Two new projects in the Research and Higher Education Technology Fund

The Vietsch Foundation made a new contribution to the NLnet Research and Higher Education Technology Fund to support two innovative projects:

  • Explain.directly.  This collaborative project between the Web Information Systems group of TU Delft and FeedbackFruits, aims at piloting new and more effective access paradigms for Online Open Courseware. In most cases, online educational material is intended to be consumed in a traditional course-based manner. The project will work on making access to educational material easier, targeted and direct, re-usable and more tailored to life-long learning scenarios.
  • Democratic Sendcomm. The project aims to build a user-friendly connected telemetry appliance with just enough configuration to teach democratic communication while keeping the learning curve flat. The main deliverable will be a Opensource design of cheap yet high performance LoRa devices in form factors appropriate for one low-power platform (like BBC Micro:bit) and one high-power platform (like Minnowboard Turbot). Work will include a sample production run of 1000 units for one of the form factors and suitable documentation for educational purposes.

Project supported by the Vietsch Foundation wins ISOC Innovation Award

Amsterdam 12 January 2018 – Let’s Connect, a project based on eduVPN, the open source VPN project which was funded by the Vietsch Foundation in 2017, has won the Annual ISOC Innovation Award. The award was handed out to Rogier Spoor (SURFnet) by Melanie Peters, Director of the Rathenau Instituut, during a ceremony held at the Annual ISOC New Year Event held yesterday evening in Amsterdam.

eduVPN was judged an innovative and useful project but also a mature and sustainable one. Surfnet, the Dutch research and education networking organisation offers eduVPN as a service for Dutch higher education and research https://www.eduvpn.nl/.


The Vietsch Foundation welcomes Lígia Ribeiro in its Board of Trustees

Amsterdam 3-January-2018. The Vietsch Foundation is delighted to announce that Lígia Ribeiro has joined its Board of Trustees. “Lígia has an outstanding track record in supporting research and higher education at a very high level both at national and European level. She is a great addition to the Board of Trustees and I’m sure will make us stronger” said Valentino Cavalli, Chair of the Board of the Vietsch Foundation.

Lígia has been Principal Researcher at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto since 2002. She was Pro-rector for ICT at the University between 2006 and 2014, after being Vice-president of the Institute for Common Resources and Initiatives and director of the Computer Centre of the Faculty of Engineering.

Lígia Ribeiro is member of the Board of Directors of the EUNIS, European University Information Systems Organization, of which she was President between 2004 and 2006, after two years in the position of vice-president. She is also the chair of the European CASRAI Chapter, launched in April 2017. Since 2014 she is a member of the Task Group Best Practice/DRIS of the European Organization for International Research Information (euroCRIS). Between 2008 and 2011 she was member of the Technical Committee of TERENA, the Trans-European Research and Education Networking Association.

Lígia Ribeiro received her degree in Applied Mathematics at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto and holds a PhD in Engineering Science from the University of Minho. Her main research areas of interest are Computer Simulation, High Performance Computing, Information Systems, Electronic Administration and Informal Learning Spaces.


EUNIS signs collaboration agreement with the Vietsch Foundation

The Vietsch Foundation and EUNIS sign Memorandum of Understanding to jointly support advanced technology development for scientific research and higher education

Amsterdam, 8 June 2017: Valentino Cavalli, chair of the Board of Trustees of the Vietsch Foundation and Ilkka Siissalo, outgoing President of EUNIS, the European University Information Systems, signed a Memorandum of Understanding during the EUNIS 2017 event in Münster. The two organisations see significant potential synergy in their activities, and wish to collaborate on shared goals. EUNIS will support the Vietsch Foundation in the acquisition of projects flowing from its incoming activity stream. Eligible proposals, with demonstrable beneficial impact for scientific research and higher education will be considered by the Vietsch Foundation for funding. “We expect the collaboration with EUNIS to enhance significantly our relationship with the higher education community, particularly by reaching out to universities and campuses in Europe” says Valentino Cavalli, and adds “we believe that such a dynamic community will come up with a lot of innovative ideas for advancing technology to support scientific research and education”. Underlining the unique position of EUNIS as the European platform for exchange of best practice and research in higher education information systems, Ilkka Siissalo states “We are looking forward to foster innovative projects and studies from the wide EUNIS communities by connecting them to the generous support of the Vietsch Foundation. EUNIS is grateful for this opportunity and appreciates the trust of the Vietsch Foundations.”

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: http://www.vietsch-foundation.org

EUNIS, Established in 1993, EUNIS is the Association of Information Technology (IT) Services in European Higher Education and Research (HE & R) institutions. EUNIS aims to encourage cooperation between its members, and also with other organisations and industry suppliers. Regular members of EUNIS are national organisations in 22 European countries as well as single universities. EUNIS has also associate members outside Europe and corporate members representing the industry. For details visit: http://www.eunis.org


2017 Medal Awarded to John Boland

John Boland, outgoing Chief Executive of HEAnet, Ireland’s National Education and Research Network has been awarded the Vietsch Foundation’s medal of honour. 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. John Boland received the medal earlier today during the opening of the TNC17 conference in Linz, Austria. TNC is the largest European research and education networking event, organised by GÉANT, the association of European national research and education networks. TNC17 is hosted by ACOnet, the Austrian Academic Computer Network.

The Vietsch Foundation Medal is awarded annually to individuals or teams that have developed new ideas as well as to those who have proved their organisational skills and whose efforts have led to the creation of institutions or services of long-term value. Valentino Cavalli, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Vietsch Foundation, explains the rationale behind this year’s award. “John Boland was chosen from many candidates because of his track record of successful achievements, both nationally and internationally. Thanks to strong leadership and management, he was able to turn vision into stable organisational setup and services, which are successful and sustainable and are due to last for many years to come”.

John holds a degree in Electronic Engineering and a Post-Graduate diploma in Corporate Governance. He started his career as an electronics engineer for Marconi Communications in the UK. He went on to be a Systems Administrator for Westinghouse in Australia before joining Dublin City University as the Systems and Network Manager in 1990, where he worked for seven years before his appointment as CEO of HEAnet.

In accepting the award, John Boland said, “I have always been passionate about our pan-European project and it is a great honour to be recognised with this award by our NREN community. I am very proud to accept this medal of honour, not only for myself, but for the whole HEAnet team”.

From the very start, John had a clear vision of what HEAnet could and would become and he has devoted the past twenty years to translating his vision into reality. With funding secured from Government, he has built HEAnet into what it is today – Ireland’s National Education and Research Network, providing internet connectivity and services to 1 million users across the Republic of Ireland (population 4.7 million).

In 2004, John championed Irish Government ambitions to provide broadband to all 4,000 schools in Ireland. Under his leadership HEAnet designed, built, and is still managing the first Schools Network in Ireland. Building on this success, he was a member of Government steering group who implemented 100 Mbit/s connectivity for all post-primary schools in Ireland. John’s vision, to leverage HEAnet’s existing national network infrastructure for the benefit of the Schools Network, continues to deliver significant savings for the exchequer.

Never one to stand still, John has continually steered HEAnet into new areas of strategic importance for Ireland’s research and education community. In 2015, he oversaw the establishment of a HEAnet subsidiary company, EduCampus Services, which offers Managed Information Services (MIS); cementing HEAnet’s position as the technology provider for Ireland’s education and research sector.

He served as a member of DANTE Board of Directors for six years (a former UK based company responsible for establishing and operating the pan-European GÉANT network for the research and education sector). During this period, he was also Ireland’s representative on the e-IRG Board throughout Ireland’s EU Presidency in 2012/2013.

John’s long-standing involvement with GÉANT (the leading collaboration on e-infrastructure and services for research and education) has contributed to his success in putting Ireland firmly on the map in terms of pan-European networking.

As John steps down as CEO of HEAnet after twenty years of service, he leaves us as a valued friend to the community, both domestically and internationally, and he leaves behind a legacy that sees HEAnet as an exemplar to any NREN worldwide.


Vietsch Foundation Supports eduVPN Project

eduVPN is an initiative to make VPN technology commonly available, by building better and more user-friendly tools.

We live in a society that wants to be online whenever possible, and WiFi is popular technology for achieving this. Unlike the “home” situation which could be described as a trusted network, we also make heavy use of public offerings of WiFi, which we describe as guest networks, and which are in a special position that could make them perform a number of rogue attacks on our connections.

A number of dangers of using WiFi on such guest networks has been identified, and methods of running a trusted network over such potentially rogue connections have been devised. EduVPN is an implementation of such facilities which was originally designed with educational institutions as an audience.

The eduVPN Project is a collaboration of the Vietsch Foundation, the NLnet Foundation and the Commons Conservancy


“Research and Higher Education Technology Fund” kick-started

The Netherlands based Vietsch Foundation (www.vietsch-foundation.org) makes the first donation to the “Research and Higher Education Technology Fund”. The new thematic fund is managed by the NLnet foundation, a public benefit organisation established in 1997 with the mission to promote the exchange of electronic information. As a framework for this initiative, the two organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding collaboration possibilities.



Vietsch Foundation and NLnet cooperation

Amsterdam, September 2016, the Netherlands based Vietsch Foundation (www.vietsch-foundation.org) makes the first donation to the “Research and Higher Education Technology Fund”. The new thematic fund is managed by the NLnet foundation, a public benefit organisation established in 1997 with the mission to promote the exchange of electronic information. As a framework for this initiative, the two organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding collaboration possibilities.

“Our mission is to promote research and development of advanced Internet technology, services, processes for scientific research and higher education”, states Valentino Cavalli, chairman of the Board of the Vietsch Foundation. “and NLnet has the same goals but for the entire Internet community, so the collaboration is quite a natural match. The broad experience in supporting open source projects related to network technology and the extensive network built by the NLnet Foundation over decades extends our own operational capabilities. And of course we hope that our example will inspire others to contribute to the Research and Higher Education Technology Fund, because it really delivers a lot of value for money.”

“The NLnet Foundation has a long history in supporting projects around the world that contribute to a free, secure and robust Internet”, adds Marc Gauw, chairman of the Board of NLnet. “There is an overwhelming need for the type of small-scale funding NLnet provides, clearly also from the Research and Education networking community. Contrary to popular expectations (and perhaps commons sense) there is only very limited funding available for independent contributions in the area of Internet infrastructure. So important and urgent projects actually struggle to get funded, which is a loss for everybody. Through the launching of the new fund and the contribution of the Vietsch Foundation, we are now able to select and support additional project proposals – which is of course wonderful”.

The Vietsch Foundation was created by an endowment from the late dr. W. Karel Vietsch, who was the Secretary General of TERENA, the Trans-European Research and Education Networking Association. “Karel was very involved in the Internet community”, says dr. ir. Antoinette Vietsch, member of the Board of the Vietsch Foundation. He spent a large part of his life working in the area of research and education networking, which he helped to develop with his energy, creativity and thorough methodical approach. Through the projects supported by the Vietsch Foundation and now the Research and Higher Education Technology Fund his mission to support people and new developments continues after his unfortunate death.”

The fund is already operational. Proposals can be sent through the website of NLnet, at https://nlnet.nl. The next deadline for submission is October 1st 2016.


2016 medal of honour awared to Jan Gruntorád at TNC16

Jan Gruntorád, Director of CESNET, the association operating the Czech Republic’s national e-infrastructure of the same name, was awarded the 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. Jan Gruntorád received the medal in Prague on 13 June, during the TNC16 conference, the largest European research and education networking event, organised by GÉANT, the association of European national research and education networks, and hosted this year by CESNET.