A close-knit community of researchers and educators in Ukraine is a goal with good prospects, following a webinar by URAN Association on 17 December 2020. The webinar ‘What is an NREN and what are its benefits’ was held with the support of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, and European partners representing the EU-funded EaPConnect project and the GÉANT Association.
The purpose of the webinar was to provide the research and education (R&E) community of Ukraine with detailed information about URAN Association, the national research and education network (NREN) of Ukraine: its features and role in building a modern information society; and how, in cooperation with the pan-European GÉANT network, URAN provides significant support to the R&E community.
More than 120 participants joined the meeting. Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Artur Seletskyi welcomed them, noting that the Ministry has always paid great attention to the development of the digital research and education infrastructure of Ukraine.
Connections to GÉANT
Veronika Di Luna, Senior International Relations Project Manager at GÉANT, gave a presentation about the pan-European GÉANT infrastructure and capabilities. The territorial coverage of the GÉANT network has no match, it is the most progressive and developed network in the world and cooperates with similar organisations from other continents. In the EU-funded EaPConnect project, which Veronika manages, GÉANT works closely with the Ukrainian representative URAN Association.
Ukrainian researchers have already been able to appreciate the benefits of transmitting large amounts of data over high-speed regional networks connecting with GÉANT channels: for example the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology, which processes large data sets from CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. Examples of achievements from the EaPConnect project were shown in a video.
“The value of NRENs is not only in their fast and secure connectivity,” Veronika said. This value was particularly evident early in the global COVID-19 pandemic. In a very short time, the international NREN community, URAN included, mobilised to provide comprehensive support to researchers and educators and, coordinated by GÉANT, made available ‘OpenUp2U’ – an open-source suite of online tools for remote education.
Services and benefits
The executive director of URAN Association Yevhenii Preobrazhenskyi spoke about the organisation’s structure, management principles, technical base and achievements. “URAN is your tool, we work for you and your projects,” Yevhenii addressed the webinar participants. “You have the opportunity to influence the NREN’s activities.”
URAN provides access to GÉANT channels and many services, and participates in various projects. The ‘EU4Digital: Connecting Research and Education Communities (EaPConnect)’ project is funded by the European Union under the EU4Digital initiative and aims to expand network infrastructure and services for R&E in the six Eastern Partnership countries while reducing the digital divide. The first five years brought numerous benefits to Ukrainian researchers and educators. The second five-year phase of EaPConnect began in 2020, and URAN is taking an active part in it for the benefit of Ukraine’s R&E community.
Yevhenii Preobrazhenskyi spoke about the services offered by GÉANT and URAN – Internet access, access to international research infrastructures, eduroam, eduGAIN, eduVPN, eduMEET, WebClass, FileSender, penetration tests, URAN Publishing Service, etc. – and he announced forthcoming webinars about these services. He also stressed that the URAN Association is open to new members and is always ready to support its users with their projects.
We told you about the very firm GÉANT community of like-minded people, and we feel its benefits from our own experiences in cooperating with GÉANT. We would like to create such a close-knit community here in Ukraine. That is why we offer you the chance to meet together, discuss issues and tasks that concern us all, seek solutions and share experiences.”
A positive response
Judging by the large number of webinar participants who immediately expressed a desire to subscribe to the URAN mailing list, this call did not leave them indifferent. This means that this webinar was only the first, successful step in the right direction.