terena logo
31 October 2011
TERENA General Assembly discusses strategy and new challenges
Prof. Žiga Turk presents the report of the GÉANT Expert Group to the TERENA General Assembly

The autumn meeting of the TERENA General Assembly, which was hosted by Belnet in Brussels on 26-27 October 2011, focused on strategy matters and new challenges for the European research and education networking community. Highlights of the meeting were discussions of the report of the GÉANT Expert Group, which was introduced by the Group's chairman, Prof. Žiga Turk, and of the possible role of GÉANT in the provision of the Public Trans-European Backbone network that is proposed by the European Commission in its budget proposal for 2014-2020. The General Assembly also discussed TERENA's own strategy and the Activity Plan for the year 2012, and adopted TERENA's budget for that year. At a special dinner delegates celebrated TERENA's 25th anniversary.

European strategy and plans

The GÉANT Expert Group was set up by the European Commission in 2010 with the task to articulate a 2020 vision for European research and education networking and identify an action plan for realising this vision. Prof. Turk described the vision developed by the Expert Group and pointed at the recommendations to the European Commission, member states' governments, National Research and Eduction Networking organisations and the European research community that are contained in the Group's final report 'Knowledge without Borders'. The European Commission expects the national and international organisations in the European research networking community to react to these plans and take appropriate actions.

The other guest speaker in the TERENA General Assembly meeting was Kostas Glinos, Head of Unit 'GÉANT and e-Infrastructures' in the European Commission's Directorate-General Information Society and Media. He described the European Commission's proposals to the European Parliament and the European Council for the multi-annual financial framework 2014-2020. Among the more specific proposals in that document is the 'Connecting Europe' Facility, which in turn includes the plan to create a Public Trans-European Backbone, a backbone network interconnecting the networks in the member states that connect public-sector institutions. Kostas Glinos discussed how the existing GÉANT backbone network could facilitate this new public-sector backbone.

TERENA strategy, Activity Plan and budget

The General Assembly heard a presentation by TERENA President Pierre Bruyère on TERENA's own strategic plans. For the short term, these translate into the TERENA Executive Committee's Activity Plan for the year 2012, which was also presented and discussed.

The Activity Plan is closely related to the TERENA budget for 2012, and in its budget proposal the Executive Committee had included a fund of 50,000 euro to enable the development of new initiatives to address the current challenges of the rapidly changing environment of research and education networking. This was supported by the General Assembly, which emphasised the need for TERENA to be more pro-active and agile and react swiftly to new opportunities. However, after an intense debate the General Assembly decided by a narrow margin to amend the budget proposal by not applying an inflation correction to the TERENA membership fees and reducing the budget for new initiatives.

Other agenda items

The General Assembly also heard updates on the ASPIRE foresight study, the TERENA Technical Programme, the task forces TF-CPR and TF-MSP, and the conferences and workshops. Ciena Corporation was admitted as a new associate member of TERENA.

25th anniversary

On the evening between the two meeting days, TERENA and Belnet jointly hosted a dinner to celebrate TERENA's 25th anniversary at a special location. A representative of Commissioner Neelie Kroes discussed in a dinner speech some recent EC policy initiatives and conveyed the Commissioner's congratulations to TERENA.

Further information

The General Assembly meeting documents and the slides of the presentations are available on-line.