Annual Report 2019


The digital and political landscape in which the GÉANT Association operates has continued to evolve rapidly in 2019. With the wrap up of projects and activities under Horizon 2020 and the start towards a new Multi-Annual Framework (MFF), Horizon Europe, Digital Europe and the second round of the Connecting Europe Facility, GÉANT has been studying the changing landscape throughout the year. We are supported by our new Head of Unit of DGCNCT, Andreas Veispak, who has commenced a dialogue on how GÉANT will evolve alongside the ever-changing environment, which brings new opportunities and challenges. It is predictable that the new European Commission and its new President Ursula von der Leyen who introduced her programme and its priorities-including the Green Deal and the digitalisation of society will continue to accelerate the speed of change. This places GÉANT in the limelight of new requirements coming from Brussels with an impact on 2020 and beyond.

While the outcome of the UK referendum dominated the news in the UK and Brussels, in 2016 steps were taken towards the full merger of DANTE and TERENA to ensure that we could sail the Brexit waters smoothly in 2019.

As we believe that Europe is better together, the NREN community will continue working closely with our UK partner Jisc to prepare for the next TNC, which we started in 2019, but will of course now be held in 2021.

Despite continuous changes, the start of new projects remains a constant for GÉANT. With GN4-3 and GN4-3N, GÉANT entered the last phase of its core project under Horizon 2020. A total funding of €128M until the end of 2022 enables GÉANT to establish a new network and make the European NREN community ready for the challenges of the EC’s 9th framework programme.

2019 ended with an important change for GÉANT: Sabine Jaume-Rajaonia (RENATER) and Ivan Marić (CARNet) decided to leave the GÉANT Board of Directors after five years of service. During the GÉANT General Assembly meeting held in November the community thanked both for their contributions and elected Kerrie Powers (HEAnet) and Kristina Lillemets (EENet) as new members, whilst Andreas Dudler’s (SWITCH) re-appointment was confirmed.

Christian Grimm, Chair of the GÉANT Board

Strategy and Vision

Worldwide scale cooperation

As I am writing this the COVID-19 virus outbreak is wreaking havoc all over the world. In many countries, schools, universities and research institutes have shut down. All of a sudden, all these organisations need to change to online models for teaching, learning and working. Fortunately, GÉANT and the NRENs have the means and the tools to help institutions like these make that transition. If the current situation teaches us one thing, it is the importance of being able to share.

“If we want to share, while working online, this needs to be made easy for users and not blocked by dependencies on proprietary standards.”

This is exactly why GÉANT and the NRENs have always been building on the basis of open standards, open data and open source. This mindset towards open and sharing reflects the community we serve and helps to stimulate initiatives like shared research, online education and shared data.

This, in turn, is very necessary when a solution to face the COVID-19 outbreak must be found.

However, that same mindset struggles with respect to security in the online world. GÉANT and the NRENs also work closely together to assure a secure and safe environment for researchers, teachers and students, while at the same time keeping our services open, accessible and trustworthy. It’s quite a challenge but, again, it reflects the community we serve. And we are continuously expanding our reach and capacity to serve that community.

In 2019 we started expanding our fibre footprint into all corners of Europe. We upgraded our connectivity to south-east Asia and Australia, we continued to build our capacity towards Latin America and worked with our African and Middle Eastern partners to extend the reach of research networking into a variety of countries.
In 2019 we introduced new services in order to continuously meet the demands of the research and education community. Meanwhile our trusted eduroam service reached another milestone, it is now available in more than 100 countries and serves over 12 million authentications per day!

We believe that we need the help of all researchers and teachers in the world to battle the big societal challenges that we are facing. An outbreak like COVID-19 shows us that we can only win those battles if we cooperate on a worldwide scale, sharing our findings and building on each other’s results. GÉANT and the NRENs are here to make that possible in an easy and secure way.

Erik Huizer, CEO, GÉANT



TNC19, Forging Digital Societies, Tallinn, Estonia 16-20 June 2019

The 35th edition of TNC, GÉANT’s flagship conference, took place in Estonia’s capital city, Tallinn, one of the top 10 digital cities in the world. The event was hosted by GÉANT’s local partner EENet of HITSA. TNC19’s theme, Forging Digital Societies combined the idea that computer networks help to create and forge digital societies by supporting human interactions, with the innovative model of Estonia’s e-residency programme.

TNC is the place where our community gathers to shape the future of research and education, forging the society of the future with digital ‘fire’ and passion for innovation and progress. The conference venue, the Kultuurikatel situated in an old Power Plant, was the perfect venue for TNC19.









Best Lightning Talk Award

TNC19 was the stage of the brand new Best Lightning Talk Award. Everybody in the audience and remote viewers voted and chose Renato Furter from SWITCH with his dynamic and musical Lightning Talk entitled “But on <insert favourite service> I get <insert favourite feature> for free!”

GÉANT Community Award 2019

One winner and one category triumphed at the 2019 GÉANT Community Award. This year’s award panel selected the successful nominee in the category ‘impactful contributors to the GÉANT project or wider community activities over a sustained period of time’. Anna Wilson (HEAnet) was honoured for her contribution to research and education networking. In particular, she is seen as ‘the perfect example of how continuous dedication to work can transform society’. The award was presented on Monday, 17 June, during TNC19’s opening plenary.

TNC19 received multiple awards by the Estonian Convention Bureau (ECB) at its yearly gala ceremony.

TNC19 excelled in the Conference of the Year and Smart Technical Solution categories. Examples of the latter category were the innovative technical solutions adopted at the Tallinn Creative Hub, such as the creative use of screens on separate stages in two different halls during the opening plenary, plus the deployment of the largest digital display screen made up of 540 individual LED units. Kristina Lillemets Director of Infrastructure at EENet of HITSA and member of the GÉANT Board of Directors was awarded the title of Conference Ambassador of Tallinn, for ‘her work in international networks and for bringing TNC19 to Tallinn’.


GÉANT Community Programme

In 2019, the GÉANT Community Programme  (GCP) continued supporting the exchange of information and best practice and fostering collaborative work to improve services for the community. It enabled and facilitated 25 meetings and workshops that were attended by over 1300 participants, welcoming regular members of the community as well as new participants.

Special Interest Groups and Task Forces
The GCP launched a new initiative to start the coordination of education-related activities, projects and services, leading to the creation of an NREN educational expert group and an annual survey on NREN educational activities and services. Almost all European NRENs responded, with the results leading to joint activites, for instance in the area of identity management (eduID, MyAcademic ID).  Plans were put in place for the creation of the Task Force Educational Services and Activities (TF-EDU), which received over 50 NREN endorsements globally.

One-off workshops
In 2019 the GCP continued to support and promote one-off workshops which were well-attended by the international community:

  • Security Operations Tools Workshop
  • NRENs Educational Technologies Workshop
  • Public Affairs Workshop

European Open Science Cloud takes off in our community

The new governance for the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) was announced in November 2018 in Vienna and the first meetings of the newly created EOSC Executive and Governance Boards (GB) took place in early 2019. From the very beginning it was clear that the new governance structure was parachuted into a live system of activities, interactions, projects, council decisions and the like, with deliverables and deadlines defined well before the governance was conceived.

The first step of the Executive Board (EB) was the creation of the EOSC Working Groups for Sustainability, FAIR, Rules of Participation, Architecture and Landscape and over the first six months of 2019, appointments were made by the GB to participate in those WGs. Additional subject matter experts for each WG were then appointed from the wider EOSC community or the EOSC-related European Commission projects.

As the GÉANT community, we were very happy to see numerous appointments across all the WGs of NREN colleagues who joined the five national representatives in the GB with an NREN background and Cathrin Stöver as co-Chair of the EOSC Executive Board – together assuring a good representation of the NREN community across all EOSC functions.  Team building workshops ensued, helping to build collaborative relationships between the EOSC EB and GB.

To ensure overall stakeholder engagement two specific EOSC events took place in 2019: a one-day event in Helsinki in October followed by a two day event in November in Budapest.
In addition to the ongoing activities of in the WGs, various NRENs became partners  in the regional EOSC projects, and consequently GÉANT started organising regular virtual infoshares to ensure the GÉANT community remains updated on all areas of EOSC.

Open Science – together with national and regional initiatives, the FAIR principles and EOSC – is here to stay and 2019 has clearly shown that GÉANT and the NRENs are ready to play their respective parts in the development of a robust Open Science structure for Europe.

International Relations

GÉANT reaches over 100 countries worldwide via extensive global partnerships and GÉANT-managed networking projects.
Here’s a summary of  the extensive collaboration activity that took place in 2019.


In West and Central Africa, Togo was connected to the WACREN PoP in Ghana. A connectivity contract was also awarded for Côte d’Ivoire, and procurements were launched for Burkina Faso, Mali and Benin.

The AfricaConnect3 project started with the signature of four grant agreements between the European Commission and GÉANT, ASREN, the UbuntuNet Alliance and WACREN. The project will last for four years, with a total budget for all four grant agreements of €37.5 million, including counterpart funding. The project will focus on procurement activities for connectivity, equipment and cloud services, service deployment, training activities and the organisation of regional events.


GÉANT participated in Collaboration Asia Europe-1 (CAE-1), a consortium of six organisations (TEIN*CC, SingAREN, AARNet, GÉANT, NORDUnet, and SURFnet) that procured a 15-year 100Gbps Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) on the Asia-Europe path between the SingAREN Open Exchange in Singapore and GÉANT Open London, available to all NRENs in Europe. The CAE-1 link was complemented by am MoU for the Asia-Pacific-Europe Ring (AER) signed by the six CAE-1 participants, and NII/SINET and NICT, both from Japan, for 100Gbps mutual back-up between the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.

Eastern Partnership countries

In EaPConnect, connectivity upgrades were implemented for Georgia (3Gbps), Armenia (2Gbps) and Azerbaijan (3Gbps). Preparations were also initiated for the procurement of a long-term IRU to connect Kiev, Ukraine, and Chisinau, Moldova.

The Grant Agreement for the EaPConnect2 project was signed. The project will start on 1 July 2020 with a duration of 60 months and will focus on extending and improving network infrastructure, increasing service offerings and reach, and strengthening EaP NRENs.

Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East

The EUMEDCONNECT 3 project that provides for Eastern Mediterranean countries was extended for two years to December 2021.

Central Asia

The CAREN project ended on 18 December 2019. The CAREN Cooperation Centre (CAREN CC) continues to interconnect with GÉANT in Frankfurt.

Latin America

In BELLA, the deployment of the EllaLink submarine cable system got underway, and is on track for completion by the end of 2020.

Helga Spitaler and David West

This year GÉANT celebrated the career achievements of a valued member of the International Relations team: David West. For almost two decades David has been helping shape the global R&E networking landscape by applying GÉANT’s experience to manage EU-funded networking projects for other world regions. David gained within the global community the reputation of being an influential and effective advocate of R&E networking and, for his tireless efforts and achievements, he was honoured by Erik Huizer at the TNC19 CEO dinner in Tallinn.

GÉANT Learning and Development (GLAD)

In 2019 GLAD, through the delivery of webinars, was able to reach out more extensively to the community (and beyond). The new website (learning.geant.org), with added functionalities such as a Blog and Knowledge Hub, registered an increasing number of visitors and enabled the creation of a learning space that can be accessed and consulted 24/7.
The Future Talent Programme (FTP), in its third year running, has been going from strength to strength and this year launched a new initiative: Trust and Identity Mentorship. This programme aims to bring together early career researchers and subject matter experts with the objective to pioneer and prototype new ideas in the Trust & Identity (T&I) field. It’s a collaboration between experts within the GÉANT GN4-3 project, NRENs and researchers across Europe. Its overall aim is to contribute to a viable and sustainable pipeline of T&I products and services for the GÉANT  GN4-3 project and ultimately for the European NREN community.

Future Talent Programme

In 2019 all FTP participants were given the opportunity to submit their ideas for the TNC19 Lightning Talk Challenge. Supported by their NRENs, six finalists impressed the TNC19 programme committee with their submissions: Pierre van Houtryve from Belgium (Belnet), António Ferreira from Portugal (FCT/FCCN), Era Ajdaraga from Macedonia (MARNET), and Luca Coviello, Agnese Sbrollini and Enrico Pietrocola from Italy (GARR). All candidates were trained by professional speaker and TEDx Senior Speaker Coach, Barbara Rogoski, who has been working with the FTP since its start.

Barbara commented: “As the speaker coach of the FTP students who present their ideas at TNC, I am able to teach them how to take their great ideas and build these into interesting talks, and how to present their talks with clarity and passion. I really enjoyed the process to go from shy students to confident speakers!”



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 supports research, education and e-infrastructure for millions of users around Europe and provides onward connectivity to our global partners, reaching 100+ countries worldwide.

In 2019 the GÉANT network received 2,843 Petabytes of data, a 17% increase on 2018. In October the network traffic peaked at 1.11 Terabits per second – a new record and placing GÉANT firmly in the Terabit territory of leading networks. Year-on-Year, IP traffic increased by 42% to 2,109 Petabytes, demonstrating the increased use of IP networking across by the R&E community.

The growth in use of Cloud Computing services is reflected in increased peering activities with the leading cloud service providers including the implementation of dedicated cloud interconnection services with Amazon, Microsoft and Oracle. This combination of shared and dedicated connectivity facilities helps support NRENs and research projects in their use of high performance cloud services


Trust and Identity

2019 has been an incredible year for our T&I Services.

eduTEAMS was adopted by many large international research clusters as their solution for managing virtual teams, and NRENs are following suit.

inAcademia, officially launched in November, provides the community with a lightweight, privacy-preserving way of making services of commercial providers available to end users.

MyAcademicID bridges the gap between government-issued identities and eduGAIN and supports student mobility through Erasmus without papers.

All of this has been enabled by the continued growth of eduGAIN and eduroam:

eduGAIN now connects 68 national identity federations for a total of almost 6000 Identity and Service Providers

eduroam registered a growth of 18% in international authentications reaching over 1 billion international authentications.

Klaas Wierenga, CITO, GÉANT

Klaas Wierenga was inducted to the Internet Hall of Fame in 2019, in recognition for his work in creating eduroam. However, Klaas rather typically saw this prestigious award as clear recognition for the highly collaborative efforts from across the community in bringing eduroam to where it is today.


Cloud Services

Scaling up collaboration on commercial and community clouds

Since 2015 GÉANT has been supporting the research and education community by aggregating community demand and NREN expertise to help develop and broker a hybrid multi-cloud services portfolio with a combination of commercial offerings and community-based services. The first major output of this work was the 2016 IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) Framework agreement.

Consumption of the IaaS 2016 Framework services is now taking place in

  • in 18 countries
  • at 345 institutions
  • who have collectively spent 25 million Euros

The Next Steps – OCRE

The Open Clouds for Research Environments (OCRE) project aims to accelerate cloud adoption in the European research community, by bringing together cloud providers, Earth Observation (EO) organisations and the R&E community, through ready-to-use service agreements.  The project tender and contract management system were made available from the end of August 2019.

Supporting the Community

To help ensure future cloud activities are co-ordinated and linked to community needs, a Community Cloud Delivery Plan was created. This was developed through consultation with NRENs and  identified suitable services and the development roadmap.

The GÉANT eduMEET videoconferencing service scaled up its technical infrastructure, developed into a full product and started entering the pilot phase. The tool has generated interest all over the world and was demonstrated at SuperComputing 2019 in the US in November.

The clouds team organised and took part in 67 events including bi-weekly NREN Cloud Forums, GÉANT cloud workshops, as well as national and global events. The GÉANT cloud effort was also presented at the international Special Interest Group gatherings (Marcomms, MSP, CISS, Multimedia), as well as conferences and symposia, such as the medical Cloud4Health and the EOSC Symposia. In order to support global efforts for cloud adoption, the GÉANT cloud team prepared an online collaboration workspace for NRENs across the globe.

GÉANT clouds

User Communities

During 2019, the Research Engagement and Support (RES) team focussed on each EOSC cluster to increase support and concentrate on their growing needs and requirements. The EOSC Clusters supported:






The common requirements across all research communities include connectivity, cloud services and AAI in varying degrees, with AAI being the most pressing need for all the clusters involved. For instance, the work of the RES team helps to feed the flow of information into the development of GÉANT services such as eduTEAMS. EOSC is defining the overall AAI architecture and the work carried out by the RES team helps to incorporate the views and voice of the research communities through the work performed by GÉANT in this field.

eduTEAMS support

As well as working with the above clusters, the RES team has continued to engage with new communities. One example is through the commitment to support the EuroPlanet project with the design of their AAI service. The RES team assisted the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), coordinating activities to support a research project involving satellites, drones and NREN connectivity across multiple countries. This project investigated the remote piloting of drones over the north Atlantic for emergency response purposes. The RES team has also directly contributed by liaising with international partners and communities, such as ASREN, the Arab consortium of NRENs, which has been presented with the latest services developed within the GÉANT project, with a focus on Trust and Identity.

Data Transfer testing

Efficient data transfer is at the basis of most academic and industry research. Researchers can highly benefit from using specific protocols and/or methodologies other than basic tools on their laptops. Standard data transfer protocols (e.g. UDP or TCP) do not often make the most of the capacity offered by R&E networks. In addition, firewalls can make it difficult, if not impossible, for research data to get to the campus. In 2019, GÉANT started piloting a new service, called GÉANT Data Transfer Nodes (DTN), aimed at researchers interested in exploring data transfers over long distances. Dedicated hardware for wide-area transfers connected at 10/100 Gbps has been deployed in London and Paris. GÉANT DTNs implement state-of-the-art network interface cards, are carefully tuned from the Operating System to the Application layer and use more robust TCP-based protocols for bulk data transfers (for example, GridFTP, XRootD, FDT, WebDAV).
During 2019 the GÉANT DTN service welcomed its first users:
  • Researchers from the AENEAS project tested very long-haul communication between Europe, South Africa and Australia.
  • Network experts from the WLCG/Large Hadron Collider (LHC) tested the effectiveness of transfer protocols within the dedicated network for the LHC data exchange.
  • Researchers from Belle-II worked on data transfer to and from Japan.
  • Network engineers from the supercomputing centre LRZ tested the data transfer capabilities at their location using GÉANT servers as beacons.The DTN service is currently being used for in-dept testing of the latest network transfer applications and protocols and it will transition into operation during 2020.

GN4 Project Update

New Year’s Day 2019 (officially at least) saw the start of the GN4-3 and GN4-3N projects, the ­final stage in the existing Framework Partnership Agreement that began with GN4-1 in May 2015. The new projects follow on from successful GN4-2 (May 2016 to December 2018) and GN4-1 projects, and share the ongoing vision to ensure all researchers across Europe have equal high performance network access to the research infrastructures and e-infrastructure resources available to them.

Throughout 2019 GÉANT continued to maintain the operational excellence of the established GÉANT services, while still achieving economies on costs of the backbone network. The reliable, secure and state-of-the-art, high speed network services offered to research, education and e-infrastructure users across Europe remains exceptional.

However, several changes were introduced with the new project, such as bringing the entire lifecycle of a service within one work package (WP), ensuring service developments are closely matched to operational support. Recognising the vital nature of Security led to a dedicated new WP; and a new Incubator Task was also introduced in the Trust & Identity work package.

With the GN4-3N project, GÉANT is undertaking the most signifi­cant refresh of the pan-European network in a decade, with a major project designed to support the needs of Europe’s research and education community for the next 15 years. With any project, preparation is key and in 2019 work focused on the procurement of fibre optic services and the launch of the optical transmission equipment tender. The Network Infrastructure Advisory Committee (NIAC) met in May and September and is comprised of representatives from nine NRENs and from NORDUnet. NIAC provides guidance and advice to the GN4-3N project team.

Together, GN4-3 and GN4-3N have over 500 participants and 39 project partners. These projects represent the majority of the organisation’s revenue and are by far the largest and most challenging of the 20+ projects GÉANT is engaged with.

As part of the GÉANT 2020 Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA), the projects receive funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 856726 (GN4-3) and Grant Agreement 856728 (GN4-3N)



Consolidated financial report 2019.

Download a printable PDF version of the Financial Statements below.