The value of national research and education network organisations to research communities was highlighted on Thursday 3 October 2019, when the Research and Educational Networking Association of Moldova, RENAM, celebrated its 20th anniversary with an international conference in Chisinau.

Around 90 guests from 33 organisations and 10 countries were welcomed to the ‘RENAM E-Infrastructure – Supporting Excellence in National Research and Education’ event by Ion Tiginyanu, President of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova and Co-President of RENAM.

Ion Tiginyanu welcoming guests at the RENAM anniversary conference., ©RENAM

Joining in the welcome speeches were Gheorghe Guţu from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research; Corneliu Guţu, Pro-Rector for Research and Partnerships at the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova representing the host venue; and Boris Filipov of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova.

It has been 20 years of fruitful efforts; among the main achievements is connection with the GÉANT pan-European network. We wish you success in further development of the national network.”

Boris Filipov, EU Delegation to REpublic of Moldova,

The conference covered a diverse array of topics, with examples from Moldovan user institutions and from other national research and education networks (NRENs) that are collaborating with RENAM through the Eastern Partnership Connect (EaPConnect) project, which is funded by the European Union’s DG NEAR and supported the organisation of the event.

EaPConnect project co-lead Veronika Di Luna (GÉANT) explained how the project provides global connectivity to Moldovan researchers and educators via RENAM and the pan-European GÉANT network. CEO of GÉANT Erik Huizer discussed the value and ‘transformative power’ of NRENs more generally:

Without us, researchers and educators would not be able to exchange data, collaborate or innovate.”

Erik Huizer, GÉANT, CEO
Erik Huizer (GÉANT) presenting at the RENAM anniversary conference., ©RENAM

Testimonials from the research community were given by a number of speakers. Inga Ţiţchiev, Director of the Vladimir Andrunachievici Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science, and Cristian Cojocaru, Head of the Center for Information Technologies and Technical Tools for Training at the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova, talked about the important partnership between their institutions and RENAM. Natalia Golubev, Head of the IT Department at the Emergency Medicine Institute, talked about Open Data in the DICOM Network, which is used for medical imaging data and is supported in Moldova by RENAM. And Viorel Bostan, Rector of the Technical University of Moldova, discussed the opportunities and challenges that have been arising from the increased collaborative potential that has arrived with improved network connectivity: “We are now putting emphasis on an English version of our website because of increasing interest from other countries.”

Other perspectives were given by Chris Atherton (GÉANT) who showed how data and satellite ‘datacubes’ are used by different organisations to accelerate research in various fields. And Sergey Paramonov of Wiley explored what the advent of Open Access means for the relationship between research authors, publishers and readers, and how to get prepared.

Fellow EaPConnect partners delivered presentations that highlighted the range of services and skills that NRENs offer to their research communities. Octavian Rusu explained RoEduNet, the Romanian NREN, which has 15 years of cooperation with RENAM to its credit. Sergei Kozlov showed the benefits of BASNET (Belarus) services. Artur Binczewski showed how PSNC (Poland) helps to solve research challenges and how it fits internationally with RENAM, GÉANT and other partners. And Yevhenii Preobrazhenskyi of URAN (Ukraine), talking about EaPConnect and partners’ network developments and uses said, “Thank you DG NEAR, thank you GÉANT, and to the GÉANT community and RENAM” for all their support over the years.

Peter Bogatencov (RENAM, centre) accepting an anniversary gift from Erik Huizer (left) and Veronika Di Luna (right) on behalf of GÉANT., ©RENAM

Peter Bogatencov, Chairman of the RENAM Management Board, explained RENAM’s creation and its part in the international GÉANT network & community. As the face of RENAM in this international community, he accepted gifts on RENAM’s behalf from his friends and colleagues at ASNET-AM (Armenia), AzScienceNet (Azerbaijan), BASNET (Belarus), GRENA (Georgia), URAN (Ukraine) PSNC (Poland) and GÉANT. Many thanks to all of them and to all the participants of the anniversary conference.