GÉANT organisation and community strategy focal point of 8th
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.
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, NRENs 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
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
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
Other businessThe 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.
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.