Annual Report 2018


Recent years have seen a variety of micro and macro-economic changes for GÉANT, the NREN community and the European environment: from the TERENA and DANTE merger to the unexpected outcome of the British referendum and the current instability in the European political environment.

In this complex scenario GÉANT successfully gathered its strengths and leveraged its resources to face such changes, driven and inspired by the firm belief that Research & Education will continue to collaborate beyond borders in the years to come. One of the strengths of our community is the experience and expertise in dealing with change, and I am confident that with continued support from our members and the European Commission  we will continue to handle change management successfully.

It was the European Commision that brought another significant change not only to GÉANT, but to the entire European Scientific Community. In 2016 it unveiled the European Cloud Initiative with its two main pillars, the European Open Science Cloud and the European Data Infrastructure. Having taken the time to better understand the implications for our community, GÉANT has now fully embraced the entire initiative.

At the end of 2018, GÉANT is a partner in key projects stemming from the European Cloud Initiative and is engaged with other e-Infrastructures more than ever before. On top of that, in November Cathrin Stöver was appointed vice-chair of the Executive Board of the European Open Science Cloud, which is not only an acknowledgement to her personal career, but also a tribute to the entire GÉANT membership.

What could be perceived in these turbulent times as just ordinary business was the submission and positive evaluation of our core project, GN4-3. Together with its sister project for the evolution of the core network GN4-3N, GÉANT will receive 128 M€ from the European Commission in 2019 to 2022. This marks another huge success in 2018, due to a specific focus on long-term funding for the network, we may consider both of them more than a continuation of earlier projects.

However, despite the significant amount of funding, the opportunities inevitably come along with future financial obligations for GÉANT. The discussions during the preparation phase of the proposals revealed the importance of proper planning, but also varying expectations in our membership. With our members we have established a process towards a best possible solution. Finding the best compromises and decsision under appropriate financial conditions will clearly remain a challenge throughout the projects.

If we continue doing this right, GÉANT will become an even more stable, reliable, leading, acknowledged and trusted pan-European organisation supporting Research & Education with future-proof services, governed by a strong European membership, well-embedded in the European  ecosystem and a significant and influential player in global collaborations.

Christian Grimm
Chair of the GÉANT Board

Christian Grimm

Strategy and Vision

Positioning the organisation for the future

Last year, I wrote that the future is Open Science. I am happy to report that this is still the case. Therefore, GÉANT and the NRENs are working hard to support this future and to ensure that the e-infrastructure, for a successful European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), is available and of high quality. In parallel, we are also making sure that the federated access infrastructure for EuroHPC will be available on time. Not only research is opening up and digitising, education is doing that too, and this also requires the support of NRENs that are connecting universities and institutes to our collective network and services.
All these combined efforts aim at making it as easy and as reliable as possible for researchers, teachers and students to cooperate in an international environment. Whether this happens either in an ad hoc bilateral cooperation or in a structured multinational research cooperation, our services should be fit for purpose.
In 2018, GÉANT transformed from an association that owned a UK based Limited company to a Netherlands based association. We dissolved the Limited to complete the DANTE and TERENA merger into GÉANT, started in 2014, in order to be better prepared for the impending UK withdrawal from the EU.

In 2018, we continued to focus on excellent operations of the GÉANT network and services, fully supporting the European NRENs and our international user communities through efficient project management and highly proficient procurements. We spent a great deal of time preparing for the GN4-3 project that started on 1-1-2019, whilst in parallel worked on finishing the multi-year GN4-2 project. We implemented GDPR procedures and vetted all our contracts. And we had a very successful TNC in Trondheim, hosted by Uninett.

GÉANT staff is distributed over the Amsterdam and Cambridge offices and comprises 38 different nationalities. This makes it a true reflection of the community we serve and helps us to do a better job by giving us a better understanding of local cultures. We hosted many workshops, task forces, training sessions and other meetings in our offices and look forward to hosting many more in the future.

“At GÉANT we firmly believe that research and education networks grow stronger by sharing their resources, and that we as GÉANT need to facilitate that sharing in order to build the best possible e-infrastructure for Open Science and education.”

Erik Huizer, CEO GÉANT



GÉANT Community Programme

In 2018, the GÉANT Community Programme continued supporting the exchange of information and best practice and fostering collaborative work to improve services for the community. It enabled and facilitated 33 meetings and workshops that were attended by over 1400 participants, welcoming regular members of the community as well as new participants.

Special Interest Groups and Task Forces

Special Interest Groups and Task Forces’ activities and stimulating discussions generated 61 stories (news articles and blog posts). SIG Marcomms celebrated its 15th anniversary. Two new Task Forces were created to meet specific requirements within the NREN community: TF Data Protection Regulation (TF-DPR) and TF Research Engagement Development (TF-RED).


The second Crisis Management Workshop CLAW 2018 took place in Malaga on 11-13 November with record participation of 60 representatives from security, network operating centres and marcomms from the global NREN community.
The increased popularity and success of CLAW demonstrates that one-off workshops are a growing integral part of the programme.


TNC18, hosted by Uninett, took place in Trondheim, Norway on 10-14 June and registered record participation and high levels of engagement and interest from the global GÉANT community. GÉANT’s blog site captured many of the most significant highlights.









Emerging NREN Programme

TNC18 witnessed the launch of the Emerging NREN Programme aimed at bringing professionals from European and global emerging NRENs to TNC18 and integrating them into the international R&E community.
Emerging NRENs from around the world were invited to nominate representatives to take part in the programme: 10 female and 8 male participants from 18 organisations in 16 countries were successfully selected to attend TNC18.
Every participant was been paired with GÉANT or NREN personnel according to common professional interests to facilitate relationship building. Submissions of Lightning Talk proposals were actively encouraged, specific assistance and coaching throughout the process was provided and four Lightning Talks, all presented by female participants from Africa, made it through to the Lightning Talks Plenaries.

Working with e-infrastructures

In what is a changing environment, one thing is constant: the desire and need to collaborate with others to best serve the research and education community, and support the efforts of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and European Data Infrastructure (EDI).

In 2018, GÉANT maintained and increased our close collaboration with all our e-infrastructure partners and through strong partnerships secured key roles in the EOSC Executive Board, EOSC Secretariat project, PRACE 6IP project and support to HPC governance project – additionally we continued our work in both the EOSC pilot and EOSChub projects.

In October, and together with EOSC-hub, OpenAIRE and PRACE, GÉANT organised and hosted Digital Infrastructures for Research (DI4R) 2018, an event that brought together 400+ researchers, developers and service providers with a programme of sessions, posters and networking opportunities. The third in a successful series of events, DI4R has helped to instil the ambitions of EOSC in the research and education community, and laid the foundations for the event that will follow on from it, the EOSC Symposium which will take place in late 2019.

International Relations

GÉANT reaches over 100 countries worldwide via extensive global partnerships and GÉANT-managed networking projects. In 2018, extensive collaboration activity featured:

In West and Central Africa, the AfricaConnect2 project continued apace: WACREN established international connectivity for the NRENs of Ghana and Nigeria, and a 10Gbps interconnection with London; connectivity procurements for Togo, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali were started; and in North Africa, AC2 re-established international 1Gbps connectivity for Tunisia and Morocco.  

In the EUMEDCONNECT3 region, Lebanon created its own NREN (TechCARE) jointly with four other national universities; and in Jordan SESAME continued to benefit from the 1Gbps JUNET connection; efforts are also underway to re-connect Palestine.  

As part of the CAREN project, Kyrgyz and Tajik R&E communities continue to be connected to their peers in Europe and the rest of the world via 1Gbps circuits between Bishkek and Dushanbe and between Dushanbe and the CAREN network hub in Frankfurt, where they interconnect with the GÉANT network. Efforts were made to also re-establish project participation for Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan is also eligible to join.

 With the addition of Moldova in 2018, EaPConnect now connects all six EaP countries to the GÉANT backbone and the project has continued deploying a portfolio of new services in collaboration with EU NRENs. The 3rd EaPEC conference was hosted by RENAM in Chisinau, attracting over 150 participants, and extensive work completed around capacity building for the NRENs and amongst users and around overall sustainability of EaP NRENs. 


The BELLA Programme (Building the Europe Link to Latin America) will provide long-term sustainable connectivity between Europe and Latin America whilst also enabling a significant reduction of latency for traffic between the two regions in the next 25 years. In August 2018 GÉANT and RedCLARA, the Latin American Research and Education Network, announced the signing of an Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) contract with EllaLink for spectrum on a direct submarine cable connecting Europe and Latin America. In December 2018 EllaLink and Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) finalised agreements for the construction of the submarine fibre optic cable system that will support the transatlantic BELLA IRU. BELLA will support research and education networking between the two continents for the 25-year lifetime of the system. It is forecast that the first data packets will start flowing across the EllaLink submarine cable system by the end of 2020.  Funding for the transatlantic IRU is provided by the European Commission (DG CNECT and DG GROW) and the Brazilian NREN, RNP. 


GÉANT Learning and Development (GLAD)

GÉANT Learning and Development (GLAD) Team recorded another fruitful and eventful year.  Here’s a summary of the team’s achievements in 2018.

  • Sourced and delivered TMForum, a face-to-face training event leading to the achievement of 16 industry certifications on managing digital transformation (https://www.tmforum.org/)
  • Coordinated the effort to achieve 31 new ITIL certifications (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)
  • Deployed Lynda Learning (now LinkedIn Learning) for GÉANT Association staff
  • Developed new e-learning module for AARC: Policy Development toolkit https://e-academy.geant.org/moodle/course/view.php?id=16
  • Organised specialised eduroam deployment training events for the following NRENs: AMRES, ASREN and CyNET.
  • Organised 13 face-to-face training events for GN4-2 participants

Future Talent Programme

15 bright IT students were nominated by 8 European NRENs to submit their best ideas for TNC18 and follow a training course, provided by GÉANT Learning and Development (GLAD).
The selected students were given the opportunity to participate in the Lightning Talk Challenge or in the Poster Pursuit, both initiatives aimed at offering finalists the opportunity to experience TNC for the first time and introducing them to the international R&E community.

The following European NRENs took part in the programme:
5 Student Lightning Talks, 4 Student posters, 9 new topics proposed.



The GÉANT network continues to deliver cost-effective and extremely high performance for all users, and remains a fundamental element of Europe’s ICT landscape. Together with our NREN members, the pan-European network interconnects 50 million research and education users around Europe and provides onward connectivity to our global partners, reaching 100 countries worldwide.  

In 2018 not only was a substantial amount of work completed in preparation for the renewal of the entire network starting in 2019 (the GN4-3N project), but ongoing improvements ensured the highest operational excellence of the network.  

In particular, the IP backbone trunks of GÉANT’s ‘Western Ring were upgraded to 200Gbps (London-Amsterdam-Frankfurt-Geneva-Paris-London); nine NRENs upgraded their access capacity to GÉANT, with DFN, Jisc and RENATER becoming the first NRENs to connect to GÉANT at 200Gbps; and RASH, the Albanian NREN, was also connected to the GÉANT network, with a 2Gbps private circuit from Tirana to Milan 

In addition, Infinera Groove G30 Data Centre Interconnects (DCI) devices were implemented on the LondonAmsterdam route, providing a GÉANT alien wave over SURFnet fibre. This link is the first step in upgrading the Western Ring to provide a 300Gbps DCI loop, which will reduce the overall costs of the network, increase capacity and free up valuable equipment to extend the life of the Infinera switching fabric in advance of the next generation GN4-3N project.  

Learn more about GÉANT's pan-European Network

Trust and Identity

Over the past few years, Trust and Identity has become a significant part of not only of the GÉANT project, but also of Research and Education in general and it is not hard to see why.  Students, staff and researchers are both becoming more mobile; visiting, working and collaborating around the world, but are also accessing information and services from a huge range of global providers and systems.
2018 has seen both established services such as eduroam and eduGAIN reach new audiences, but also the launch of new services to address the developing needs of the community.  

eduroam and eduGAIN

eduroam is now available in 101 countries and supports over 4 billion authentications per year demonstrating the value of European and Global collaboration for R&E.  The #love2eduroam campaign was designed to raise awareness of eduroam with institutions, users and other stakeholders and generated 1,000,000 impressions in 6 months (July-Dec) with 31 NRENs taking part. 

eduGAIN now is used by 60 Identity Federations around the world with nearly 5,500 entities (Identity and Service Providers) actively using the service.


eduTEAMS and InAcademia

Adding value to the T&I service portfolio, eduTEAMS and InAcademia are offering effective virtual organisation management and a lightweight authentication service respectively. The growth in these services will further enhance the Trust and Identity offerings of NRENs.


AARC Project

Over the past four years, the two AARC projects have created a suite of information, tools, templates, guidelines and training to support AAI technical and policy requirements. Although the second AARC phase ends in April 2019, the key products of the project will continue to be available to support future AAI developments.  These projects have shown how GÉANT’s expertise has contributed to the enhancement of AAI facilities across the R&E community.

Development of guidelines and the Blueprint Architecture will continue in other forums, such as AEGIS, REFEDS and FIM4R.


Cloud Services

Consolidation, Expansion and Growth

Using the cloud services in the GÉANT framework offers advantages to institutions. It reduces capital expenditure and increases flexibility by using a wealth of available online services. Institutions no longer have to worry about over-provisioning of in-house services that are not required or having to expensively upgrade services that prove to be less popular than anticipated.  

As a result of the work of GÉANT,

  • 300 institutions in 18 European countries are using the GÉANT Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) framework agreements to access market leading commercial cloud service providers.

This framework enables them to acquire cloud services in a safe and easy manner. The framework has been through a rigorous EU compliant tender process which removes the need for institutions to run their own tender procedure.

The institutions benefit from reduced costs and tailor-made service offerings, which they can access through ready-to-use agreements under local law. The institutions have collectively consumed more than €13 million of commercial cloud services. 


User Communities

Together with our NREN partners,
GÉANT continues to support large pan-European research groups. In 2018:

Support was provided to the design of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) European Regional Data Centre via the AENEAS project.
Collaboration and support to PRACE was also expanded, supporting the deployment of monitoring infrastructure and piloting of eduTEAMS for access to HPC resources.
A new dedicated link to the Copernicus data hub was installed which supports 65% of Copernicus downloads globally in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).
Participation in the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) was also enhanced, leading to pilots for eduroam and eduGAIN in Brazil with the World Meteorological Office (WMO) as well as research and education capacity building in Africa and Asia/Oceania.

Showing our impact

GÉANT launched IMPACT, a new way to show not only how GÉANT and the NRENs support amazing projects within research communities such as Earth Sciences, Social Sciences and Physical Science, but to further raise the profile of GÉANT’s research engagement team, who travel the world visiting organisations, conferences and workshops toexplain how researchers, students and academics can make the most of GÉANT’s connectivity, trust & identity and cloud services.

GN4 Project Update

The GÉANT Project is by far the largest and most challenging of the 20+ projects that GÉANT is engaged with, accounting for 70% of the organisation’s revenue.
As a fundamental element of the European e-infrastructure, it serves the evolving landscape of both the European Data Infrastructure (EDI) and European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) by providing a safe and secure digital access environment for researchers and students.
The GÉANT Network 4, Phase 2 project (GN4-2) ended in December 2018 and is the second of three phases in the 68-month Partnership Framework Agreement, which began with GN4-1 in May 2015.
Throughout 2018, the project continued to maintain operational excellence across a portfolio of connectivity, trust & identity and cloud services, increasing collaboration with its users and other e-infrastructures, and developing a range of new or improved services and tools to enable and enhance the capability of research and education. In parallel it achieved economies on the costs of the backbone network, and delivered excellent value for money across the project, despite a widely distributed resource of over 600 contributors, from 38 partners, providing 190 FTEs.
The project fully achieved its objectives and milestones, and as stated in the GN4-2 Period 2 EC review, “The project has delivered exceptional results with significant immediate or potential impact.”
GN4-2 has been succeeded by the GN4-3 project that started on 1 January 2019.

The GN4-2 project is co-funded by Europe’s NRENs and the EU. As part of the GÉANT 2020 Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA), the project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 731122 (GN4-2).



Consolidated financial report 2018.

Download a printable PDF version of the Financial Statements below.