Digging up research and collaboration stories from NRENs

It is a known fact that universities and research institutions the world over are launching and being involved in inspiring and cutting-edge research and collaboration projects by each passing day.

However, sharing the progress and impact of these projects with the rest of the global community seems not to be a top priority for concerned institutions, making it hard for other NRENs and end users to equally benefit from the projects.

It is for this reason that the Global PR Networking Community held a workshop at  TNC 2016 in Prague, Czech Republic aimed at seeking  ways of encouraging education and research institutions to share their research and collaboration projects with the rest of the global networking community.

Representatives from Regional Research and Education Networks (RRENs) of GÉANT, UbuntuNet Alliance, WACREN, ASREN and RedCLARA gathered for this workshop which also featured a panel discussion aimed at enhancing strong communication and dissemination practices for African NRENs.

During the workshop, the representatives agreed that most NRENs are shying from enlightening their stakeholders and end users on their on-going research and collaboration projects and on how the projects are impacting on their communities.
Participants to the workshop gave varying reasons for the lack of a holistic dissemination approach, with the absence of dedicated communication and dissemination teams in NRENs cited as the chief challenge.

“Most NRENs are yet to get to recruit dedicated communication and dissemination staff as a result important research and collaboration projects happening within the NRENs are going unnoticed,” observed Hastings Ndebvu of UbuntuNet Alliance.

Contributing to the discussion, Helga Spitaler of GÉANT emphasised on the need to encourage NREN managers to take an initiative of reaching out to their end-users to increase the visibility of research projects happening in their communities.

“NREN managers need to be encouraged to establish contacts with communication experts from their Regional Research and Education Networks who are always eager to follow up on the projects happening within the NREN community and share the progress and success of the projects with the rest of the networking community,” she said.

Taking her turn, Jane Gilford of the Austrian NREN AARNET said the motivation to share and disseminate on-going projects and collaborations needs to be instilled in all members of the NRENs regardless of their designated positions.

“CEOs, Technical Managers and engineers can all play a role in dissemination of NREN activities. These people do not need to be experts in communication and dissemination but can send short paragraphs, videos and photos of research stories to platforms like theIn the Field blog where we can develop full stories. Our focus is to simply show the world the impact of research and education networks.”

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