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A Regional Conference on “MARWAN: an innovation enabler through advanced e-Infrastructures"

13 - 14 October 2022

Palm Plaza Marrakech Hotel, Marrakesh, Morocco

Background and Overview
As research and education became more demanding for resources, applications, massive volumes of data, high performance and grid computing and content, it has become a worldwide trend to establish dedicated networks for research and education away from the commercial Internet to satisfy the needs of research and education communities. National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) have been found to provide dedicated connectivity to universities, research centers, libraries, hospitals and any other organization supporting or conducting these activities.

NRENs services are not limited to connectivity provision. NRENs are expected to provide a set of services that enable collaboration and encourage joint projects and help the research and education communities to access scientific data repositories and computing resources. Furthermore, NRENs are now taking a new role in supporting new global trends in Science Cooperation, Open Science, Science Dialogue, Engagement with user communities and more.

Open Science, Open Access and Open Data are now on the top of the agenda of each country and at the regional and international levels. UNSESCO has recently announced its recommendations on Open Science. Europe has also adopted the European Open Science Cloud to support the R&E communities. More initiatives and activities are taking place around.
Morocco has developed a good model of NREN with support of the government and decision makers in the country with good engagement with stakeholders. This model is to be promoted to other countries with novice NRENs and countries who don’t have NREN yet.

Moroccan Academic Wide Area Network (MARWAN)
MARWAN is a national computer network dedicated for education, training and research. It is an information infrastructure connecting educational institutions and it is run by the National Centre for Scientific and Technical Research (CNRST).
Since its inception in 1998, MARWAN has been a driver for Moroccan universities to develop new services in education, technology transfer and scientific research. CNRST relies on the evolution of communication technologies internationally to improve the quality, service and network architecture of MARWAN. In its new topology, MARWAN 5 (2022-2026) connect all universities and research institutions in Morocco with links from 100 Mbps to 10 Gbps. MARWAN provide beneficial services to the 250-affiliate institutions.
The European Union has had a very positive impact on the evolution of MARWAN since 2005, largely within the framework of its co-funded projects EUMEDCONNECT and AfricaConnect, Africaconnect3 at present.

Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN)
The Arab States Research and Education Network (ASREN) was established in 2011 under the umbrella of the League of Arab States to support the developments in the Arab region through the provision of high-quality internet access, collaboration tools and platforms and infrastructure services to the research and education communities in the Arab region and to facilitate collaboration with other communities around the world.
Main Conference Objectives
The main objective of the conference was to promote the use of the advanced e-Infrastructure provided by MARWAN and to support MARWAN to develop and provide more services to the research and education communities in Morocco to enable cooperation and facilitate collaboration between scientists, academics, and students in Morocco and beyond. The proposed conference addressed University Presidents, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, National Scientific Research centers, and Scientific Research Support Fund on the importance and necessity of Research and Education Networks to provide the e-Infrastructure services to the research and education communities and to connect them with the regional and global research and education networks. In general, the conference tackled the following:
  • NRENs to sustain and support research and education Infrastructures including Connectivity, Services, Access to resources, and enabling cooperation.
  • The role of AfricaConnect3 LIBSENSE projects in supporting research and education
  • Open Science and Open Science Platforms Open Access, Open Educational Resources
  • Clouds for research and education and Open Science Platforms including applications, infrastructures, and platforms.
  • Science Cooperation through sustainable infrastructures and an open science environment
  • Scientific, Research and educational communities, and communities of practice.

Day 1: Thursday, 13 October 2022 [Video Record]

 09:00 - 10:30

 Opening Session 

  Moderator: Redouane Merrouch, Head of MARWAN, Morocco
  • Welcome by CNRST, Prof. Jamila El Alami, Director, CNRST, Morocco
  • Welcome by ASREN, Yousef Torman, Managing Director, ASREN, Jordan [ppt]
  • Message from EU DG-INTPA, Angelica SARTORI CONTE, Programme Officer – Digital Connectivity, European Union Delegation, Belgium (Remote Participation)
  • Message from GÉANT, Helga Spitaler, Senior International Relations Project Manager, GÉANT, United Kingdom
  • "African Strategy for Fundamental and Applied Physics"Farida Fassi, Professor of Physics, Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco 
 10:30 - 11:00

 Coffee Break

 11:00 - 12:30

 NRENs Around and
 What do they do?

 Moderator: Aziz Ettahir, Head of Mutualisation Département, CNRST, Morocco
  • “The Moroccan Academic and Research Network: MARWAN”Redouane Merrouch, Head of MARWAN, Morocco [ppt]
  • “The Computing Center Al Khawarismi: new challenges and future projects for the higher education”, Saoussen Krichen, General Director, CCK, Tunisia [ppt]
  • “The Palestinian Academic and Research Network: Challenges and Aspirations”Monther Salahat, Technological Transformation Director, Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research, Palestine [ppt]
  • “Why even have an NREN?”Yousif Asfour, Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer, TechCARE, American University of Beirut, Lebanon [ppt]
  • “ASREN Network & Services”, Eriko Proto, IT Consultant, ASREN, Brazil [ppt]
  • “GÉANT – at the heart of global R&E networking”Helga Spitaler, Senior International Relations Project Manager, GÉANT, United Kingdom [ppt]
 12:30 - 14:00

 Lunch Break

 14:00 - 15:30

 Open Science   and Clouds - I

 Moderator: Saoussen Krichen, General Director, CCK, Tunisia
  • "Initiatives of IMIST-CNRST in Promoting Moroccan Scientific Heritage and its International Visibility"Hicham Boutracheh, Head of IMIST, Morocco [ppt]
  • “Mapping and Visualizing the Arab Region’s Contribution to Global Environmental Research through Open Access Publishing”Shaher Zyoud, Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research, Palestine [ppt]
  • “ASREN’s strategy towards supporting libraries in Open Science activities”Raed Al-Zoubi, Director of the Centennial Library, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Jordan [ppt]
  • “NI4OS-Europe Open Science Cloud platform”Ognjen Prnjat, Director, European Infrastructures and Projects, GRNET, Greece [ppt]
  • “NREN Cloud support for Research in Europe”, David Heyns, Project Director, GÉANT [ppt]
 15:30 - 16:00

 Coffee Break

 16:00 - 17:30

  Open Science   and Clouds - II

 Moderator: Yahya Tayalati, Professor of Physics, Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco
  • "Clouds for High Energy Physics"Yahya Tayalati, Professor of Physics, Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco [ppt]
  • "Mouzn: An Open Cloud Computing Platform for Research and Education"Taha El Barbouchi, Dailyapps, Morocco [ppt]
  • "Openness in Action: CNUDST Experience"Bessem Amira, CNUDST, Tunisia [ppt]
  • “SOBOL: The new SVU platform for open Online Arabic Content”, Mohamad ALHabbal, IT Manager, Syrian Virtual University, Syria [ppt]


Day 2: Friday, 14 October 2022

 08:30 - 10:00

 Science Cooperation,
 Opportunities and

 Moderator: Noureddine Idboufker, Professor, Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco
  • “SESAME international research centre and its opportunities to the scientific communities”, Mustafa Al Zoubi, Data Collection and Analysis Team Leader, SESAME Synchrotron-light, Jordan [ppt]
  • "QoS Models and their Contributions for Business Traffic in Academic Infrastructure"Noureddine Idboufker, Professor, Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco [ppt]
  • "MARWAN: infrastructure and e-services"Hassan Bouhaddou, MARWAN, CNRST [ppt]
  • "Morrocan Participation to the Hyper-Kamiokande Collaboration"Mohamed Gouighri, Professor of Physics, Faculty of Sciences, Ibn-Tofail University, Morocco [ppt]
  • "Connected Campuses Project", Nassim SEFRIOUI, Head of Service Operations, The Ministry of Higher Education, Morocco [ppt]
 10:00 - 10:30

 Coffee Break

 10:30 - 11:15


 “Developing sustainable regional infrastructures in Southeast Europe”Ognjen Prnjat, Director, European Infrastructures and Projects, GRNET, Greece [ppt]

 11:15 - 12:00


 "ASREN - Regional requirements and status on Cloud"David Heyns, Project Director, GÉANT [ppt]

12:00 - 13:30

 Lunch Break