Blog - TNC 2019: digital societies centred around collaboration and trust

From 16 to 20 June, Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, hosted TNC, the conference organised by GÉANT, which brings together the national research networks in Europe and other continents.

Estonia was the ideal host city for a conference on innovation.
Why? Because Estonia is the digital state par excellence. The country’s digital strategy is not headed by a minister but by a CIO (Chief Information Officer). The tone has been set and now Estonia is doing its utmost to become an increasingly digital society. 
All administrative formalities are done online and all data is saved in the cloud. Today, 50% of all Estonians do not vote with pencil and paper, but online. (Watch the presentation held on Monday 17 June, Strengthening the Estonian Society with Technology during the Opening plenary)
Needless to say, trust is essential for the population to entrust digital tools with the management of their personal data. 

That is an element shared with the national research networks, which also ran as a thread throughout the conference.
In the world of research networks, universities and innovation, the keyword is collaboration. After all, without collaboration between researchers from different universities and countries, there would be fewer scientific advancements. Moreover, without collaboration between the different research networks, there would be less innovation. That being said, trust and collaboration go hand in hand. (Watch the presentation held on Monday 17 June, Why communities matter ) When a community entrusts research networks with meeting its needs, it should be able to rely on those national research networks anywhere and anytime, because concrete societal projects depend on them.

That is exactly what we witnessed during this four-day event. Several speakers gave us an overview of the ongoing collaborations and the latest developments. The participants also had the opportunity to debate future challenges. (Watch the presentation held on Wednesday 19 June,  5G: pan-European mobile research capabilities)
 
 

TNC19

TNC brings together all research networks, but the presentations held during this four-day event have shown that the national research networks do not exist in a isolated bubble, but by their very existence they require interaction with their communities and users. (Watch the session held on Wednesday 19 June,  Cloud user stories)

The focus was also on the innovations launched by GÉANT and the different national research networks for the benefit of their community, as well as the projects set up by the community based on the tools developed by the different national research networks. (Watch the sessions held on Monday 17 June and Tuesday 18 June, Lightning Talks)

Needless to say, there was also scope for ‘technical’ subjects, more specifically linked to the network that lies at the basis of all other applications. (Watch the session held on Wednesday 19 June, Network automation and monitoring or on  Tuesday 18 June,  Next generation networks in the UK, USA and EU).

However, undoubtedly the strongest asset of TNC 2019 is the strengthening of the societal role of national research networks,
from the efforts to reduce disparities with a key focus on the emerging research networks and communities (AfricaConnect and  EAP Connect among others) to the nurturing of the new generation through the ‘Future Talent Program’, which allows students to present their project before the international R&E community.

One of those students was Pierre, who studies at the Condorcet - Hainaut Provincial High School and joined the process through a call issued by Belnet.
He presented his project during the conference. Both for him and for the other students at the conference, this was an exceptional learning opportunity, which allowed them an insight into a world of new possibilities. (Watch his presentation, held on Tuesday 18 June during the Lightning Talks).

You can find all the presentations held during this TNC in video format by clicking on your preferred topic in the programme

Needless to say, TNC welcomes all members of the Belnet community. This conference is open to anyone from students to staff members of research centres, universities or university colleges, and even government bodies.

We are looking forward to meeting you next year in Brighton (UK) for even more insights on innovation, collaboration and trust.

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