Vietsch Foundation and GÉANT project to support Ukrainian Research and Education Network

Funded in 2022 – The Vietsch Foundation and the GÉANT Association have started a project to support URAN, the research and education network of Ukraine and a member of GÉANT.

As the war in Ukraine goes on URAN will need our support and help more than ever, not just to survive but to stay as safe as possible and where possible to maintain and rebuild.

GÉANT and Europe’s NRENs will donate funds to primarily address URAN’s cash flow challenges and help to ensure URAN’s survival as an NREN. Whilst the war has heavily affected URAN’s many users who are currently unable to operate themselves and are therefore unable to pay for URAN services, URAN faces ongoing operational costs and is therefore at severe risk itself.

The funds donated to the Vietsch Foundation will be reserved only for the purpose of this project. The reservation is bound to the proposals as formulated by URAN and GÉANT in the pursuit of the objectives stated in the project agreement, and thus help to preserve the knowledge and skills of the Ukrainian NREN.

eduDNS Project

Funded in 2022 – The Vietsch Foundation announces a new grant to fund the project eduDNS, a Dynamic DNS service for Academia, eduDNS was relayed to the Vietsch Foundation by GÉANT through its Innovation Programme.

Nowadays, more and more services are dynamically deployed in Cloud environments. Usually, the services hosted on virtual machines in Cloud are accessible only via IP addresses or pre-configured hostnames given by the target Cloud providers, making it difficult to provide them with meaningful domain names. Dynamic DNS services exist to alleviate this problem, but none of them is scoped to the Academic realm.

The eduDNS project will provide a universal, vendor-independent Dynamic DNS support for research and education users. Service owners will log in the eduDNS portal via eduTEAMS, register meaningful, memorable hostnames (e.g., assign the hostnames to their servers then provide access to their services via the hostnames.

eduDNS will simplify the deployment of services that are dynamically deployed in Cloud infrastructures. It removes the obstacles of changing IP addresses of services in Cloud at every deployment and enables obtaining SSL certificates for the hostnames. Service providers can migrate services from local servers to Cloud or from a Cloud site to another without noticing users from the change.

The project started at the beginning of 2022 and will end in Summer 2022 with a prototype of eduDNS service deployed at IISAS (Institute of Informatics, Slovak Academy of Sciences) and IFCA (Instituto de Física de Cantabria).

AALD Project

Funded in 2021 – The Vietsch Foundation announces a new project grant on Academic Achievement and Learning Diaries (AALD).

Epistemic cognition, like the justification of knowledge, is a growing theme in learning analytics. It is highly topical in the era of MOOCs and conflicting resources of knowledge.

AALD aims to increase the scientific understanding of students’ epistemic thinking related to learning analytics applications. This information is vital for making advancements in designing new applications to measure and monitor student success.

The application used to record student experience is a structured learning diary that allows higher education students to prepare for classes, make notes, and reflect on their learning experience afterward. Our research expands the dataset to include student interviews, student register data, and questionnaires (pre-test, post-test, and two delayed post-test questionnaires).

AALD contributes to publishing two scientific open access articles, a public web page describing the structured diary tool contents, and main findings summary of the project. In addition, a public presentation will be given as part of a relevant conference. The project timeline is from Oct 2021 to Jan 2022. Publications’ should be open after the review processes later in 2022.

For more information: Ville Kivimäki, University of Helsinki,


Public version of the Science Checker website released

The is now publicly available.

Funded in 2020/21 – The Science Checker project built a free to access search engine, developing a novel approach that verifies scientific claims by means of analysing the pertinent and available scientific literature.

In the words of the developers the Science Checker:

– facilitates access and exploration of scientific literature.
– illustrates the need to analyze several studies in order to get a better idea of the state of scientific knowledge on a subject.
– illustrates that Open Access, combined with the right artificial intelligence tools, can facilitate the transmission of knowledge outside the academic world.

The grant was awarded to Opscidia, a startup which develops artificial intelligence tools that make use of open access articles to accelerate innovation, promote sound policies and help providing rigorous information to the general public. 

Medal Award 2021

The Vietsch Foundation awards the 2021 Medal of Honour to Laurel Haak.

Laurel L. Haak, Founding Executive Director of ORCID, is the recipient of the 2021 medal of honour of the Vietsch Foundation.

The medal is awarded annually to people who have made a contribution of lasting value to the research and development of advanced Internet technology aimed to support science, research and higher education. The 2021 award ceremony was held online on the 22nd of June, during a plenary session of TNC2021, the leading European networking conference organised by GÉANT.

In the spirit of the award, which recognises individuals who have proved their organizational skills and whose efforts have led to the creation of institutions or services of long-term value, the choice fell on Laure as the best in a range of very qualified nominees. “Laure led the development of ORCID from a concept to a global, community-led, non-profit service used by more than ten million researchers. ORCID IDs are now the essential foundation for research processes in and between institutions, funders, and publishers: enabling the creation, testing, sharing and finding of new knowledge,” said Andrew Cormack, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Vietsch Foundation, explaining the rationale for the award.

Laure currently is the Founder and CEO of Mighty Red Barn where her work centers on trust-building to foster communities, through practice areas of digital infrastructure and identity, governance and decision frameworks, product strategy and practice. She also serves as a volunteer mentor for the SCORE small business start-up program. 

Prior to her work at ORCID, Laure was the Chief Science Officer at Discovery Logic, Inc. (acquired by Thomson Reuters and now part of Clarivate), providing workforce analysis, metrics, benchmarking, and data visualizations for funding agencies and academic institutions, including the development of the electronic Scientific Portfolio Assistant, which combined back-end database ingest, machine learning, and expert analytics to transform agency approaches to program evaluation.

As a program officer for the US National Academies, Laure managed expert panels and the development and publication of research policy reports for the US government, academic, and association stakeholders, including reports on interdisciplinary research, international students, and women in academia. This work built on her experience as editor of Science’s Next Wave Postdoc Network at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where she helped to build a community of practice around postdoctoral workforce policy and supported the launch of the National Postdoctoral Association. 

Laure received a B.S. and an M.S. in Biology from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Stanford University Medical School, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the US National Institutes of Health.

Wikipedia page:


The mission of the Vietsch Foundation is to promote research and development of advanced Internet technology for scientific research and higher education. The Vietsch Foundation fulfils its goals in two ways: First, it contributes funding to specific research and development projects that demonstrate potential value to progress European and global research and education networking. And second, each year it awards a medal of honour to people who have contributed to the development of services or technologies of lasting value that are used by the networking community and its users in research, development and education. The Foundation was created through the last will and testament of Willem Karel Vietsch (1952–2014), a Dutch expert, a leader of the international Internet community, and also the Secretary-General of TERENA, a former association of European national research and education networks. For details visit:

Targeted Online – A publication on how AdTech works


Funded in 2020 – The Vietsch Foundation funded the publication of “Targeted Online”, a handbok by the European Digital Rights (EDRi), an association of civil and human rights organisations from across Europe.

The web has become a place where visiting a webpage triggers many effects elsewhere, where advertising technology results in a surveillance ecosystem. Yet people still think of the ‘friendly’ world wide web of the nineties. The “Targeted Onlie” handbook is intended for curious internet users who want to understand the internet’s dominant business model, how tech companies use (and abuse) data, why some ads are eerily creepy and others so foolishly wrong. The handbook explains how online advertising works, and why a reform of the entire online advertising industry is urgently needed.

The “Targeted Online” handbook can be dowloaded here. For more informtion visit the EDRI website.

Lígia Maria Ribeiro steps down as Trustee of the Vietsch Foundation


Starting from the 1st of January 2021, Lígia Maria Ribeiro steps down as trustee of the Vietsch Foundation. Lígia is Principal Researcher at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto and set on the Board of Directors of the European University Information Systems Organization (EUNIS) until 2020. Since joining the Vietsch Foundation Board of Trustees in January 2018, Lígia has contributed enormously to the relation with EUNIS and to the establishment of many successful projects.

In saying farewell to her fellow trustees Lígia said “I want to express my satisfaction for having had the opportunity to be part of the Vietsch Foundation’s Board of Trustees over these three years.”

The Vietsch Foundation expresses many thanks to Lígia in return and wishes her all the best with her retirement.


Pekka Kähkipuro and Kathleen Shearer new Trustees of the Vietsch Foundation

In 2020 the Board of Trustees of the Vietsch Foundation was extended with two new members whose important role in international research education and technology is widely recognised. Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director of COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories) joined the Foundation in August. In October, Pekka Kähkipuro, Chief Information Officer at Brunel University London became the seventh member of the Board of Trustees.

Valentino Cavalli, chair of the Vietsch Foundation said “We’ve had a strategic goal of reaching out to new and wider communities for some time and I’m extremely pleased that Pekka and Kathleen accepted the Board’s invitation to become part of the Foundation. With their addition, the Board has greatly increased its range of expertises and strengthened its reach to research areas in Europe and beyond, in an impressive way”. Kathleen and Pekka have been appointed as member at large for an initial term of three years.

Pekka Kähkipuro

Member of the Board of Trustees

Pekka Kähkipuro is Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Tampere University, Finland.

Prior to joining Tampere, Pekka was CIO at Brunel University UK 2016-2021, Director of IT at Aalto University in Finland 2010-2015 and, before that, he held various senior roles in the private sector including Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks in 2005-2010. Pekka obtained his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Helsinki in 2000. He has been Board member of the European University Information Systems (EUNIS) organization on two occasions and the President of EUNIS in 2015. He has also been board member and Chairman of the Board in several private sector companies.

EMREX project

The Vietsch Foundation announces a new grant to CSC for a project to expand the EMREX network to the EU and beyond.

EMREX is a solution for transferring student data internationally in a machine-readable way. It consists of two parts: the technical solution and the international network (EMREX user group – EUG) enabling and developing the activities. EMREX originated as an EU-funded project 2015-2017, aiming to simplify and increase the quality of the credit transfer process after a student exchange. At present, EMREX is operational in a number of countries in Europe. It is a technical solution used to securely exchange educational data between students and third parties, for example higher education institutions (HEIs) or potential employers. In this way, EMREX can facilitate student mobility and decrease the administrative burden of student exchanges for the institutions. EMREX uses an open source technical solution, through which different kinds of educational data can be transferred, be it transcript of records or entire diplomas.

The Vietsch Foundation grant will serve two objectives:

  • Industrializing the EMREX registry and reviewing the ELMO standard
  • Dissemination of EMREX services and building the EMREX brand

This will help EMREX to make a step-change towards a self-standing service which creates value to students and organizations in Europe and also globally.