IGF 2021 – Day 2 – Town Hall #45 Exchanging research data responsible to save ‎the planet ‎

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



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>> We all live in a digital world. We all need it to be open and safe. We all want to trust.

>> And to be trusted.

>> We all despise control.

>> And desire freedom.

>> BOTH SPEAKERS: We are all united.

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>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Great. Thanks very much. Welcome, everyone, to all of you who have been able to come here today to take part in this session. I'd like to say hello first to the people physically there in Katowice, so hello to Mark, Yousef, and also to Alga, who I see there. Also, joining me online is Hendrik Ike from GEANT, and one of my other colleagues, Charlene, should hopefully be joining us shortly.

So just to give you an overview, hello, my name the Chris Atherton a Senior Research Engagement Officer at an organization called GEANT. GEANT is one of the fundamental elements of Europe's infrastructure, delivering the pan‑European network for scientific research, education, and innovation. GEANT is also a participating member in an organization called the Group on Earth Observations, otherwise known as GEO. GEANT also, we represent the interests of all of the national research and education networks in Europe, our members.

Through us, we promote their work and try and find opportunities to collaborate with other GEO members to help support science and also researchers' needs. Through the integrated catalog that we have of connectivity, collaboration, and identity management services, GEANT provides users with highly reliable unconstrained access to computer analysis, storage, applications and other resources to ensure that Europe remains at the forefront of research.

So I'm joined today with representatives from the other regional research and education networks, from Latin America and North Africa and the Arab states.

But we'll come on to the other participants in a moment. Just to give you an idea about what this session is about, essentially, global research and education networks support the advancements in global scientific knowledge, especially related to climate change and also the sustainable development goals.

The observation data, the analysis, and the education materials which are essential for addressing these matters on the UNFCCC, for example, and also the SDGs, are transported to and from researchers using National Research and Education Networks. For some NRENS, computing storage services are also provided to researchers in support of the climate change research and also the Sustainable Development Goals.

So the global research and education networks facilitate the cooperation between researchers across borders and continents. All work contributes towards Articles 4.1(g) and (h) and also Article 5 and Article 6 of the UNFCCC.

And we've also today, we're going to discuss which Sustainable Development Goals are actually targeted or supported by the global research and education networks.

To meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals, tackle climate change, and to prepare for and respond to disasters, man-made or otherwise, requires data, essentially. This data is increasingly being centralized into large datasets from a variety of different sources and at varied volumes as the pace of technology advances. So the number of data sources and the volume of data continues to grow exponentially.

And while challenges exist in acquiring, transporting, storing, processing, and analyzing the data, there also exists a growing divergence in the capabilities in the number of nations and citizens from the Global South countries to be able to participate in this field at that scale in comparison to, say, countries from the Global North. So the GEO communities focus on the transmission and the exchange of data which is utilized in the realm of geo‑spacial research, and geo‑spacial research being the investigation into the various aspects earth science but with a focus on a particular location. This relies on a number of communication layers and distribution systems. These layers and systems are controlled by a number of different actors, when intermixed form a transparent underlying service. Otherwise known as the internet.

In some respects, these layers are operated by a number of private, as in commercial, and also non‑profit governmental or nongovernmental associations, of which the national research and education communities typically fall into.

So this communications commons is what the GEO community relies upon for its systems and services to work.

Over the past few months, members of this panel have been working together to define the means of supporting the goals and ambitions of the GEO community, specifically in the realm of research and education networking.

The last such meeting was held at COP 26, where the CEOs of the organizations involved defined the values we want to hold dear while we work towards a collaborative way of working. And those values, global collaboration, global integration, equitable access to resources and data, transparency and trust, will form the basis of the discussions in this session as we work towards establishing and articulating a vision which will then serve as the basis of a collaboration basis in the future.

To help us reach that vision, we've joined by my fellow panelists. I'd like to start first by offering the floor to Mark Urban. Over to you, Mark, if you'd like to provide an introduction and brief explanation about the organization that you're from.

>> MARK URBAN: Thank you very much, Chris, and thank you for giving me the floor on this nice panel today. I'm Mark Urban, CFO of RedCLARA. RedCLARA is, let's say, a corresponding partner for Latin America of GEANT and of ASREN. As such, we're a federation of national research and education networks, just like GEANT is in Europe, and ASREN in the Arabic world. Basically, our objectives are quite similar to those of GEANT and ASREN, to give to the academic communities digital tools for research and education, basically.

That's why, also, we gather today because we want to really ensure that these tools will benefit the development of actions in especially facing the challenges that worldwide community is currently facing, like climate change.

That's also why we are ‑‑ we became members of GEO, just like GEANT and ASREN are. In that context, we wanted to come together and ensure that this momentum that we have reached at the COP 26 meeting, we can just get a step further and really get to some concrete actions.

So I'm thanking you again for this opportunity and I would like to give back the floor now to you, Chris.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Great. Thanks very much, Mark. Joining Mark and the whole is also Yousef Torman. Yousef, would you like to introduce yourself and give a brief explanation about your organization?

>> YOUSEF TORMAN: Sure. Hello, everybody. And thank you. I'm happy to be with you in this nice country. Unfortunately, we are missing some colleagues, but maybe next time we can convene all together.  

Yes, I represent ASREN, the Arab States Research and Education Network. We focus on the Arab region to provide them with dedicated services for their research and education communities. I have the liberty, also, to speak on behalf of the African Regional Research and Education Network, our sister organizations, UbuntuNet Alliance which works for the east and south African part of Africa, and also WACREN which works for the western and central part of Africa. I represent in this case the north Africa but I can speak on behalf of all, because we all work together on a project called Africa Connect 3, under which we have several activities. Among them one is to be engaged with the research and education communities, which was the key to support us to be in touch with research and education communities, especially the Group on Earth Observations, which we are now a full participating organization as a member of the Group on Earth Observations, like GEANT, and also RedCLARA. As I said, ASREN's focus was maybe in various intervention areas, but among them mainly we are around providing digital research and education infrastructure networks at the regional level to connect the national NRENS to the global research and education networks. We provide also search and locational services like educational roaming, access, and gain.

We work in cooperation through being in touch and engagement with the United Nations SDGs, under which we support open source activities, open access, and open education of resources and platforms for corporations.

We work very active in community engagement, especially Group on Earth Observations. We focus on the African Group on Earth Observations with plans to have the Arab Group on Earth Observations in addition to other communities like satellite, radio astronomic communities, physics communities, HBCs, and so on.

I believe for the United Nations SDGs, research and education networks can be instrumental for all SDGs, either through education and promoting this education through universities, to get them engaged with other researchers, number one, exactly something which is not directed toward our infrastructure we provide, but, for example, for zero hunger, all SDGs can be instrumental to this, including the 17th one, which is partnership, which we are trying to do all together. I like the words of my colleague Luis Cadenas, the CEO of RedCLARA, he said we want to have triangular cooperation between Europe, Latin America, and Africa. So in the 17th, we are also cooperating to achieve the goals.

I will not speak more than this for now. Maybe for the specific SDGs that we are going to address, it would be taken later in the discussion.

So for now, I leave the floor back to Chris. I hope I did not speak too much.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: No, Yousef, that was perfect. Thank you very much. Thank you for the introduction.

Joining both Mark and Yousef on the panel, well, not from an infrastructure, so to speak, but from the research community is my colleague Charlene Gaba who is joining us online. Charlene, if you'd like to take a moment just to introduce yourself and also the organization that you work for. Thanks.

>> CHARLENE GABA: Okay. So good morning, everyone. I'm really happy to be here today. So I am Dr. Charlene Gaba. I'm a specialist in water resources, so modeling of water resources and climate change. So I currently work for the regional climate center AGRHYMET. They have expertise in water resources and all questions related to environment.

So quickly, I will quickly present the organization. It's a West African organization. And we provide information for decision‑making in the countries, so in the West African countries. We also work in terms of forecasting. So we do forecasting for water, for floods, floods and droughts at various time scale, ten‑day, seasonal. We also develop tools to help the end users in the various countries to face flood and climate issues.

We also produce knowledge. We do research. That's why I'm here. We do research to support how the various countries face and adapt to climate issues in their countries.

So we also develop tools. For example, I'm working on the development of a web platform to help population to prepare in face of floods, for example, and also for agricultural yields.

So yeah. This is quickly what we do here at AGRHYMET. Thank you.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Thank you, Charlene.

Also joining me online I'd like to give a mention to Hendrik Ike from GEANT who helped organize this session and also Auke Pals who is joining us life in person in Katowice. Hendrik and Auke, if you could give a brief hello.

>> HENDRIK IKE: Hello, everyone. I'm Hendrik from GEANT, one of Chris' colleagues. Wow, one of Auke's ex‑colleagues because he's now moved on to a different organization but he was very helpful in helping us bring this session together. Thanks, Auke. My specific job today actually, because Chris will be asking the questions, and the content, the answers of those questions, not immediately, but we're going to try and bring that together into a joint declaration or statement which we will send a draft around a week or two after this session to the key panelists, just so we have some text together that we can agree on in terms of how to increase our cooperation.

I won't take anymore time, Chris. Thanks for giving me the floor. I hand it back.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Great. Thanks very much, Hendrik. Now I pass it over to Auke.

>> AUKE PALS: Thank you very much, Chris. Yes, my name is Auke Pals, indeed a former colleague of Chris and Hendrik. At GEANT I was working as project manager. I now moved to KPMG to working there as a consultant, AI, within the Trusted Analytics department. And today, here, I'll take questions from the room.

And we'll hand them back to you, Chris.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Thanks, Auke. To everyone here today, that's joining us both in person and online, the idea is that you here can help us to shape this declaration as well. We really value your input into this, too.

And so what I'd like to do now is move over to the questions to pose to the three panelists, and also to the rest of the room, if you wish to chip in. Please don't hesitate to raise your hand and we'll give you the floor.

So my first question, and I'll direct this to Mark first, what for you, what would you say are the main challenges regarding the GEO community? And the collaboration that's happening across continents? What are the main challenges to this collaboration, do you see?

>> MARK URBAN: Thank you, Chris. First of all, before trying to give elements of answer to that question, I wanted to cite, to make a citation, from Runa, our Chilean member, Chilean research and education network. A rapid and fluid exchange of information of researchers worldwide is important to scientific progress. I think this is key here in that context. Especially in the context of GEO. One, I think, one of the main challenges is, first of all, the big diversity of stakeholders that are involved in the GEO community. It is a huge community, actually, and really getting together all that, this universe, requires a certain infrastructure, I think. And that's maybe where we can play a role. But that's for the next question. But in the meantime, this would be one of the main challenges I would say. Within this challenge, I would say that basically there are two sub‑challenges, I would say. One is a technical one. The platforms that have to be used and have to be synchronized, really, between all the stakeholders. That's one thing.

And the other thing that was raised at our first meeting at COP 26, by the researchers themselves, Chalin was one of them and also Lincoln from Brazil, our colleague, is really capacity‑building. This is really something that is being demanded quite strongly by the whole community in that sense. Really one thing is to have the technical capacity, I mean, the infrastructure capacity to bring the stakeholders together and to bring together to implement the whole data chain towards from data that goes from data to information and to knowledge, and finally to end in the hands of the decision‑makers, hopefully. But the other thing is really human capacity to use all those tools in order to be able to achieve these decision‑making process. That's how I see the main challenges of this quite large community.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Thanks very much, Mark. It's interesting that you mention about the free flow of data and also that the technical platforms and the capacity‑building are also, as you mentioned, also the infrastructure capacity is essential. With all of those three in harmony, that can actually lead towards a greater flow of data, but also to take full advantage of the data for use in research. I'd like to pass the question over to Yousef this time. Yousef, what do you see are the main challenges for collaboration within GEO at the moment?

>> YOUSEF TORMAN: Yeah, thank you, thank you, Chris. And thank you, Mark, for covering most of the challenges. But let me add something that is not directly capacity‑building but engagement with youth communities to get them aware of the technologies that we can provide. So I definitely feel we need capacity‑building and training, but at the same time I know that I have been, for example, in Afri GEO symposiums in Africa and they are not aware of the technology we can provide to them, either through the connectivity or providing proper infrastructure. They're not aware of it, for example, of the mechanisms that, many of them, because they are used to using their labs and using their, let's say, infrastructure of the campus, but they're not aware that there are mechanisms and means to access resources beyond their labs, beyond their Universities, beyond the borders of their countries and so on.

So I believe we need also to get more engaged with these communities. That's one of the messages I want to pass, also.

Something complements the capacity‑building, but also it's needed in a different way.

Again, for the decision‑making structure and so on, it's also another challenge. We need to also approach them with the lab which they understood, because we used to speak as infrastructure providers technical and so on, but now we need to approach them through political messages like SDGs. SDGs cannot be achieved without more engagement with the country to achieve SDGs through policy at the national level, let's say open access policies, to adopt also like with the recent UNESCO SDG, UNESCO's recommendations for open science. That's one. These are very important mechanisms that also should be adopted at the policy level, either at the national level or the regional level, also. Thank you.


>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Thank you, Yousef. You make a really good point there about not just engagement with the user communities but the language that we use to talk to the user communities. That is essential. Without speaking to people in the language that they understand, you lose trust, or at least I've found you lose trust, and collaboration really can only occur at the speed of trust. Yeah, I'm with you on that one. I strongly agree we need to be able to articulate the offering and the value of the research and education networks to end users and to the user communities so that people can take full advantage of the services that are offered.

I'd like to move over to Charlene this time. Charlene, from a researcher's perspective, obviously, your background you've seen the work that the research and education networks can perform. But from an outsider's perspective, what do you see are the main challenges for the research and education community to support researchers in using observation data?

>> CHARLENE GABA: Okay. For the previous points that have been raised, I totally agree. But I would like to mention that GEO community is quite diverse, and when we take the various areas, like if we take Latin America, Africa, we don't necessarily have the same challenges in terms of science. So we are not faced with the same problems. And we don't have the same research priorities. So I think everyone should be aware of this diversity in terms of research questions, and in terms of priorities. Even if we all are speaking of floods, floods do not have the same impacts. So they do not have the same priority in the various geographical areas.

So I think we should be aware of this complexity there. Scientific context is not so simple. So maybe everyone should make an effort to discuss and better understand what are the research questions and the priority for each continent. And also, try to find where we overlap. Maybe the challenges are different, but there are some points where we have the same challenges. So this can also help to understand what are our needs.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Thanks very much, Charlene. I was just making notes. That's actually a really good point. This kind of comes back to us to take that on board in order to say, okay, we do need to start talking with research communities in the continents that we represent.


>> CHRIS ATHERTON: As you say, to better understand what it is the researchers are focused on. And what we would like to do is find what the commonalities are, what the common challenges are, because together then we can help tackle those common challenges. But you're right, every continent has their own research focus. And that's one of the reasons why GEO as an organization has certain flagship programs that are focused on specific regions. Ameri GEO is for the Americas, North and South. Afri GEO covers the entire continent of Africa. Euro GEO focuses on Europe, and then Asia GEO focusing on Asiana and Asia and the Pacific. Even so, there's still a key element missing from this room today, and that's the representation from Asia, at least at an infrastructure level. That's something that we as research communities need to address to bring them into this discussion as well. Thanks very much, Charlene.

So one thing that I am interested in is from your perspective, where do you think NRENs can play a role here? We've talked about the challenges of engaging with user communities, the diversity that exists across the world, and also the need for the free flow of data in order to perform research, but where can NRENs and Regional Research and Education Networks help to continue tackling these challenges?

>> CHARLENE GABA: One thing maybe NREN can help with is to increase the literacy, the digital literacy, of some scientists. Like Yousef pointed out, many researchers, they keep with ancient ways, traditional ways, so they still need in Africa, anyway, to improve this digital literacy, like to get used to new technologies that exist. And some scientists have research and ideas, but they don't know that it's actually possible to implement it because the technology already exists. So they need to be aware, so in terms of programming.

And also for women, especially here in Africa, there should be a target for women, because they need to be aware that they can do these type of activities or research. So maybe think of targeting the women, in terms of literacy, for digital literacy. Yeah. This is important. And also this is a point, for me, it's in terms of monitoring. So there's new technologies for monitoring environments, and I think NREN can actually help in supporting the development of those monitoring technologies. Yeah.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: I know what you mean about increasing the digital literacy and the ways that people previously are working to very old methodologies. For example, we've spoken before about data cubes and how you can download a piece of, okay, a satellite image to your local machine in order to process the data, but once you've processed that data then it just remains on your machine. You can't ever replicate it again unless you rerun the script. And yet, using something like a data cube, you can store the preprocessed data so that you can send queries and scripts to the data cube in order to use it in that way. Many people can then reuse the same set of data rather than it relying on an individual to process it directly.

Switching over to, well, and also, I just wanted to say thank you, as well, for mentioning the point about targeting women. I think that's incredibly important. And yeah. I think that that's definitely a role that the Regional Research and Education Networks, I believe, want to try to do.

Moving over to Yousef, given what Charlene just mentioned about, from her perspective was a researcher, about the help that Regional Research and Education Networks can provide, where do you see the help from ASREN, for example, being able to contribute to meeting these challenges?

>> YOUSEF TORMAN: Thank you. Can I before that point out something very important about the role of NRENs? I think NRENs and regional networks are also very important to stakeholder. IGF, Internet Governance Forum, we are not taking a substantial role in the discussions and so on, and even this is very limited, because we're not promoting ourselves as one of the very important stakeholders. And I also believe the academia and research are not well represented at the IGF. So this is a call, which I always keep one slide dedicated for this, to invite all NRENs and regional networks to be part of the Internet Governance Forum. For example, ASREN is a member of the Arab governance, Arab IGF, not doing this, but in another role. We started a very good plan started by the Africa Connect 3 project. We do several activities related to our engagement with the communities. Basically, we would like to ‑‑ part of it is awareness, bringing awareness through participating in these communities and to invite them to our events. For example, we have speakers from Group on Earth Observations in our continents and so on. This is one. Beyond that, we're now preparing a survey to be circulated to the Afri GEO community, other research and education communities in Africa, to study and analyze their needs in terms of access requirements, access mechanisms, needs for computing or storage resources, and so on.

And we will bring out the report as a call for supporting these communities through providing them, us, with let's say, the necessary technology, the necessary platforms, maybe clouds or so, to be able to provide, to support these communities.

Further to that, we are trying to get them to use their education on roaming services and educating and so on. We're also promoting open science in these communities, and through Ellipsis project, we are starting a pilot aggregator for open education, that is open access resources. Actually, we are cooperating. Again, the triangle is working well, we are cooperating with Latin America to utilize their, they call it, la ra francia, which is a tool to harvest and aggregate data repositories in that continent. So we are using that in our region. So we have opportunities that we can share with communities. I think this is a summary of what we can do and are intending to do, actually. We started doing that. Thank you.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Thank you, Yousef. I think that's a really good point as well about the cooperation that exists between the Regional Research and Education Networks already, and the fact that you're also sharing access to common resources, say, for example, RedCLARA to be used for the research and education community.

Mark, from your perspective, or at least from the perspective of RedCLARA, how do you see the role of Regional Research and Education Networks on NRENs, being able to help support this collaboration across the world?

>> MARK URBAN: Thank you, Chris. I just want to come back to what Charlene said about the diversity of challenges that different regions of the world are facing. But at the same time, I would say precisely that's where the research and education networks can bring together all ‑‑ I mean because of all those challenges, because really the technicalities of data processing are the same, in spite of these diversities. So really, what we are attempting to do is getting together kind of bringing together the Regional Research and Education Networks and all the National Research and Education Networks in order to reach a kind of global network. No? In the end, that would bring together all the research community. That's really something we're looking towards.

Because I think the Research and Education Networks, really, there's a demand of articulation of all the research community and the education community. That's where Research and Education Networks have to play a role, in my view.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Thanks, Mark. Where do you find or where do you feel, or how does what you've just said enable us to contribute either directly or indirectly to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals?

>> MARK URBAN: Yes. I think the infrastructure, the tools, the digital tools, are a critical factor in research and, well, in the challenges we're facing. It's a critical factor in the sense that this enhances the effectiveness of scientific research, of the observation, of verification, of the validation process, of diagnostics, and of monitoring, that Charlene mentioned, also. And in the end, it's really on all these factors that the effective implementation of solutions is based on. That's where we can bring an asset, a real asset. It's a kind of worldwide public good, really, for research and for these challenges, in my sense.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Thanks, Mark. Yousef, in what ways do you think that ASREN is able to contribute to the SDGs? Maybe, you mentioned before, at the start, you were going to talk about different SDGs that you are working to help support. What is your opinion on this?

>> YOUSEF TORMAN: Yeah, thank you. Actually, we are putting the SDGs on our map and our priority, all of them, in a way that we can see how we can promote actually putting our cooperation and the word "science," science cooperation. We started this with various activities. One of them, for example, that we have had a full session under the science summit that has been conducted under the 76th General Assembly of the United Nations. We had a full session where we demonstrated how can science cooperation be an instrument and a means to achieve the SDGs.

The main focus of these sessions, one of them, was climate, the life underwater, and life below water, I mean, the 14th, and also I think there was another one on education and so on. But we are looking at all SDGs. We are not ‑‑ they can provide mechanisms through promoting the SDGs and the role of science to achieve SDGs to the decision‑makers, which we are already doing. We are doing that also through cooperation directly with the United Nations UNESCO, the UNESCO for Open Science. And also, we are now moving beyond the infrastructure. For example, our conference that will be taking place next week, I invite you all to attend this conference because we have three days, one day dedicated to NREN's business and services. The second day is dedicated for science at the policy level, science cooperation to achieve SDGs. It's a full day with many sessions, and speakers from all over the world. We have speakers also from GEANT. I would like to thank Chris and Rigu who are contributing to this session, also. The third day would be dedicated to science, open science, and platforms and so on. So we are trying to promote all the science to achieve all SDGs. I know research, as I said, just mentioned in my previous intervention, that this can be instrumental to support achieving all SDGs, either to talk to the politicians, the decision‑makers, we can speak also and coordinate with scientists and researchers and encourage research towards achieving SDGs. Also to the infrastructure, our sister organization around the world, this is exactly what we are doing now through the cooperation with the Latin America, RedCLARA, and GEANT. Thank you.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Thank you. Just to pick up on the point about open science platforms and providing open science platforms in order to try and help achieve the SDGs, I'd just like to come over to Charlene and pose the question to you. Could open science platforms support communities in achieving their Sustainable Development Goals from your perspective as a researcher?

>> CHARLENE GABA: Yes. Definitely. For me, the point is to start evaluating where we are now in terms of achieving the SDGs. What have been done so far? And what is left to do? And if we have to speed up kind of to reach the goals and in that part that is left to be done, how open science can actually play a role. For example, here, we use a lot of really heavy data. So we use HPC, high performance computing. This is really helpful because we can have really heavy datasets and we can process them. Sometimes we have internet challenges, but if the internet is good and if you have good computing capacity, I think this can speed up the research that is being done. Yeah. So it's good to, first, evaluate what has been done so far, what is left to be done, and if there's a need to speed up we can use what can be provided to us with support to accelerate what we're already doing. Yeah.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Thanks, Charlene. And that just goes to highlight the role that, as you say, with stable internet and sufficient capacity, you're able to accelerate the work that you do.

With the tools that you use for high performance computing, are they open science tools? Or are they more proprietary to the systems that you run? In terms of the vendors that you purchase the high performance computing systems from?

>> CHARLENE GABA: No. The question is not clear, please.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Sorry. The tools that you use for high performance computing, are they open science tools? Or are they just provided by the vendors who you purchase the high performance computing center from? Or the high performance compute services from?

>> CHARLENE GABA: I think it's mixed. It's mixed. They're not all open science. No. I think it's mixed. We are ‑‑ it's like we are transitioning. It's in transition towards open science. We are not yet fully working in open science. No. There's still a lot to learn and change mindsets. Because when you have been used to doing it in a certain manner, it's not always easy to change. So it takes time. Yeah. We need more flexibility. Yeah.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: More flexibility. Go ahead, Mark. You can jump in.

>> MARK URBAN: Yeah, no, I just wanted to reiterate what Charlene said, and really in line with that I think it's really very significant the comment. It's really the research and education network I think has, as Yousef has already commented, has really to reach out for the stakeholders in research and beyond research, really. There is this platform. We offer this platform with really open, promoting open science. But this has to be known by the stakeholders. And this is something that we have to take care of, also. I think we have a strong, let's say, public relation task to do still. And of course, we have limited resources, but I think altogether if we get together we can reach, better reach, a certain level of in that sense. That's what I wanted to add.

And beyond that, I wanted to say, also, that, yes, HPC resources, computing power, this is all this are things we're dedicated to precisely. In an open way, precisely. That's maybe something that researchers don't know, but integration with tools like Copernicus is also something very important. Open data flows, that flows through the network, these are concrete things. It's really important that we get together. That's what I wanted to say.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Go ahead, Yousef.

>> YOUSEF TORMAN: I like the way you introduced the HPC through differently. Usually, we talk about HPCs not in an open way. We keep talking about HPCs and so on. Now, I like the way: Is it under open access? Open science? I think we need to address this all together. I remember I think that was in 2007 there was a project by the Open Commission. This can be a call for the Open Commission to support us with this, a project called Link Scheme about interconnecting the HPC infrastructure in the Mediterranean region together. I know the project is very old and I don't remember the outcomes because I was not part of that project at that time. It was by a project VIC, but from my end I recall what this project is about and see if we can build on this through a project, a collaboration project, at least to start with a network of people who are working either in HPC or they need HPCs with the support of NRENs and regional networks. And from there we explore and see how we can facilitate open access or open HPC and open access mechanism. Thank you.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Thanks, Yousef. We've only got a few more minutes left so we're drawing to a close now. Anyone from the audience or anyone online, if you do have any questions, please feel free to jump in and ask. We're very happy to have any questions that you want to pose.

If not, I will ask a couple last questions to the panelists. Yousef, you mentioned before about wanting to support all the Sustainable Development Goals, in general. We've gone from what Mark said earlier, Luis Cadenas said, the NRENs accelerate and grow all of the SDGs. But are there any specific SDGs that you think we should target with support? Given that we don't have unlimited resources, we can't target everything at the same time, is there anything you think we should prioritize?

>> YOUSEF TORMAN: Thank you. I believe the climate is the priority. It's the priority at the European Commission, United Nations, maybe you're aware, you've been part of the COP 26, and climate and so on. From my end, I believe that climate is the priority for us at ASREN. We already started at the COP 26 discussions, I think it was last November or so, we need to start identifying at risk communities. The issue is not only to find the researchers who do research on climate or climate‑related research and so on, but also we need to have another level of decision‑makers, leaders, leaders in climate. Like maybe directors or chairpeople of authorities that are responsible for climate at the national level, in addition to decision‑makers at the ministerial level or the policy‑making level. So we need to talk, to address, these three levels of people. Of course, with NRENs are always on the table, but these kind of three level of people we need to notice them so that we can have a community, again, at the levels of national, regional, and international. And from there, we can send a call that we need to cooperate, that we need to bring tools, infrastructure, technologies, to support the climate actions to support researchers who are doing research related to climate, in addition to what is going on at the policy level. Because the policy level is also very important. Thank you.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Thanks very much, Yousef. We had a comment from one of the participants online. Urszula, if you'd like to, you can have the floor to pose your question. Or to make your statement.

If not, as she was saying in the message, she thinks science and knowledge should generally be openly accessible to all, but with remuneration of the builders of those tools. And I think that's definitely something that needs to be addressed, because we all need to eat at the end of the day. Not everything is free; although, it could be free at the point of use. It just depends, obviously, who pays for this.

A lot of the NRENs and the Research and Education Networks in general are funded by national governments. it's public infrastructure. That's why we're not‑for‑profit organizations. And we strongly believe that we need to ensure that everyone in the world has equitable access to the data that researchers both benefit from and also publish. So yeah. I do understand where you're coming from. Mark, if you have a comment.

>> MARK URBAN: Yes, just adding to what you just said and what Yousef said, I completely agreeing on all those lines. Climate change is, of course, the main challenge that humanity is facing, I guess, at this stage. And of course, responding to those challenges, we already work on SDG 9 and SDG 17, is the partnerships are fundamental in that sense. But I want to add just to what you just said, Chris. I think what is also important for this is capacity‑building, and coming back to that. SDG 4, education, and Article 6 of UNFCCC, really, it's something that we need to maybe to focus on, also, in future, I think. There's a big demand on that, from what I derive from the discussions we've had these last times. Thank you.

>> CHRIS ATHERTON: Thanks very much, Mark. And so I would just like to use this opportunity to bring the session to a close, both to thank all of the panelists and to Hendrik and Auke for all of their help in organizing and having this session set up, and to everyone here that has attended and contributed. Thanks, very much, Urszula, for your comments as well. I think we have an idea now of the direction we want to go in, focusing on capacity‑building, with the various SDGs. But also to focus on climate and climate action with all of the various aspects that we need to tackle with that. Thank you once again. And enjoy the rest of your day.

(End session at 7:45 a.m. CT.)