This year TNC witnesses the launch of the Emerging NREN Programme, a new initiative by GÉANT – modelled on a similar successful initiative carried out by NORDUnet in the last few years – aimed at bringing professionals from European and global emerging NRENs to TNC18 and integrating them into the vibrant 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.

Veronika Di Luna, International Relations Officer for GÉANT, highlights the salient elements of this initiative: “The programme’s objectives are simple and straightforward: to integrate global Emerging NRENs into the TNC community, to encourage participation from field operatives in preference to senior management and, in particular, to stimulate new synergies and stronger connections between individuals across different organisations and organisational levels.

Every participant has been paired with GÉANT or NREN personnel according to common professional interests to facilitate relationship building. We actively encouraged submissions of Lightning Talk proposals, provided specific assistance and coaching throughout the process and, were thrilled to learn that four Lightning Talks, all presented by female participants from Africa, made it through to the Lightning Talks Plenaries.

We are pleased with the uptake of this programme and hope that the community will reap the benefits of future stimulating collaborations generated by initiatives like this.”