Wednesday, December 12, 2012

From our Moldovan correspondent - Steven Newhouse of EGI at the Eastern Partnership Event on e-Infrastructures

By Steven Newhouse, Director of EGI

After a journey to the Eastern Partnership Event in Chisinau in Moldova (that took 8 hrs longer due to a missed connection in Vienna and a detour via Riga to get Chisinau – don’t ask!) the regional collaboration meeting that brings together representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, with colleagues from European e-Infrastructures started yesterday in the magnificent Academy of Sciences in Moldova.

Following the opening welcome to the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, Dona Scola (Vice Minister of Information Technology and Communications from the Moldova) discussed some of the investments being made in Moldova despite the recent reduction in the Science budget. She cited the investment made in networking capacity that was now ready to support innovation and research but was currently only operating at 30% capacity. She hoped that the investments being made in activities such as the Moldovan Government Cloud that would be launched in February 2013 would trigger the innovation needed to develop these services.

Kostas Glinos from DG-CONNECT presented the plans for the €80bn budget for horizon 2020 that will develop excellence in science, innovation with industry and the tackling societal challenges. He highlighted the e-Infrastructures that have developed in Europe and how they can engage with the countries in the Eastern Europe and the support being provided by the European Commission to support the engagement. Dorte Olesen showed how the NRENs (National Research and Educational Networks) across Europe where collaborating to provide support to the regional NRENs in Eastern Europe to improve their connectivity and engagement in supporting collaborative research.

Stela Mocan described the plans coming from the Government of Moldova to use the benefits coming from innovations in science in research to provide benefits to its citizens. Investments are being made to modernise the government’s infrastructure through a technology strategy that aims by 2020 to have all 567 services being delivered online. The M-Cloud is the government’s private cloud that would provide IaaS, PaaS and SaaS systems and become the first choice for back office information systems and public e-Services will be launched in 2013. An example of this commitment is to move to a paperless government by 2014.

The session drew to a close with the signing of a Join Declaration on “eInfrastructures in Eastern Partnership Countries” supported by NRENs, and e-IRG. The workshop continued for another day.. but meanwhile I need to try to retrace my steps back to the Netherlands, so that I won't be experiencing a Moldovan Christmas first hand!

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