The EaPConnect Project
The Eastern Partnership Connect project, EaPConnect, enters a second phase from 1 July 2020. The 60-month EU-funded ‘EU4Digital: Connecting Research and Education Communities’ project (EaPConnect2) will bring together the research and education (R&E) communities from European Union (EU) and Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries and reduce the digital divide. The project is coordinated by GÉANT Association in collaboration with the national research and education networks, NRENs, in the six partner countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
The new project will build on the achievements of the first EaPConnect project, which brought greater integration with GÉANT activities, services and networks, and benefits to research, education and wider society in the beneficiary countries. The second EaPConnect project will extend the network infrastructure to scale-up scientific exchange across borders, increase the use of services implemented under EaPConnect and offer new services to enhance international R&E cooperation, and strengthen the position of EaP national research and education networks in their national R&E ecosystems.
Funding and organisation
The second EaPConnect project is funded under the EU4Digital initiative of the European Union. The European Commission’s Directorate General for Neighbourhoods and Enlargements Negotiations (DG NEAR) is contributing 95% (€10m) towards the costs, providing funding to the second EaPConnect project under Grant Agreement number ENI/2019/407-452; the remaining 5% is being co-funded by the six beneficiary countries.
The beneficiary partners in the second EaPConnect project are IIAP NAS RA (Armenia), IIT of ANAS (Azerbaijan), UIIP NASB (Belarus), GRENA (Georgia), RENAM (Moldova) and URAN (Ukraine). Co-beneficiary partners are DFN (Germany), EENet of HITSA (Estonia), LITNET (Lithuania), GRNET (Greece), GARR (Italy), PSNC (Poland), RoEduNet (Romania) and SURF (the Netherlands). The partners will work together in further conferences, workshops, mentorship relationships and other collaborative activities to achieve the project objectives and ensure the sustainability of research and education networking in the Eastern Partnership region.
With the Eastern Partnership the EU offers its partners in the Eastern Neighbourhood concrete, far-reaching support for democratic reform, sustainable development and overall stability. It recognises the importance of e-infrastructures in bridging the digital divide and bringing its partners closer to the EU.
The first EaPConnect project
Launched in July 2015, the first Eastern Partnership Connect (EaPConnect) project aimed to:
- establish and operate a high-capacity broadband internet network for research and education (R&E) across six EaP partner countries in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine;
- integrate the national research and education networks (NRENs) in the region into the pan-European GÉANT network; decrease the digital divide;
- facilitate participation of local scientists, students and academics in global R&E collaborations;
- deploy eduroam and stimulate integration towards GÉANT services.
By interconnecting the R&E communities across the region and with their European counterparts, EaPConnect created a gateway for talented individuals in the EaP countries to be truly global players.
The first EaPConnect project was funded under the EU4Digital initiative of the European Union. The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargements Negotiations (DG NEAR) contributed 95% (€13m) towards the cost of the project, providing funding under Grant Agreement 2015-356353; the remaining 5% was co-funded by the six beneficiary countries.
The project was officially inaugurated at the 1st Eastern Partnership Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy and had a planned duration of five years; the first project has been extended in order to complete specific connectivity activities and will overlap with the second project until February 2021.