Medal Award 2022

The Vietsch Foundation awards the 2022 Medal of Honour to Natalia Manola.

The recipient of the 2022 medal of honour of the Vietsch Foundation is Natalia Manola, Chief Executive Officer of OpenAIRE.

Natalia Manola speaks at TNC after she received the Medal from Antoinette Vietsch

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 medal was presented to Natalia on 14 June, during the award ceremony at TNC2022, 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 Board of Trustees of the Vietsch Foundation chose to award the 2022 medal of honour to Natalia, as a recognition of her continuous and successful dedication to management of OpenAIRE across many years of project activity, making it now an independent stable and sustainable legal entity” said Valentino Cavalli, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Vietsch Foundation, explaining the rationale for the choice.

In accepting the award Natalia said: “Building OpenAIRE from scratch with a dedicated group of visionaries has been a challenging yet rewarding experience. In OpenAIRE the spirit  has been, is and will be about “we”,  about our collective goals and accomplishments. A spirit that has largely contributed to its success. The  Vietsch Foundation medal is a great honor  for me and for all my colleagues who diligently work to make Open Science and OpenAIRE an integral part of the research and development ecosystem. A great incentive to do even more.”

Natalia Manola is the CEO of OpenAIRE (, a pan European e-Infrastructure supporting scholarly communication and Open Science Europe since 2009. She is also a research associate in “Athena” Research and Innovation Center and in the University of Athens, Department of Informatics & Telecommunications. She holds a Physics degree from the University of Athens, and an MS in Electrical and Computing Engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She has several years of employment as a Software Engineer and Architect employed in the Bioinformatics commercial sector. She has expertise in Open Science policies and implementation, having served in the EOSC Executive Board (2018-20, chairing the Working Group on Skills and Training) and in the Open Science Policy Platform (2016-18), an EC High-Level Advisory Group to provide advice about the development and implementation of open science policy in Europe. Her research interests include the topics of e-Infrastructures development and management, scientific data management, data curation and validation, text and data mining and research analytics. Natalia has also served in the EC Future Emerging Technology (FET) Advisory Group (2013-2017).


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: