Annual Report 2017


The GÉANT community´s spirit born out of the diverse cultures and languages of the European NRENs, a shared love of technology, a commitment to user-driven solutions and, first and foremost, a mature governance structure and environment allowing for discussion, debate and agreement, continues to make GÉANT one of the strongest and most successful pan-European collaborations at the heart of global Research & Education networking.
GÉANT shares with the EU the objective of ensuring that European innovation and the commercialisation of digital technologies keeps Europe competitive and relevant. Throughout 2017, we significantly contributed to the policy dialogue on the establishment of the European Open Science Cloud and the European Data Infrastructure for High Performance Computing and engaged with EU funded projects leading towards these new programmes. We are committed and continue to work closely with European and global e-infrastructures aiming at strengthening the collective user experience for researchers, educators and students in Europe and across the globe.

2017 saw significant changes in GÉANT´s organisational structure, leadership and governance bodies. In their General Assembly in March, all members unanimously agreed that it is in GÉANT’s best interest to initiate a process of restructuring with the aim of the final legal merger of GÉANT Ltd and GÉANT Association. A process that started immediately and will reach conclusion on 31 March 2018.

In July, the GÉANT Board appointed Erik Huizer to become GÉANT´s interim CEO, after the former CEO left the organisation by mutual agreement. Erik´s appointment led to changes in the organisational structure and the executive team as well as to a reassessment of GÉANT´s strategic direction. A further development of the GÉANT strategy will be continued in 2018.
Finally, in November, as a result of terms of office expiring, the General Assembly elected two new members to the GÉANT Board of Directors: Paul Feldman (CEO of Jisc, United Kingdom) and Federico Ruggieri (Director of GARR, Italy) now contribute with their experience and leadership to the performance of the Board.

As Board and Executive team, we end 2017 confident in the ability to strike the right tone and balance between continuity and innovation, necessary for the successful collaboration between more than 40 European countries and for the benefit of the European and global research & education community.

We are proud to present our achievements in this 2017 GÉANT annual report highlighting our commitment towards fostering the European and global Research & Education.


Christian Grimm, Chairman of the GÉANT Board of Directors

Christian Grimm

Strategy and Vision

Positioning the organisation for the future

Erik Huizer, GÉANT CEO

Our world is facing several colossal challenges: how to feed 9 billion mouths, scarcity of energy, scarcity of materials and ageing population, to name but a few. We need the combined knowledge and creativity of all researchers in the world to address and solve these problems. To achieve this we need Open Science, flexible higher education and a really solid e-infrastructure. This is the vision that forms the basis of the strategy of GÉANT’s community and therefore of the GÉANT organisation.

The large amount of data produced in research has a value that needs to be unlocked and made readily accessible. The exponential growth of data will drive scientific advances, societal changes and productivity gains across Europe. For this, Europe needs to transition from fragmented datasets to an integrated European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). Just as for the EOSC, GÉANT and the NRENs also provide the underlying infrastructure for the European Data Infrastructure, where we have taken the responsibility, jointly with our partners, to bring together federate access to High Performance Computing and Networking. We aim to work closely on these initiatives in order to be able to support the collection, integration, processing, analyses, storage, sharing, publishing and finding of data according to the FAIR principles.

To be ready for these challenges, we set our priorities very clearly in 2017: showing continued excellence in the 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, getting ready for GDPR and strengthening security and privacy. This annual report highlights our achievements throughout the year.

But GÉANT is only as good as we make it. Increased staff satisfaction was a major focus in 2017. We increased transparency and sharing of information through company-wide info-shares and questions and answers with the CEO and the Chairman of the Board. Our staff in Amsterdam elected a PVT (personeelsvertegenwoordiging), an employee representative body for increased staff consultation. In addition, for our growing Amsterdam-based staff we moved into a more modern, open office space in December 2017. We redesigned the space, installed fibre, ensured connectivity and created a new and bright working environment.

“When I started my role in July 2017, I stated that my main objective would be to ensure that every day all our staff come to work with a smile. This is the best way to ensure that GÉANT is ready to face the challenges ahead together with the NRENs, leading Europe into the era of Open Science.”

Erik Huizer, CEO GÉANT




Hosted by the Austrian NREN, ACOnet and with 124 speakers in 8 plenary talks and across 24 sessions, 721 participants from 69 countries and over 2,500 remote participants following the proceedings on video, across our community, it was unanimously felt that TNC17, which took place in Linz, Austria at the end of May, was yet another resounding success. Our conference represents the yearly gathering of the people whose hearts and minds are fully invested in European and global R&E activities and who travel to TNC to meet their peers and collaborators, to pick up on new ideas and develop solutions further. We asked participants at TNC17 what the event really means to them – here’s what they said:

But even a success story like TNC, needs to keep re-inventing itself and it is also vitally important that we keep attracting young talent. What better place than TNC to introduce future innovators to our community? Bright IT students from across Europe were invited to submit their best idea and follow a training course provided by GÉANT’s Learning and Development team to prepare for the occasion. These students delivered the most interesting and engaging Lightning Talks TNC has seen for a while and ensured that this new programme will carry on in the future.











Working with e-infrastructures

We see significant interest from the research community in how e-infrastructures can jointly support their needs and work with them to improve Open Science and collaboration for all. In 2017, GÉANT and its partners, EGI, EUDAT, OpenAire, PRACE, RDA, continued to further develop joint efforts aimed at providing European scientists and international collaborations with sustainable services for their research activities. For the first time, the European e-infrastructures joined forces in a common stand at TNC17 in Linz and in November 2017, the highly successful and jointly organised Di4R conference was repeated in Brussels. Under the theme of “Connecting the building blocks for Open Science”, DI4R 2017 showcased the policies,  processes, best practices, data and services that, leveraging today’s initiatives – national, regional, European and international – are the building blocks of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and European Data Infrastructure (EDI). GÉANT signed a pragmatic user-solution focused MoU with EGI and OpenAire and jointly with PRACE wrote a position paper on the EDI and the requirements of the EuroHPC.

International Collaborations

Research is global. Education is global. GÉANT today has a diverse global footprint, connecting with NRENs located in over 110 countries world-wide. Our global connectivity activities are complemented by ongoing global service deployments and developments, particularly in the area of Trust and Identity.  In addition, the continued expansion of eduroam and eduGAIN continues stimulating collaboration and bringing together research and education federations worldwide.

In 2017, we were proud to see Jordan back on the global R&E map and the Lebanon increasing its access capacity to the GÉANT network, both thanks to the EU funded EUMEDCONNECT project. The NSF funded NEAAR project increased and diversified the existing transatlantic footprint to our North American partners by yet another 100G, while work continued in the context of the BELLA programme to procure a long-term IRU on a direct cable system connecting Europe and South America to meet the future capacity needs between the GÉANT and RedCLARA networks.

2017 also saw the tenfold increase of R&E connectivity to the Ukraine as well as Gigabit speeds to the Central Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The AfricaConnect2 project continues to stimulate the creation of R&E networking organisations with new partners coming up in Sierra Leone and Liberia. At the end of 2017, GÉANT signed a connectivity contract for the first interconnections between Nigeria and Ghana towards Europe.

GÉANT also works with our global partners on future proofing our capabilities to support international researchers. During TNC17 in Linz, we saw data transfers using the MMCFTP protocol carrying up to 150Gbits between Japan’s National Institute of Informatics, NII, based in Tokyo and GÉANT in London. Advanced low latency technology (LOLA) allowed for the successful delivery of the “Music without Borders” event showcasing musicians in Tallin and Minsk performing together over GÉANT and partner networks.

For many years our European network map and our iconic global map posters have been displayed around the world via VC screens and partner office walls. Whilst these printed maps and PDFs will continue for now, we’ve worked hard in 2017 to bring these to life with a new fully interactive map. The interactive map shows links between European countries, links to partner networks worldwide as well as the backbone links of regional networks beyond Europe. Usefully, the map can also be configured to open at particular coordinates – meaning partners can use the map on their own websites with the start view based on their own location.

GÉANT Learning and Development (GLAD)

ALL GLAD initiatives are geared towards supporting career growth and professional development of our community, support training activities of GN4-2 and AARC projects and look after TRANSITS training events.

In 2017 GLAD launched the Future Talent Programme which recognises the importance of the role of young professionals within the community: young talents take advantage of the opportunity for growth offered by the community and in return they deliver ideas, energy, passion and dedication.  The GLAD portfolio also includes the Technical Knowledge Programme that aims to help participants to stay on top of state-of-the-art technical subjects, and the Capabilities Building Programme that facilitates organisational and managerial sustainability.

This year GLAD also launched the new website and a Moodle-based e-learning platform called GÉANT e-Academy. The e-Academy aims to become a ‘one stop’ e-learning space for networking professionals in Europe, by providing them with interactive learning experiences and knowledge anytime, anywhere. The e-Academy hosts GLAD training products and educational content designed and developed by the community. As a team, GLAD also offers its expertise in interactive events design, facilitation, coaching and management of professional development.

Contact GLAD:


Task Forces and Special Interest Groups

Celebrations, new groups and crisis management workshop.

Task Force- Computer Security Incident Response Teams (TF-CSIRT) is one of GÉANT’s oldest TFs and this year celebrated its fiftieth meeting in Valencia, co-located with the FIRST Regional Symposium for Europe.

Over 200 participants joined the event to discuss a range of issues from the use of Open Source incident management platforms to cybercrime Research & Education within the EU. TF-CSIR attracts CSIRT teams from a wide variety of backgrounds, including Research & Education, commercial, government, national and military teams. TF-CSIRT is more than just a series of meetings – it supports a portfolio of services overseen by a Steering Committee of volunteers from our community. This portfolio includes the well-known TRANSITS-I training, which provides new and potential CSIRT personnel with a solid background in incident handling and TRANSITS-II, for more advanced CSIRT staff. At the heart of the TF-CSIRT portfolio is the Trusted Introducer service (https://www.trusted-introducer.org/) which acts as a clearing house for teams to establish trusted relationships and provide accreditation services to enhance that trust.

Click for more information about TF-CSIRT:


CLAW – The first Crisis Management Workshop for the GÉANT Community

In November, 40 representatives from 20 NRENs met in Malaga, Spain for the first ever CLAW crisis management workshop organised by GÉANT. During the two-day event, delegates survived a simulated crisis, learned how to handle stress in crisis situations, shared their battle stories and solutions and worked together to deliver the first steps toward crisis management processes at an NREN and a European level.

Task Force – Data Protection Regulation (TF-DPR) is born

This year saw the official launch of TF-DPR, whose objective is to gather information, discuss and develop tools and best practices to be able deal with the requirements of data protection regulation, with a focus on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and how NRENs and GÉANT’s shared services can prepare for its introduction. The TF aims at collaborating on the implementation of the GDPR and other privacy regulations.

Up2U – Up to University

Up2U is a 36 month collaborative project with 5M Euro funding, which kicked off in January 2017. Its key objective is to bridge the gap between secondary schools and higher Research & Education by enhancing the students’ digital skills. The project is coordinated by GÉANT and gathers 18 partners from 12 countries across Europe including NRENs, traditional and open universities, infrastructure providers and two commercial partners. Participating countries: UK, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Greece, Italy, Israel, the Netherlands, Lithuania.

The main goal is to create a universe of tools and services to help high school teachers, and students to improve their teaching and learning practices. These technological tools allow greater ease of communication inside and outside the classroom, improving interactions and providing new ways to access knowledge in the digital age.

The supported pedagogy methods include: project-based learning embedded in design, informal learning scenarios, hybrid learning environment, virtual classrooms, support of personalised learning paths and peer-to-peer learning scenarios.

By the end of January 2017, the public facing project website was available, internal and external events were outlined and the basic communications strategy established. By the end of March, a Subject Matter Committee (SMC) was created to oversee the training materials and training plans, this committee comprises permanent members and national sub-committees. July 2017 marked the end of the first 6-month period of the project. In this initial period, Up2U established all the necessary functions and procedures to fully support the forthcoming pilot phases.

Up2U is looking forward to the next challenges and will be gathering more input and feedback from schools willing to be involved in the next pilots.

For more information on Up2U:



GÉANT’s pan-European network is central to the activities of our NREN members, together interconnecting 50 million research and education users around Europe. In 2017 efforts focused on delivering continued operational excellence and securing cost efficiencies through tireless procurement activities. With traffic growth greatly outpacing internet growth, we also undertook an enormous amount of consultative and investigative work to plan for the next generation of the network to ensure the rapidly growing requirements of research and education continue to be met and exceeded.

An extensive Data Centre Interconnect (DCI) investigation and procurement exercise was completed to ensure additional wavelengths could be added cost-effectively. Further extensive consultation and regional studies were undertaken (due for completion in 2018) that, together with completed white papers, will ultimately drive a major network upgrade in 2020/2021 made possible with dedicated EC funding for long-term dark fibre IRUs.

Global connectivity was further expanded, particularly through the Advanced North Atlantic (ANA) collaboration which saw GÉANT partnering with CANARIE, ESnet, Internet2, NORDUnet, and SURFnet to deliver a combined 740Gbps trans-Atlantic connectivity.

Security remains a high priority for GÉANT and its members, and in 2017 we have implemented a DDOS solution for the GÉANT network. Furthermore a security framework was agreed between GÉANT and other e-infrastructures and signed at TNC2017, supporting interoperation of collaborating i​nfrastructures in managing cross-infrastructure operational security risks.

In 2017 the GÉANT network:

Carried 1.75 Exabytes of traffic – a daily average of 4.8 Petabytes
At speeds of up to 620Gbps – with peak daily average of 430Gbps

Trust and Identity

Great progress continues to be made within the Trust and Identity arena and 2017 saw a number of key milestones reached.

eduGAIN & eduroam

eduGAIN has continued to greatly expand worldwide with 8 new identity federations joining: a total of 54 federations by the end of 2017.  The number of entities benefiting from eduGAIN increased from 3672 to 4391 – a 20% increase over the year.  It is estimated that 27,000,000 students, researchers and staff are now able to use the eduGAIN interfederation service.

Along with the core eduGAIN service there have been significant developments with associated services such as eduroam (now available in 89 countries worldwide) and advances in the development of value added services such as eduTEAMS and InAcademia.



AARC relies on the federated approach championed by eduGAIN, but focuses on the adoption of federated access to international research collaborations and e-infrastructures: researchers can log into services that are specific to their research community using their own institutional identity and their project ‘membership’ role.

The AARC Engagement Group for Infrastructures (AEGIS) was established as a channel for communication between the project and research- and e-infrastructures that already operate an AAI. Seven organisations participated in the group in 2017 and endorsed AARC guidelines on expressing group membership and role information.

AARC also worked closely with REFEDS on the Kantara Initiative, the European Open Science Cloud, the GÉANT project and with the Federated Identity Management for Research (FIM4R) group. The project delivered policy recommendations, training and technical pilots addressing a variety of specific challenges and communities.



REFEDS continues as a trusted forum acknowledged by the international Research & Education sector and continues to articulate the voice of Research & Education identity federations. For 2017 the Discovery Project, originally funded and designed by REFEDS, supported service providers implementing access management for Research & Education federations and via the Resource Access for the 21st Century (RA21) initiative, a collaboration of publishers focused on an improved user experience that will work for all federations internationally and across different types of discovery software. The guide is based on the NISO ESPRESSO guidelines and is designed to walk service providers through the ESPRESSO standard in a simple format.


Cloud Services

Consolidation, Expansion and Growth

2017 will perhaps, in the future, be considered to be the turning point in cloud service and cloud adoption across the NRENs and wider Research & Education community with plans and intentions from previous years converted into firm actions and concrete cloud services.

The GÉANT cloud activity established a hybrid, multi cloud approach, where the NRENs:

  • Share sector specific community clouds.
  • Scale up national cloud efforts, from NRENs and other research and education organisations to a European level.
  • Jointly broker and procure public clouds from commercial suppliers.

During 2017, the first version of service delivery channel was applied and 25 new services were added to the GÉANT cloud service portfolio. These include IaaS services, private cloud file storage products, web and video conferencing offerings.

The IaaS tender was perhaps the most significant achievement. 36 NRENs participated in the tender, 27 NRENs activated a delivery role and use the GÉANT cloud support resources. 18 NRENs have been allocated 6 man-months of GÉANT funding to deliver the IaaS portfolio in their countries.

As a result of this tender, the following results were achieved:

  • 56 institutions from 9 countries use cloud services via the IaaS offering :
    Croatia, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden
  • A community of NREN cloud delivery managers (CDM) has been developed offering meetings, seminars, workshops, weekly conferences, an active e-mail list and intranet workspace for information sharing.
  • Tailor-made offerings for use below national tender thresholds were also negotiated with file storage providers Nextcloud and OwnCloud.
  • JRA4 teams are developing components for open source videoconferencing infrastructures based on the 2016-2017 tender. This tender evaluated multi-tenant on-premises solutions in managed and unmanaged scenarios.

In summary, GEANT is seeing progressive growth in adoption by institutions and a matching expansion in NRENs working to enable this. Cloud services are likely to become significant value added service propositions for many NRENs as they adapt to new delivery models for Research & Education services and extend the NREN further up the value chain.


User Communities

LIGO and Virgo – Another Success for Global R&E Collaboration

This year’s exciting announcements from the teams from LIGO and Virgo of the first observations of a “Kilonova” (the merging of two neutron stars generating both gravitational waves and a range of electromagnetic waves) on 17 August 2017, demonstrates the power and value of international collaborations.

The LIGO and Virgo projects comprise more than 1,500 scientists, all of whom are working towards a single goal: to capture signs of gravitational waves and decode their meaning. The data gathering happens at massive observatories in the USA and Italy, but the analysis is done in countries all over the world.

For the first time, gravitational waves, gamma-ray busts and light were observed simultaneously from the same source. The European Southern Observatory (ESO) working in collaboration with scientists around the world, were able to pick up the infrared and optical signals from a gravitational wave and gamma source in the southern sky, within minutes of the announcement.

When it comes to data analysis, LIGO and Virgo are a unique collaboration that shares analysis algorithms, software development, data management, analysis and computing resources. It is physics that requires a global approach because, in order to locate the source of gravitational waves and to analyse their signal, it is crucial to have at least 3 detectors at a certain distance from each other.

A neutron-star merger involves one of the most extreme objects in the universe. Neutron stars are some of the smallest, densest stars we know. They do not have much more mass than our Sun, but all of it is compressed into a ball no bigger than the width of a mid-sized city (about 15 km, or 9 miles). A teaspoon of neutron star would weigh 10 billion kg about the same as 1 million very large elephants. The merging of two of these stars has sufficient energy to literally shake the entire universe.

The coordination between LIGO and Virgo scientists and astronomers from over 90 other observatories was facilitated through the use of federated identities, made possible by SAML identity providers at universities and research institutes around the world, by national identity federations and by eduGAIN. The foresight of these technologies and organisations was crucial to the interdisciplinary effort that went into the kilonova announcement and papers.  These technologies facilitated this ground-breaking discovery in the field of gravitational wave astronomy.


GN4 Project Update

The first period of the GN4-2 Project completed in August 2017, with a successful review carried out in November by external independent experts. The review was hosted by project partner and Belgian NREN Belnet, and detailed the activities carried out from May 2016 to August 2017, with key achievements highlighted below. Period 2 started in September and runs to December 2018.

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 2017.

Download a printable PDF version of the Financial Statements below.