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In the vibrant city of Bangalore, India, the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS) played host to a discussion meeting titled "Challenges in Networks" from January 29 to February 2, 2024. This event marked a significant milestone in the ongoing exchange program between researchers from India and The Netherlands, focusing on network science and related domains.

The collaboration, reignited after the challenges posed by the pandemic, had its roots in a successful joint meeting in 2018 at the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, where 70 participants engaged in fruitful discussions. Building on this momentum, several one-day workshops were organized in The Netherlands in 2017 and 2018, setting the stage for the latest gathering in Bangalore.

The ICTS campus, established in 2015, provided an ideal backdrop for the workshop. Nestled away from the bustling downtown, the campus exuded a serene atmosphere, boasting beautiful housing facilities and a welcoming canteen. The venue, with its quiet charm and adorned with blackboards, proved to be the perfect setting for discussions among participants.

A total of 45 attendees, including one-third from The Netherlands affiliated with NETWORKS, participated in the workshop. The agenda featured 20 talks and a comprehensive discussion session. The director of ICTS extended a warm welcome on the second day, acquainting the participants with the various facilities available.

This workshop presented an opportunity for European participants to meet their Indian colleagues, and, arguably more importantly, also for young Indian researchers to meet senior European researchers on the topic of the mathematics of networks. Such an exchange would not have been possible without this physical meeting and the vibrant discussions that it has sparked.

The workshop covered a diverse array of topics, delving into the static and dynamic properties of networks, geometric features, optimization and control issues, and the intersections of network science with physics, computer science, social sciences, and medical sciences.

Tuesday saw students presenting posters, followed by two-minute speeches and engaging discussions with the audience. Midway through the week, a strategic afternoon unfolded, focusing on major future questions in network science. Spearheaded by Remco van der Hofstad (TU/e), Rajesh Sundaresan (IISc), and Diego Garlaschelli (IMT, Lucca and Leiden), this two-hour animated discussion session sparked new research ideas and promising directions. How to decide what is a good network model? How can the mathematical networks community collaborate with its more applied counterparts to understand network statistics? How to use clever control to steer a network in a wanted direction? How can statistical physics ideas be fruitfully used in order to understand network modelling and functionality?

Wednesday morning offered a refreshing break as many participants embarked on a scenic walk to a nearby lake, culminating in a rejuvenating sip of coconut water from a local shop. Thursday brought the group together for a well-deserved evening of drinks and dinner at a pub, providing a delightful respite after four intensive days. The culinary journey throughout the workshop was a highlight, with the canteen offering delicious South Indian breakfasts, diverse lunch options, and satisfying dinners. For those seeking refreshment, the beautiful swimming pool provided a perfect escape.

During the workshop ongoing collaborations were strengthened and new collaborations were set up. Talks were followed by extensive discussion sessions, and for those eager to revisit the presentations, the ICTS YouTube channel offered a digital archive. Looking ahead, there are plans to organize a follow-up workshop in January 2026, promising another exciting chapter in the collaborative journey of NETWORKS.