In the past five years, the relationship has grown stronger between the research and education community in Moldova and RENAM, the national research and education networking organisation that serves it, with support from the EU-funded EaPConnect project.
The first EaPConnect project ran until the end of June 2020 and is followed by a second project that is building on the successes of the first phase. So what were those successes from the RENAM perspective?
RENAM’s network infrastructure capacity was upgraded by 100% when a 100 Gigabit-per-second (Gbps) link was installed between Chisinau, Moldova, and Bucharest in Romania in 2018. The new link provided around 50 Moldovan research and education institutes, libraries and universities with improved network connectivity, access to online resources, and opportunities for international collaboration. A new cross-border optical connection also provided two 10 Gbps channels that gave both direct access to the GÉANT pan-European network’s point of presence in Bucharest and direct peering with the Romanian network RoEduNet. These improved network connections allow Moldovan students, researchers and academics to better collaborate with their peers in Romania and other countries and participate in international research projects.
Network connectivity has been a critical element for medical practise in Moldova. RENAM and the Emergency Medicine Institute in Chisinau have an 18-year cooperation; stable Internet connection is critical for emergency medical services. With the support of the EaPConnect network upgrade and other resources such as computer processing and storage, the need – which has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic – to collect, store, and access medical images has been met. For patients, this means more accurate diagnoses and more successful treatment.
between 2015 - 2020
imaged per day
accessing the medical imaging data online
eduroam keeps growing
From its beginnings as a WiFi roaming service with 5 service locations in the country in 2015, eduroam in Moldova reached 20 service locations by March 2020, registering 44400 national and 12141 international successful authentications by users in 2019. Connecting Moldovan scientific researchers, university staff and students via eduroam is a key priority for RENAM, as it gives them greater mobility to work and study in different locations within the country or abroad. Empowered with information and skills gathered during EaPConnect capacity building trainings, RENAM organised seminars on eduroam implementation and technical aspects of the service to support the local community. More and more universities and research institutes have been becoming aware of eduroam and joining the service, to the benefit of an ever-growing number of users.
Engagement with the Moldovan research community
Engaging with research communities has long been a focus within RENAM, but the EaPConnect project’s ‘Enlighten Your Research’ programme brought more opportunities for close engagement with end-users of the network and services. Calls for project proposals, made within this programme during 2017-2019, offered researchers the possiblity to explicitly define their neeeds, and for RENAM to offer the requested support. Moldovan ‘Enlighten Your Research’ winners came from a wide range of fields including high-performance computing, environmental education, medical informatics, and economics.
RENAM’s relationship with its research and education community received a boost from two significant events that were organised in conjunction with EaPConnect. When RENAM hosted the project’s 2018 Eastern Partnership E-infrastuctures Conference (EaPEC 2018), high-level speakers from Moldovan ministries and institutions helped to attract coverage by national media, and the presentation of RENAM services resulted in immediate new subscriptions. In 2019, when RENAM celebrated its 20th anniversary, a number of speakers from the research community gave testimonials to the value of RENAM, its network and services to their research and organisations.
We were motivated to be part of the EaPConnect activities, in particular EaPEC2018 conference, to know more about the available GÉANT network common and specific services and opportunities for participation of local scientists, students and university staff in global research and education collaborations via pan-European e-infrastructures.”
EaPConnect achievements video with subtitles in Romanian
Anticipating outcomes of the second project
‘EU4Digital: Connecting Research and Education Communities’, the second EaPConnect project started on 1 July 2020 and will build on the achievements of the first project. The project partners shared their hopes for the second project in the GÉANT CONNECT magazine.
What does this mean for Moldova?
It is crucial for research teams from Moldova to collaborate with colleagues from the EU and EaP countries, to work with them on joint projects. EaPConnect will support this collaboration by providing extended connectivity, innovative services and by promoting Open Science principles to national research and educational institutions”.