Data takes over
In recent years, data has become an asset that demands our full attention. The network remains a great strength, but it has also become a commodity. It is what it allows us to build above it (above-the-net) that now counts more than the technology itself. The data that is exchanged rapidly and in complete confidence via research networks must be findable, accessible and reusable by those who need it, whatever the operating mode (FAIR data). The role of the NRENs in this area is of paramount importance, and it is therefore not surprising to see the NREN members of GÉANT fully embracing the principles of Open Science and collaborating on projects such as the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).
... and their safety must be guaranteed
This data is often not just any data. Some of it is sensitive, while others will lead to revolutionary discoveries. They must therefore be protected. Here too, the research networks invest a great deal of time and energy, guaranteeing their communities strict compliance with cybersecurity standards. Cybersecurity is one of the objectives of the GÉANT 5.1 project. The conference was therefore an opportunity to organise a 'Security Day' bringing together both technical experts and communication experts from the research networks. User awareness is a key factor in the fight against cybercrime.
Security will also feature prominently at the next TNC, to be held in June 2024 in Rennes, the home of France's cyber centre of excellence and home to a large number of cybersecurity training courses.
Room for youth
For a number of years now, the conference has given young students the opportunity to present an innovative project at the conference, giving them the chance to rub shoulders with a host of experts, particularly IT experts, from research networks around the world. This year, these presentations resonated even more with the conference theme of digital generations. Yes, today's young students and researchers are what we call digital natives. They were born into a world where the Internet already played a major role, helping to make this tool as common as water or electricity. They are also the ones who will create tomorrow's Internet and transform its uses, like Félix Gaudin, a final-year student at UCLouvain, who has been selected to give a lightning talk (a 5-minute presentation) during one of the conference's plenary sessions. Read More
Youth also refers to the so-called emerging research networks. Countries that are trying to build up a national research network, as we did 30 years ago, thus opening up access to international collaboration for their academics and researchers. This year, our colleagues from Bosnia, Peru and Malawi were able to join us at the conference before finally joining the great global research and education network.