Kathleen Shearer

Member of  the Board of  Trustees

Kathleen Shearer is the Executive Director of COAR (Confederation of Open Access Repositories), an international association of repository initiatives with a membership of over 150 institutions worldwide from over 40 countries on all 5 continents. COAR’s aim is to enhance the visibility and application of research outputs through a global network of open access repositories based on international collaboration and interoperability.

Kathleen Shearer has been working in the area of open access, open science, scholarly communications, and research data management for over 20 years. She has been the Executive Director of COAR since 2013, and participates in numerous other organizations in Canada and internationally. She is an active member of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and other initiatives related to open science. Most recently in April 2020, Shearer published a paper with colleagues on the need for bibliodiversity in open scholarly communications called Fostering Bibliodiversity in Scholarly Communications: A Call for Action. Shearer is also a Research Associate with the Canadian Association of Research Libraries and was instrumental in launching the Portage Initiative in Canada, a national research data management network.


Science Checker Project

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. The science-checker.opscidia.com is now publicly available.

The subject of fake news is a very topical one. With social networks, and the advances of artificial intelligence, it is increasingly easier to create fake news and make them circulate quicker and quicker. Health and sciences are particularly nasty topic for fake news. Scam medicine, and worrisome information circulate, often based on absolutely no scientific facts. The current context of Covid19 pandemic has made the need to tackle this crisis in the scientific information even more serious. 

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. Thanks to the Vietsch Foundation grant, Opscidia will build a prototype online application that allows to check scientific fake news. This prototype will consist in different types of indicators based on the analysis of large volumes of scientific articles. These indicators will be easy to understand in order for the non-specialists to form quickly a good idea of whether an information is backed by the scientific literature, is under debate, or is totally groundless.


Medal Award 2020

The Vietsch Foundation Medal of Honour is awarded annually to individuals or teams that have developed new ideas or demonstrated sustained organisational skills and whose efforts have led to the creation of institutions or services of enduring value. 

This year, the Trustees of the Vietsch Foundation are thrilled to announce that they have unanimously selected two outstanding individuals whose dedication and commitment have contributed enormously to the community.

The 2020 Vietsch Foundation Medal of Honour recipients are Erik Kikkenborg and Bartłomiej Idzikowski.

Andrew Cormack, member of the Board of Trustees explains the rationale behind this year’s award. “For many years, Erik and Bartek have led the team that broadcasts and records talks from the TNC conferences. Thanks to their work many thousands of people from around the world have been able to hear about advances in European research networking and join that community, even when geographical constraints meant they could not attend the conferences in person.

Providing high-quality video streams from a wide variety of locations, often over temporary networks that are installed only for the duration of the conference, requires a particular mix of human and technical skills. Everyone who has presented at TNC, attended the conference remotely, or watched the recordings afterwards, has reason to be grateful to them.”

In the past few years, they have introduced innovative solutions at TNC combining artistic graphics, audio and video design with cutting edge technologies: high resolution, advanced audio, big range of cameras (including on a crane), higher number of screens, dynamic content (including bio info, sponsors details, social media feedback or clock).

Erik Kikkenborg

Erik Kikkenborg is the NORDUnet Media Services Manager, working on the organisation and distribution of cloud-based hosted video services. He is also the technical project coordinator of a vast number of NORDUnet, DeIC, SUNET,  NeIC, GÉANT activities and TNC. For more than 20 years  Erik has been active in audio visual and communications technology, from technician and project coordinator to manager and consultant on video communications, learning platforms and technology, online video and live streaming. For the past 10 years Erik’s primary focus has been collaboration with Nordic and International Research and Education institutions in the area of online platforms for learning and collaboration, in the context of European and global projects under the GÉANT Event Team, GÉANT (eduCONF), TERENA (NRENum), Global CEO Forum (GVA), (GRTC), asi@connect and Up2University (Up2U).

Erik’s professional interests comprise the exploration of the potential of video as a way of communication in education with a focus on new tools and technologies. Currently he is working on how to change the educational landscape in developing countries applying online education platforms.

Bartłomiej Idzikowski

Bartlomiej Idzikowski graduated from Poznan University of Technology in 2003 (Computing Science – Computer Networks and Distributed Systems). He became PSNC employee in the organisation’s Network Department. His research interests focus on video- and web-conferencing, high resolution video systems (4K, 8K), web-based applications, streaming technologies, network management and traffic monitoring. Bartłomiej’s professional background includes long-term cooperation within different European and national projects, such as GN2, GN3, GN3plus, GN4-1, GN4-2, GN4-3, 6NET, Phosphorus, Porta Optica Study, VISIONAIR, ImmersiaTV and Immersify. He was a member of the TNC programme committee in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and member of the TERENA NRENum.net task force. Currently, he is the Task Leader of the eduMEET / eduTURN task in GÉANT, technical coordinator of TNC, coordinator of the scientific TV team (Pionier TV) and steering committee member of the Special Interest Group Multi Media.

 

ENDS 

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

 

 


New project: “Free and Open Source: Law, policy and practice” edited by Amanda Brock

The second edition of “Free and Open Source: Law, policy and practice” edited by Amanda Brock, has been published by Oxford University Press, as an “open access title” with pdf, html and e-reader freely available on an attribution basis, thanks to the generous funding of the Vietsch foundation.

The book is available for download, Open Access, as well as in printed format by Oxford University Press at this OUP link.

When we decided to fund this project we were particularly attracted by what Amanda Brock, told us: “ having managed to persuade an amazing group of contributors to write chapters for the second edition, we will create what I believe will be one of the most important collaborations in open source in 2020. It’s great that the legal and other advisory and support communities around open source, have been willing to pull together and commit their time to create this work. We will be going beyond the European slant of the first edition to a global viewpoint with authors from the US, including Stephen Walli and Ross Gardler on community and governance, Mark Radcliffe on Blockchain and McCoy Smith on copyright. All areas of IP will be covered. Miriam Ballhausen, will pick up on copyright litigation considering recent actions in her home country, Germany and Canonical’s Jilayne Lovejoy will write about contribution agreements. On the patent front, as well as an update of the existing chapter on Patent litigation from the Origin team, Peter Langley and Colm McKernan and Malcolm Bain’s introduction to patents, we will be joined by Knut Blind writing on standard essential patents and his recent report from the Commission. Pam Chesteck is of course covering trade marks while Carlo Piano considers competition and antitrust issues.

Mirko Böhme will explain the economic of open source and Andre Katz will look at All Things Open and open hardware. The Linux Foundation’s Shane Coughlan will write on Open Chain and Kate Stewart on SPDX while Redhat’s Richard Fontana and David Levine will write on Cloud. Iain Mitchell will look at public sector and Open Forum Europe’s Sachiko Muto public policy.

As well as editing, I will be looking at commercial and operational models in open source.

It will be an incredibly practical and useful text for lawyers, open source offices and people working on compliance, suitable for academics and those working at the code face.

The icing on the cake for me as editor of this book is to know that the book will be available to all through open access thanks to the Veitsch Foundation.

Look out for further updates on the book status over the next few months.”


DKS and CrypTech Integration Software Available

In partnership with the Vietsch Foundation, Diamond Key Security (DKS) is excited to make available under a permissive BSD clause 3 open-source license software, software installation, and related documentation to enable DKS and CrypTech solutions to integrate with and support Windows networking environments.  

 

Integration of the DKS solution and the underlying CrypTech technology extends the reach of the open-source solution to a wide array of possibilities and expands the opportunities for further research and leveraging of the open-source software.

The installation documentation provides information and instructions so that the software can be installed in a Windows network environment for either usage for signing by a Windows Certificate Authority (CA) (for various applications like DNS) or for a developers utilizing Diamond-HSM solutions or CrypTech solutions.


Development of a Proposal for a Trusted Student Identification Framework

Funded in 2019 – The Vietsch Foundation funds a study by the European Campus Card Association (ECCA) that will encompass requirements for cross-border trusted student eID credentials, and provide recommendations for a trusted student eID framework to support the provision of secure identification and authentication on a cross-border basis in Europe.

The study started on 10 September 2019 and will end in May 2020 with the publication of a report surveying state of the art and business aspects and issuing recommendations for the establishment of a cross-border Student eID Project.


Medal award 2019

The 2019 Medal of Honour was awarded to Claudio Allocchio, senior technical officer for advanced applications and security at GARR, for the demonstrated achievements and long-lasting benefit he contributed to the research and education networking community throughout his career. John Dyer, member of the Board of Trustees of the Vietsch Foundation handed out the medal to Claudio Allocchio during a ceremony on 17 June 2019 at the TNC opening plenary.

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.

In accepting the award, Claudio Allocchio said, “this is the most honorable award I could have received for my work, because it is in the name of Karel Vietsch, which I had the privilege to work together for so many years”.

Claudio Allocchio

Claudio Allocchio was born in 1959 in Crema, Italy where he attended high school. He had a clear interest in science, and technology, which in those years led him to coordinate a team of students who successfully built and launched a series of rockets. He then moved to Trieste, where he studied astrophysics and particle physics. In 1984 he won a study grant at CERN to apply astronomy image processing techniques to particle physics detectors track reconstruction, and then was confirmed as research fellow. At that time, he approached computer networking issues, creating the world first multiprotocol mail gateway service for universal messaging: “by pure coincidence” the user interface to access the global service was named GMAIL. He also started there to collaborate in creating network services in the High-Energy Physics community, and setup the first international link between CERN and Italy. In 1988 he moved back to Trieste, as network manager in the newly created Elettra Synchrotron Radiation facility, and joined the Gruppo Armonizzazione per le Reti della Ricerca (GARR) who later became the Italian NREN, and engaged in RARE WG1 mail and messaging, coordinating and later chairing the COSINE S2.2 proposal for a global messaging service. In 1991, Claudio was one of the RARE WG1 members who joined the IETF to standardize mail messaging systems, and since then was involved in the IETF Application Area, writing, editing and revising a significant number of RFCs. He also chaired some working groups, including the ietf-fax one, and took active part in all activities which involved messaging and real time communications. He was later called into the Application Area Directorate, and chaired it before the creation of the joint Applications and Real Time (ART) new area.  Starting in 1993 he was also involved in the creation of the “it” ccTLD domain Registry, and served as President of the Italian Naming Authority from 1995 to 2005 and advisor to Ministry of Communication domain names committee; he is  now a member of the ccTLD Registry Advisory Board. Claudio has worked in various roles in all GÉANT projects (including as Security Coordinator and as member of activities in the areas of multimedia, security, policy); he is currently also one of the main advisors for the EaPConnect project. He also was TERENA vice-president for technical programme from 2001 until 2007 and member of the board. In 2005 he started to work in the collaboration with Conservatorio Tartini in Trieste, where he is currently chief network engineer for LoLa development. Besides his education in Physics, he also has a formal education in music (piano).


New project: Diamond Key Security Microsoft CryptoAPI Integration

8 May 2019, the Vietsch Foundation funds a new project proposal called “DKS Microsoft CryptoAPI Integration Project”.

The project aims to create and develop the software application programming interface (API) and perform the necessary integration and validation steps for the DKS hardware security module, the Diamond-HSM™, to support and function with the Microsoft CryptoAPI (often referred to as “CAPI”). This work will enable the addition of Windows support for the DKS open source Hardware Security Module. Developing this integration to communicate with the Microsoft operating system will dramatically increase the reach of security solutions among non-profit higher education networks driving scientific research and innovation.

With this new grant, the Vietsch Foundation will assist in supporting the research in the development, enhancement, and deployment of transparent, auditable cryptographic technologies—helping to safeguard the internet for educational and research purposes—for all users.

Click here to access the Press Release from Diamond Key Security

Diamond Key Security Microsoft CryptoAPI Integration

Funded in 2019 – The project aimed to create and develop the software application programming interface (API) and perform the necessary integration and validation steps for the DKS hardware security module, the Diamond-HSM™, to support and function with the Microsoft CryptoAPI (often referred to as “CAPI”).  Developing this integration to communicate with the Microsoft operating system will dramatically increase the reach of security solutions among non-profit higher education networks driving scientific research and innovation.

In partnership with the Vietsch Foundation, Diamond Key Security (DKS) is excited to make available under a permissive BSD clause 3 open-source license software, software installation, and related documentation to enable DKS and CrypTech solutions to integrate with and support Windows networking environments. 

The installation documentation provides information and instructions so that the software can be installed in a Windows network environment for either usage for signing by a Windows Certificate Authority (CA) (for various applications like DNS) or for a developers utilizing Diamond-HSM solutions or CrypTech solutions.


New project in the Research and Higher Education Technology Fund

The Vietsch Foundation has decided to fund a new project under the NLnet Research and Higher Education Technology Fund :

TRACKING EXPOSED

Algorithms are the technological solution to the information overload: they are as powerful as necessary to manage the overflow of data that reaches us. Unfortunately, they can also conceal the existence and use of assessments and judgments that impact the dissemination of ideas and culture. No one should be allowed to abuse such power over connected people. At this stage, consent is nor informed nor optional.

The main objective of the project is to put a spotlight on users’ tracking, profiling, on the data market and on the influence of algorithms. As long as these phenomena are shielded from view or understood only by experts, they cannot be tackled with the political determination that problems of such magnitude deserve. That is why we strive to explain the issue, test and promote new solutions, developed to benefit the community.

Project URL https://tracking.exposed/


Democratic Sendcomm

Funded in 2018 – 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. This project is jointly supported by the Vietsch Foundation and the NLnet Foundation.


Explain Direct

Funded in 2018 –  Open source technical solutions for analyzing, recommending, and querying open educational materials within the context of higher education. 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 is working on making access to educational material easier, targeted and direct, re-usable and more tailored to life-long learning scenarios.

Project URL https://explain.direct/


Medal award 2018

The Vietsch Foundation Medal of Honour is awarded annually to individuals or teams that have developed new ideas or demonstrated sustained organisational skills and whose efforts have led to the creation of institutions or services of enduring value.

The Trustees of the Vietsch Foundation take great pleasure in announcing that they have unanimously selected two outstanding individuals whose dedication and contributions to community advancement make them each a worthy recipient of an individual 2018 medal of honour: Licia Florio and Ingrid Melve.

The 2018 Vietsch Foundation Medal of Honour was awarded in Trondheim on 11 June, during the TNC18 conference, the largest European research and education networking event, organised by GÉANT.

Valentino Cavalli, Chair of the Board of Trustees explains the rationale behind this year’s award. “Licia and Ingrid each have a strong track record of achievements that have brought enduring benefits for the research and education networking community. Since we found both equally deserving, the trustees decided to award two medals to recognize this work,   over many years, that continues to benefit millions in the community every day.”

 

Licia Florio

Licia Florio is Senior Trust and Identity Manager at GÉANT. Licia joined TERENA in 2001. Working in the area of Trust and Identity she has led or guided most of the initiatives that make up the current European and global authentication and authorisation infrastructure for research and education. Having supported the Task Forces that produced the eduroam (federated access to wireless networks) pilot and led to the technical infrastructure for eduGAIN federated authentication system, she initiated the EuroCAMP workshops.

She led the TERENA Certificate Service that has greatly reduced the price of digital certificates for research and education organisations across Europe, and the TACAR project that facilitates trust between certificates issued for research and education purposes across the globe. Such activities require coordination beyond Europe and she has provided continuing leadership throughout the life of the REFEDS activity developing compatible federation policies and practices. Currently she leads the AARC project that continues to help research organisations to deploy federated access.

 

 

Ingrid Melve

Ingrid Melve worked at Uninett until December 31, 2017. Since January 1, 2018, she has been working at Unit – Norwegian Directorate for ICT and Joint Services in Higher Education and Research. For more than 20 years, Ingrid has led the introduction of new technologies into research and education, bringing a practical perspective to sometimes arcane technical discussions. After early investigations into how universities could make effective use of web caches, she worked on national and international deployments of federated access management. She then led the first effort by any European research network to help universities and colleges with their internal infrastructure, covering video-conferencing, lecture capture, on-line examinations and much more. Throughout her career, she has been generous in sharing her knowledge with the community, entertaining and informing audiences at many TERENA and GÉANT conferences, as well as contributing greatly to conference organisation.

 

ENDS

 

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


The Referoo project to Improve the Efficiency of Scientific Peer-Reviewing

Funded in 2018

– The Referoo project aims to create a set of tools to address some of the most critical inefficiencies of the traditional peer-reviewing process of scientific publications. In particular, it will build a web portal for managing the refereeing tasks of researchers. The portal will be designed in such a way as to encourage referees to perform their duties conscientiously and efficiently, and provide them with clearer incentives. At the same time, the portal will implement tools to avoid the inefficiencies and the work duplication of the usual refereeing process.


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.


Lígia Ribeiro

Former Member of  the Board of  Trustees 2018-2020

Lígia Ribeiro has been Principal Researcher at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) since 2002. At the University of Porto (U.Porto) she was Pro-rector for ICT between 2006 and 2014, after being Vice-president of the Institute for Common Resources and Initiatives and director of the Computer Centre of FEUP. She was responsible for several ICT projects at U.Porto, namely for the campus-wide information system SIGARRA, the institutional repository, the grid project and the e-learning cafés project.

Lígia Ribeiro is member of the Board of Directors of the European University Information Systems Organization (EUNIS). She was President of EUNIS between 2004 and 2006, after being vice-president for two years. 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: https://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