26-02-2020 v02

GÉANT Community Programme Strategy

Document Code:



Chief Community Relations Officer


GÉANT Community Committee members: Valter Nordh, Claudio Allocchio, Klaas Wierenga, Branka Vuk, János Mohácsi, Guido Aben, Anna Wilson, Victoriano Giralt, David Groep, Sabine Jaume, Gyöngyi Horváth (GÉANT Association) and Task Force and Special Interest Group coordinators




1         Introduction

2         The GÉANT Community Programme

2.1       Vision and Goal

2.2       Mission

2.3       Objectives and Actions

3         GÉANT Community Committee

4         GÉANT Community Programme Portfolio

4.1       Task Forces

4.2       Special Interest Groups

4.3       Workshops and Trainings

4.4       Collaborative Projects

4.5       Collaborative Services

4.5.1     GÉANT Community Innovation and Service/Product Lifecycle

4.6       Thematic Areas Currently Supported

Appendix A     How the Thematic Areas Are Currently Supported




1                  Introduction

Collaboration between experts in different geographic locations and disciplines is crucial to the GÉANT community. The GÉANT Community Programme helps GÉANT, National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), other research and education bodies and members of the community to collaborate and share experiences.

This document outlines the strategic framework governing the activities of the GÉANT Community Programme. It presents an overview of the Programme, its vision, goal, mission and objectives (Section 2), describes the work of the GÉANT Community Committee (Section 3), and summarises its portfolio of Task Forces, Special Interest Groups, workshops and collaborative projects and services, including the thematic areas supported (Section 4).

The strategy will be reviewed four years from the date of approval and issue, or sooner if circumstances require.

2                  The GÉANT Community Programme

The GÉANT Community Programme is made up of Task Forces (TFs), Special Interest Groups (SIGs), bespoke workshops and trainings, and collaborative projects and services designed to facilitate collaboration and the sharing of experiences between GÉANT, NRENs, other R&E bodies and members of the community. The GÉANT Community Programme guides the future development of R&E services, technology and also a variety of non-technical topics for the GÉANT community.

The GÉANT Community Programme is a grassroot, voluntary initiative built by world experts from NRENs, user organisations, research institutions, commercial and industrial sectors. TFs and SIGs provide an effective framework for forums to share information and best practices and to discuss possible innovations and further development of services.

The GÉANT Community Programme is an open initiative and as such its wiki space [GPC_wiki] and all associated papers are publicly available.

2.1             Vision and Goal

The vision the GÉANT Community Programme aspires to realise is:

A connected, collaborative and harmonised research and education networking community.

Its goal is to be the primary forum for enabling and fostering collaboration and harmonisation in the R&E networking community, furthering development and progress in Internet technology, infrastructure, R&E services, digital transformation and activities, and of the research and education community itself.

2.2             Mission

The mission of the GÉANT Community Programme, which will enable it to achieve that goal, is to:

Provide optimal conditions for the R&E networking community to collaborate both face-to-face and virtually.

This involves creating mechanisms to enable participation and inclusion, delivering a roadmap identifying topics and trends of strategic importance (including input from the community) and providing guidance to GÉANT and the community.

2.3             Objectives and Actions

The specific objectives by which the GÉANT Community Programme fulfils its mission are:

  • Identify and share areas and trends benefiting NRENs and the wider R&E community.
  • Manage the lifecycle of groups and activities.
  • Connect people to the right human network.
  • Support methods of eliminating gaps within the R&E community.
  • Facilitate group collaborations.
  • Raise awareness about the GÉANT Community Programme.
  • Facilitate knowledge transfer.

Each of these is described in more detail below, outlining the actions the GÉANT Community Committee (GCC) and community are taking or will take in order to realise each objective. Results and achievements of the work is oversight and assessed regularly to support the fulfilment and continuous progress of strategy. A more detailed action plan will be defined as a next step.

  • Identify and share areas and trends benefiting NRENs and the wider R&E community.

The GCC annually provides recommendations from the wider R&E community (via the TFs/SIGs, community platform and various expert networks) to GÉANT Association and the General Assembly. These recommendations provide input for the annual outreach plan.

  • Manage the lifecycle of groups and activities.

The GCC identifies the process for creating, running and terminating groups and activities, and produces and disseminates guidelines. Through its communication channels and network of people, it gathers input from the community, which leads to new groups or activities. The GCC also fosters the incubation process from SIGs through TFs to concrete projects.

The GCC oversees the creation and termination of groups and activities on a continuous basis and sets priorities within the programme.

  • Connect people to the right human network.

The GÉANT Association team responsible for supporting the GÉANT Community Programme creates and maintains a continuously updated overview of activities and human networks, and guides people and ideas to the relevant group, facilitating knowledge exchange and the creation of communities of interest.

  • Support methods of eliminating gaps within the R&E community.

GÉANT Association identifies methods to ensure gaps are filled or mitigated. These may relate to funding issues as well as knowledge transfer.

  • Facilitate group collaborations.

The GCC provides guidelines, best practices, facilities and checklists for virtual and face-to-face meetings to enable equal participation. This covers the role of the chair/coordinator and communication guidelines as well as the technical elements.

  • Raise awareness about the GÉANT Community Programme.

The GÉANT Association communications team creates an annual outreach plan and materials to ensure that the Community Programme is well-known and visible within and outside of the R&E community. These also make it clear how newcomers can contact the Community Programme.

  • Knowledge transfer.

GÉANT Association organises, in coordination with NREN experts, training seminars and staff exchanges (staff temporarily hosted by another NREN), writes best practices (both technical and procedural), tags all existing documentation (including GNx Deliverables) to make it a searchable database, maintains a list of experts, and organises a newcomers programme at TNC.

3                  GÉANT Community Committee

The GÉANT Community Committee (GCC) has oversight of the GÉANT Community Programme.

It operates under the auspices of the GÉANT General Assembly via agreed terms of reference. The Chair of the GCC is an NREN representative, elected by the General Assembly, and the Committee’s 6–8 members, who represent key expertise areas and/or communities, are appointed by the GÉANT Board of Directors based on input provided by the Chair in consultation with the GÉANT Executive Team.

The GCC is usually closely associated with a community-focused Task within the current GÉANT project.

The objectives of the GCC are to:

  • Provide help, to NRENs that request it, with procuring ICT equipment and facilities for students, lecturers and scientists by, for example, sharing ideas, best practices, advising on harmonising procedures or technology selection, or jointly tackling an issue.
  • Assist GÉANT in matters related to community‐driven collaborative initiatives.

The GCC also has a role to play in the GÉANT community innovation and service/product lifecycle, as described in Section

The GCC wiki can be found at [GCC_wiki]; the official public file store for the GCC can be found at [GCC_filestore].

4                  GÉANT Community Programme Portfolio

The GÉANT Community Programme portfolio consists of Task Forces (TFs), Special Interest Groups (SIGs), bespoke workshops and trainings, and collaborative projects and services. Each of these is described below.

4.1             Task Forces

Task Forces are fixed‐term, typically short‐lived community‐based collaboration activities, undertaken largely by volunteers who work together on specific tasks to produce tangible deliverables. Formal processes are in place for establishing, running and dissolving a Task Force, together with standard terms of reference that determine aspects such as the role of the chair and secretary, meeting frequency, deliverables, length of mandate and mailing list. (Exceptions to the “short-lived” characteristic include the Task Force on Computer Security Incident Response Teams (TF-CSIRT).)

4.2             Special Interest Groups

Special Interest Groups are similar constructs to Task Forces, in that they are also community‐based and largely volunteering activities, but focus on community building, best practice dissemination and knowledge exchange rather than on tasks and deliverables. Like Task Forces their lifecycle is governed by formal processes and standard terms of reference. SIGs are normally of longer duration than TFs, and are led by a Steering Committee rather than a chair.

4.3             Workshops and Trainings

One‐off or series of community‐based workshops, (un)conferences or Birds of a Feather sessions (BoFs) may be organised around a specific topic of interest. Workshops may lead to recommendations for establishing further, follow‐up activities. These may be captured in a workshop (or series of workshops) closing report.

4.4             Collaborative Projects

The GÉANT Community Programme provides a framework for a broad range of collaboration activities of interest to GÉANT. These can be small or large collaborative projects or specific components of such projects initiated by members or individuals from the community and administered/commissioned by the GÉANT Association.

GÉANT provides support to a variety of collaborative projects that are important to the community in order to ensure that they have the necessary coordinators and infrastructure to function well. In essence, the support provided is very similar to that for a TF or SIG – normally in the form of a professional secretariat for the project – but these projects are typically self-sustained by the community and funding (if any) is not from the EC. Current projects supported include REFEDS, WISE, GLIF and the GeGC.

Support for these projects includes some or all of the following functions:

  • Coordinator role.
  • Meeting support (both virtual and face to face).
  • Invoicing (REFEDS and GLIF).
  • Infrastructure support (wiki, website, mailing lists, hosting, VC).

4.5             Collaborative Services

Through its Task Forces, Special Interest Groups and collaborative projects, the GÉANT Community Programme can identify activities within the supported thematic areas that are of a service nature and that benefit the community as a whole. GÉANT provides support to the Community Programme to confirm the viability of such services and support their incubation, with the intent to make such services self-sustaining. The services should be inclusive, and intended to be open and accessible to all participants in the community at large. The Community Programme, together with the materially contributing stakeholders of the service, will advise on the strategic direction and development of the services so created.

4.5.1       GÉANT Community Innovation and Service/Product Lifecycle

This section describes the GÉANT Community Programme’s process for developing innovation from idea to project to service.

The four main stages of innovation are usually identified as:

  1. Ideation – Basic research and conception.
  2. Project Selection – The decision to develop an idea further (invest people, time and money).
  3. Product Development – Building the product or service.
  4. Operationalisation – Bringing the product or service to market and adapting it to customer demands.

All four stages need to be sufficiently supported within an organisation for innovation to systemically happen. One of the prerequisites of innovation and service development is analysis of improvement opportunities, gathering the ideas. For this stage, having a systematic ideation process is key.

In the GÉANT community ecosystem, the way ideas turn into results is often similar to the schema shown in Figure 4.1 below:

Figure 4.1: Example GÉANT Community Programme ideation process

Currently, new ideas in the GÉANT community come either from individual members of NRENs or from TFs, SIGs and workshops on specific topics, but are not systematically solicited or managed on a regular basis. During the preparation of the GN4-3 project, white papers provided the main opportunity to gather innovative ideas, in cycles of four years; in the current volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment, this may no longer be agile or sustainable enough. The GCC will therefore discuss additional opportunities to gather ideas with the GN4-3 Project Management Office (PMO), for example, as part of the Project Annual Internal Review (PAIR) process. Some TFs have developed more agile environments for innovation (e.g. a wiki open to all TF members to record new ideas), but others could use similar mechanisms. Additionally, top-down initiatives and coordination (possibly requiring the involvement of the GÉANT Programme Planning Committee (GPPC) or Oversight Committee (OC)) might be beneficial and provide focus, which might in turn provide a broader product palette, improved sustainability and scalability.     GCC Role

There are two areas of service/product development in the GÉANT community to which the GCC can significantly contribute: systematic ideation and also a phase-out process (decision that a service has expired).

In addition to the processes already in place, the GCC will take a strategic role in the idea-gathering and coordination process by:

  1. Annual analysis of technological trends and innovations with particular relevance to the GÉANT community, producing white papers and/or position papers.
  2. Providing clear channels to systematically gather innovation ideas within TFs, SIGs and NRENs. The GCC is also considering the idea of an electronic “idea submission box” for gathering individual ideas.
  3. Providing a screening and filtering process for ideas gathered, as well as coordinating TFs and SIGs in selecting and further developing ideas.

Similar steps could be put in place for the GCC to provide strategic direction and recommendations for phasing out existing services and products. Both of these stages of the innovation and product lifecycle could form part of the same procedure – asking for new ideas at the same time as gathering suggestions for abandoning obsolete services – with the overall aim of ensuring a transparent and agile innovation process allowing new services to reach a broad audience as fast as possible.

4.6             Thematic Areas Currently Supported

Thematic areas are formed and continuously evolve from the needs of the GÉANT community. The areas currently supported (as at April 2020) are as follows. A table showing the related TFs, SIGS, workshops and projects is given in Appendix A.

  • Network Services and Technologies: This area is concerned with organisational aspects, coordination and exchange of best practice regarding the provisioning and delivery of network services, including campus networking. Work in this area supports research on network technology and innovative network services.
  • Security: This is a broad area, concerned with the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information and information systems. GÉANT’s activities include defining and implementing appropriate security requirements for various types of systems. One requirement common to many systems is incident response: detecting and investigating failures and restoring the system to its intended security state.
  • Trust and Identity: Online services are crucial to research and education. Students, researchers and institution staff rely on them for collaboration through webmail, e-learning, teaching, conferencing, analysing and sharing data, and for accessing journals and libraries. Trusted digital identities underpinned with secure technologies allow them to simply and securely access all of this content and services. GÉANT provides services that build trust, promote security, support privacy regulations and enhance the use of online identities, through a range of activities and international collaborations.
  • Media Services: This area encompasses information exchange and best practice in traditional and web-based collaboration, webcasting and video-on-demand solutions, while at the same time providing a platform for activities supporting live media and videoconferencing. GÉANT’s activities in this field vary from the investigation of next-generation real-time communication services to the establishment of rich media production and recording solutions, metadata and content repositories as well as distribution platforms.
  • Cloud Services. Virtualisation generally refers to abstraction of resources, usually creating a logical view of resources while hiding the underlying arrangement of various physical elements including storage, hardware, servers and networking components. This area also includes the investigation of in-house services using private clouds and of services outsourced to public clouds.
  • Organisational Services: Dealing with organisational, information gathering/exchange and delivery aspects of services provided to the community and by the community.
  • Educational Services and Technologies: This activity focuses on collaboration across the education sector on commonly identified topic areas, providing a coordinated approach to improve NREN educational services and activities.
  • Research Engagement Development: The focus of this area is to boost collaboration between NRENs and other research infrastructures for engaging researchers and collaborations nationally and internationally for the purposes of understanding users’ needs and trends more broadly, as well as growing NREN service uptake towards research communities. The area crosses thematic and technical topics covered by other TFs and SIGs.


  • How the Thematic Areas Are Currently Supported

This appendix lists the Task Forces, Special Interest Groups, workshops and trainings, collaborative projects, groups or communities, and collaborative services by which each thematic area is supported, as at April 2020.

Thematic Area

Task Force

Special Interest Group

Workshop and Training

Collaborative Project / Group / Community

Collaborative Service

Network Services and Technologies


SIG on Next -Generation Networking (SIG-NGN) -– Knowledge exchange and collaboration on developments in networking technologies

SIG on Network Operations Centres (SIG-NOC) – Sharing and creating common best practices for the organisation and management of Network Operations Centres

SIG on Performance Monitoring and Verification (SIG-PMV) – Focuses on performance monitoring and verification from both a research and operations perspective, and on identifying and establishing best practices for wired/wireless networks and the networks that connect them. After discussion, it was felt that SIG-PMV should be closed, and its future content distributed between SIG-NOC and SIG-NGN.  This was formally confirmed by the Steering Committee later in the year.





TF on Computer Security Incident Response Teams (TF-CSIRT) Coordinating training, services and knowledge exchange for security teams worldwide

SIG on Information Security Management (SIG-ISM) – Developing security expertise and excellence within the NREN community


Wise Information Security for Collaborating e-Infrastructures (WISE)Community that aims to enhance best practice in information security for IT infrastructures for research


Trust and Identity

TF on Data Protection Regulation (TF-DPR) – Working with NRENs to meet data protection regulation requirements



Research and Education Federations (REFEDS) – Group that aims to represent the mutual needs of research and education identity federations worldwide in the ever-growing space of access and identity management


Media Services


SIG on Multimedia Applications (SIG-Multimedia) – Facilitating technology and service interoperability and sharing knowledge about multimedia solutions

Network Performing Arts Production Workshop (NPAPWS) Annual workshops exploring the potential of using advanced networks for arts and humanities



Cloud Services


SIG on Cloudy Interoperable Software Stacks (SIG-CISS) – Sharing and collaborating on cloud infrastructure software stacks, platforms and research workflows




Organisational Services


SIG on Marketing Communications (SIG-Marcomms) – Sharing and collaborating on marketing, communications and public relations.

SIG on Management of Service Portfolios (SIG-MSP) – Supporting management across the product lifecycle and sharing service ideas

Public Affairs Workshop – Workshop on how to achieve visibility and influence the priorities of policy makers



Educational Services and Technologies

TF on Educational Services and Activities (TF-EDU)Addressing common issues NRENs and education-focused organisations are dealing with regarding their educational services and activities.

SIG on Transnational Education (SIG-TNE)Addressing technological challenges in the delivery of international education (due to be closed)




Research Engagement Development

TF on Research Engagement Development (TF-RED) – Developing frameworks, methods and best practices for participating NREN/research organisations to better collaborate together when engaging with national and international research communities, so as to grow an NREN’s business as well as gain an understanding of the needs and trends of research communities more broadly





Table A.1: Activities by which thematic areas are supported as at April 2020



[GCC_filestore]               https://geant.box.com/v/gcc

[GCC_wiki]                     https://wiki.geant.org/display/TTC/GEANT+Community+Committee

[GPC_wiki]                     https://wiki.geant.org/display/GCP


BoF                  Birds of a Feather

GCC                 GÉANT Community Committee

GeGC               Global eduroam Governance Committee

GLIF                 Global Lambda Integrated Facility

GPPC               GÉANT Programme Planning Committee

NREN               National Research and Education Network

NPAPW            Network Performing Arts Production Workshop

OC                   Oversight Committee

PAIR                Project Annual Internal Review

PMO                Project Management Office

R&E                 Research and Education

REFEDS            Research and Education Federations

SIG                   Special Interest Group

SIG-CISS           SIG on Cloudy Interoperable Software Stacks

SIG-ISM            SIG on Information Security Management

SIG-Marcomms SIG on Marketing Communications

SIG-MSP           SIG on Management of Service Portfolios

SIG-Multimedia SIG on Multimedia Applications

SIG-NGN          SIG on Next-Generation Networking

SIG-NOC           SIG on Network Operations Centres

SIG-PMV          SIG on Performance Monitoring and Verification

SIG-TNE           SIG on Transnational Education

TF                    Task Force

TF-CSIRT           TF on Computer Security Incident Response Teams

TF-DPR             TF on Data Protection Regulation

TF-EDU             TF on Educational Services and Activities

TF-RED             TF on Research Engagement Development

VUCA               Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous

WISE                Wise Information Security for Collaborating e-Infrastructures

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