strategic development of partner R&E networking organisations in Africa and Central Asia. She also coordinated the first GÉANT Emerging NRENs programme that helped emerging NRENs integrate into the global R&E networking community through various activities and synergies.

Veronika’s educational background in Globalisation, Ethnicity and Culture from the University of Sussex and her fluency in Russian language are of added value to the project.