Any digital infrastructure is at risk of destruction or breakdown if it is subjected to bombardment or frequent power outages. In this case, cloud services are a reliable option for securing data and information and for facilitating remote work. In Ukraine, where such conditions have been common during the ongoing conflict with Russia, research and education institutions can access leading cloud platforms with the help of URAN Association, a partner in the EU4Digital: Connecting Research and Education Communities (EaPConnect) project. The urgent topic of gaining access to cloud services was discussed in an online event on 31 January 2023.
Around 800 educators gathered in the January event, which was organised by the Scientist Support Office with the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. In a round-table session on ‘Digital transformation of scientific activities in universities in the context of European integration’, Ukraine’s cloud service needs were discussed.
URAN Association is the national research and education network of Ukraine. In partnership with the pan-European GÉANT Association and the EU-funded OCRE (Open Clouds for Research Environments) project, URAN is helping Ukrainian universities to gain access to cloud services abroad. Representatives of URAN, GÉANT, OCRE and international cloud service providers led the discussion in the round-table session.
Yevhenii Preobrazhenskyi, executive director of URAN Association, introduced the session participants to OCRE. The project, led by GÉANT, acts as an intermediary between commercial providers of cloud services and the research and education institutions that use them. In Ukraine, institutions can apply to OCRE via URAN. “We help to find providers offering the necessary cloud services at a considerable discount, and even EU grants for certain projects,” Preobrazhensyi explained.
David Heyns of GÉANT, OCRE project director, said that leading commercial cloud providers – for example, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services – have been providing Ukrainian universities with free access to their platforms since April 2022. However, he warned participants that these providers will not be able to continue this support for many more months. This means that Ukrainian institutions will soon have to find funds to pay for such services. Such funding should secure the hosting of cloud service systems for at least 30 months, Heyns noted.
The January online event allowed Ukraine’s educators to exchange experiences in the use of digital services, e-infrastructures and Open Science tools, and to discuss the digitalisation of scientific and didactic activities.
A video of the roundtable session is available on the Scientist Support Office YouTube channel.
See the full story on the EaPConnect website.