EU-China BoF at TNC16: Users wanted!


Over 80 million researchers, academics and students across Europe and China can benefit from the cost-effective, long-term connectivity solution provided by ORIENTplus. The HEP, radio-astronomy, bioinformatics and meteorology user communities are already heavily relying on this high-capacity link to meet their increasing data transfer needs. The circuit also facilitates learning in a global environment by supporting e-learning and Transnational Education (TNE) initiatives between European and Chinese academic institutions.

However, what about users that are not the ‘usual suspects’? Users that network monitoring tools do not list as Top Talkers, those who might have less demanding networking needs but could still benefit from a stable, high-speed connection in support of their international collaborations? Candidates in arts and humanities come straight to mind, but equally in areas such as telemedicine, environmental monitoring and natural disaster management to name but a few. And what about existing users? Are there any opportunities to upgrade them to point-to-point connections to bring our level of dedicated support and their scientific collaborative endeavours to the next level? And are you interested in technical collaboration with our Chinese NREN partners?

Ultimately, the key question is: what can the GÉANT and Chinese NREN communities do (or do better) to effectively promote the link and raise awareness of its benefits among existing and prospective users?

The Birds of a Feather (BoF) session “EU-China Collaborations” held at TNC16 in Prague offered an ideal platform to debate and provide answers to the above questions. Attended by NREN and user representatives from Europe and China, discussions covered cooperation between the GÉANT and Chinese R&E communities since the ORIENTplus project successfully completed at the end of 2014 as well as sharing information on current and potential new EU/China user applications.

The session started with an update on the London-Beijing connectivity provided jointly by GÉANT and CERNET, followed by new developments on the CERNET backbone and a remote presentation on the CSTNET network. Interest was further gauged and expressed in joint promotion between the European and Chinese R&E communities to increaseuser collaborations and for technical cooperation between the NRENs.

The immediate outcome of this session and its discussions was the launch of the EU-China NREN community initiative and this very website to provide a forum for future collaborative efforts.