A new partnership agreement for core European R&E e-Infrastructure has been signed. The partnership is the framework for the collaboration of the GÉANT collaboration of the national research and education networks (NRENs) across Europe for the coming seven years. The “GÉANT Framework Partnership” agreement has been negotiated between the EU Commission and a group of NRENs and regional networks including NORDUnet and GÉANT, the European umbrella association for R&E networks. The agreement covers the period 2021-27 as part of the EU program for research, technology, and innovation, Horizon Europe.
“The new framework partnership agreement does not entail any funding but lays out the overall principles for the development of the networks. Based on these principles, the EU Commission will issue specific calls of which the first will come in the near future,” explains Lars Fischer, Strategy & Policy Officer at NORDUnet, and member of the GÉANT Board.
While not a part of the EU administration, GÉANT is a trusted European Commission partner in many collaborative projects and initiatives through its long-standing relationship with the EU.
A cornerstone in GÉANT’s work over the past five years has been the GN4 project, financed by NRENs and by the EU “Horizon 2020” framework program for research, technology, and innovation. The project has involved restructuring the European NREN backbone network through procurement of long-term Indefeasible Rights of Use, leased lines and equipment, providing interconnectivity to the global R&E community.
The new partnership agreement will allow continuation of these activities, explains Lars Fischer:
“A novelty in the agreement is an increased focus on the needs of the European R&E community. While the ambition continues to be creation and operation of a world-leading R&E network for Europe, the framework acknowledges the importance of detailing how current trends in scientific and educational use of data will change the needs for infrastructure. In other words, we need to map the changing needs before we decide on the technology.”
“Also new is an increased focus on data orchestrating. Creating a wealth of scientific data is one thing but securing that data will be available to the relevant user at the right time is often what really creates value for the R&E community.”