Mentorship scheme for EaP research & education networks starts with Armenia-Germany alliance

  • Date: 25/02/20
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Collaboration on emergency response testing and optimisation of the eduroam wifi roaming service were the subject of two agreements recently signed between the Armenian and German national research and education networking (NREN) organisations ASNET-AM and DFN. 

Representatives met in Berlin as part of a mentorship alliance organised within the EU-funded Eastern Partnership Connect project, EaPConnect.

The mentorship scheme was initiated to create opportunities for practical technical collaboration, as EaPConnect project co-lead and DFN Senior Manager Global Liaison Leonie Schäfer explained:

This was set up as collaboration among equals. There’s a need to collaborate on an expert level, not just a management level and to make Eastern Partnership NRENs more visible and bring them towards the future GÉANT projects. The EaPConnect collaboration programme is a pilot exploring future collaboration on an expert level, set up on a one-to-one basis to intensify the degree of collaboration and make sure that the project partner NREN has a dedicated counterpart.” 

Two-way exchange

Partners from the Eastern Partnership countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine – do not wish to be just ‘consumers’ in this process:“We received so much support from other NRENs. Now we would like to give back. We would like to contribute too, said Sergey Abrahamyan from ASNET-AM.

Besides exchanging technical expertise, the idea is also to learn about other countries and how their NRENs tackle similar challenges.

Exploration and agreement

Five ASNET-AM representatives were hosted by DFN for two days of intensive meetings and discussions on 24-25 January. After exchanging short overviews of how their NRENs are structured and operate, they explored challenges and the possibility of joint projects in the areas of cybersecurity, trust and identity, and network monitoring. Group discussions followed on each topic and the event concluded with a ‘roadmap’ to the next steps.

The group agreed to collaborate on emergency response testing, firewall on demand and DDoS protection, software development and testing. They talked about relevant ISO standards and also the education roaming service eduroam, with insights shared into how best to optimise its set-up.

The possibility of a second EaPConnect mentorship liaison is now being discussed, between URAN of Ukraine and CYNET of Cyprus, with the possibility of further pairings between EaPConnect partners and other European NRENs in future.

The EaPConnect project aims to create a regional research and education network in the EU’s Eastern Partner countries namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The overall objective is to decrease the digital divide, improve intra-regional connectivity and facilitate the participation of local scientists, students and academics in global research and education collaborations.

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