​GÉANT organisation and community strategy focal point of 8th General Assembly


GÉANT General Assembly strategy and ​trends workshop

A challenge from visiting EC representative Augusto Burgueño Arjona, a brainstorming workshop, and an overview of the new structure of the GÉANT organisation focused all minds on strategy during the 8th GÉANT General Assembly of member representatives on 16 June 2016.


Organisation restructure

GÉANT CEO Steve Cotter presented the strategic review he had carried out since joining the organisation last November, and how to achieve the community’s long-term strategic goals of driving innovation, providing access to trusted high-quality services, supporting the European knowledge economy and helping to position Europe as the global leader in research and education. Identifying security, software defined networking, trust and identity, and greater influence in policy matters as strategically important areas, he explained the new management structure that is being introduced within the organisation to help attain these goals.


“To seize these opportunities and position Europe, NRE​​​Ns and GÉANT for the future we need to get our house in order to add capabilities, strengthen our service portfolio and value proposition, and we have to offer you, our members, the value. These will be some of the most important years for the GÉANT community since the early days of research and education networking.Steve Cotter

 The reorganisation is part of the DANTE-TERENA merger process that itself was a strategic step by the community, and was unanimously approved by the Board of Directors. It will see an investment in human capital through training, an improvement in business data collection and analysis, and a re-grouping of teams according to complementary business function and with reduced hierarchy. The changes prompted a few questions but general satisfaction from the General Assembly.

A gauntlet thrown

The Head of Unit 'eInfrastructure' at the EC Directorate General for Communication Networks, Content and Technology, Augusto Burgueño Arjona joined the General Assembly only briefly, but issued an interesting challenge to our community. He outlined the EC’s vision to develop ‘digital innovation hubs’ to serve governments, companies and local or regional initiatives, as well as research and education in future, with the GÉANT network and community of NRENs potentially playing an important role, and participation in the European Open Science Cloud as an important first step.

"Can the research and education networking community afford at this time that a new thing is launched and you’re not part of it?" Augusto Burgueño Arjona

Citing both the ‘carrot’ of potential influence on the process if we choose to join in, and the ‘stick’ of no influence once the current Framework Partnership Agreement expires and if we choose against, his talk sparked considerable discussion.

A lively workshop

Following this was an interactive brainstorming workshop in which participants split into smaller groups to address trends in education, identity, mobility and research and their actual or potential impact on strategic developments in research and education networking. Some trends that emerged across these categories were mobility and an immersive environment being needed for researchers and other users across boundaries, and the increasing need for researchers to work with industry and to aim towards concrete products.

The workshop was triggered by feedback in the recent GÉANT Customer Satisfaction Survey; the discussion helped to focus on what NRENs expect from GÉANT and the outputs will be taken forward for consideration in future product portfolios.

Other business

The formal part of the General Assembly meeting, in the morning, also included updates about the GÉANT Community and Programme Planning Committees and the Oversight Committee, the European Open Science Cloud and the BELLA project proposal - agreeing to delegate decision making to the Board of Directors regarding final approval for the signature of contracts, subject to a further cost analysis being provided. The accounts for 2015 were also presented and adopted.

Further information

The GÉANT General Assembly meeting was held in Prague on 16 June, following this year’s networking conference, TNC16.


For more information, please visit the General Assembly wiki pages and the GÉANT governance and membership web pages.