Having spent a good part of the end-of-year festivities evaluating a large number of proposals for sessions, presentations, side meetings and demonstrations for TNC19, its programme committee – made up of 19 members representing 11 nationalities across 4 continents – met again on a snowy January day at the GÉANT offices in Amsterdam to give shape to the conference’s preliminary programme. In my role as TNC19’s communications lead, I was there too.

Over the course of a very intense and productive two-day meeting, the conference’s sessions and parallel tracks took shape in front of our very eyes, as a collage of multi-coloured post-it notes on the boardroom’s white wall. Subsequently, programme committee members assigned chairs to each conference session and labelled them with catchy titles. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But the reality is rather more complex. The process requires a reliable back-end system to manage content, applicants details, reviewers and registrations, a very effective programme committee team and an exceptionally efficient conference organiser.

TNC19’s theme, Forging Digital Societies, is inspired by two main concepts: the idea that computer networks, by supporting human interactions, help to create and forge digital societies, coupled with the innovative model of Estonia’s e-residency programme. The conference programme will also focus on sub-themes and areas of interest such as Network, Trust & Identity, Security, Supporting Research & Education, and Communities & Collaboration.

Content selection is one of the most significant processes to take place behind the scenes at TNC every year: it lays the foudations for the conference to provide common and fertile ground for discussions and exchanges between participants, creating multiple opportunities for connections and future collaborations within the international R&E networking community. Exceptional cross-NREN collaboration, selfless dedication, willingness to make a difference – from all parties involved – plus ongoing high levels of support at NREN and EC management level are all, in equal measure, fundamental factors to the success of TNC year after year.

I am privileged to have witnessed, for the second year in a row, the birth of such a seminal event for the R&E networking community. In my view, one of the most active, motivated and stimulating communities that I have come across in my – longer than I would like to admit! – career as a marketing professional for technology organisations.
The expectations for TNC19 are very high and the community is eagerly awaiting the publication of this year’s preliminary programme, which promises to be impressive, enriching and thought-provoking. So just sit tight a little bit longer: all will be revealed next month….

Rosanna Norman
Communications Officer, GÉANT