GÉANT honours 2016 research and education networking Community Award winners


In recognition of their significant contributions to research and education networking over many years, GÉANT awarded the 2016 Community Awards to John Dyer, Scott Cantor and Stanislav Šima, during the opening plenary session of this year's networking conference, TNC16. GÉANT honours people who have contributed significant ideas, time and expertise to the development of the research and education networking community's collaborative achievements and recognises that these contributions are often provided voluntarily and through the good will of employer organisations.

The awards were presented on behalf of the judges by Dorte Olesen, Chair of the GÉANT Programme Planning Committee. The archived video stream of the ceremony starts at 1:08:35.


Stanislav Šima (CESNET)

Stanislav was posthumously honoured for sharing many important ideas with the European research and education networking community during his long affiliation with the Czech NREN, which he helped to establish around 20 years ago. With CESNET celebrating this anniversary on home soil during TNC16, it was timely to show this recognition during the Prague conference. Stanislav had designed the first optical network in Europe and had come up with the idea of customer-empowered fibre networks, among other achievements, and was seen by the panel of judges as a 'significant contributor' who had 'started a lot of things in Europe'. Stanislav passed away on 16th October 2015. His award was presented to members of his family.

"If words like 'science', 'optical networks', 'surprising ideas', 'charisma' and 'hard work' ever had a common base, I think it would be Stanislav. If he was standing here now I believe his first words would be dedicated to his wife, the best friend of his whole life, my mother Hana. He would say, "thank you for everything". People say I have my father's eyes. I pro​​mise I will use these eyes in my research branch, in memory of Stanislav. Thank you." Petra Šímová​


Scott Cantor (Ohio State University, Internet2/InCommon)

Scott was commended for his long-term and special dedication to ensuring that the software behind federated identity management worked as well as possible. Scott had been part of a group that developed the idea of identity federation and developed the SAML protocol that made it a reality. When the realisation came that there needed to be a software implementation to back this up, Scott led and became almost synonymous with the Shibboleth project. Taking into account the major global impact of this work on mobility and access to online services that have become increasingly vital in recent years, the judges recognised that although many contributors have played a role in developing this area during many years, Scott's dedication and contribution has been outstanding.

"I'm greatly honored by this award, which I obviously share with all of the developers and other contributors to the Shibboleth Project over the last 16 years, several of whom have been involved off and on for the life of the project, and without whom it would never have been successful. I particularly want to remember the late RL 'Bob' Morgan, known to most of this community, who was instrumental not only in the early design of what became Shibboleth, but who responded to a random programmer showing up on the project's early calls by asking him to build the thing. It taught me that the world is shaped mostly by the people who show up. This community continues to show up, so thank you." Scott Cantor​


John Dyer (GÉANT)

John was lauded for his long and influential career in research and education networking, which included 10 years with the UK national research and education networking organisation as well as 20 years with the European research and education networking association now known as GÉANT. In the former organisation he was first part of the team that set up, developed and ran the UK network, then he managed the development programme and the SuperJANET applications programme before undertaking a study into the future architecture of UK academic networking. In the latter organisation, then known as TERENA, John's focus on the business aspects of NRENs grew and he became instrumental to the Task Force on Management of Service Portfolios (TF-MSP), led the ASPIRE foresight study, and produced the 'Case for NRENs' document that is still being actively cited around the world 7 years after its publication. John retired on 31 March 2016 and the judges felt it was timely to thank John for all his contributions during the 2016 awards.

"A huge thank you. I'm really touched. What I learned in 30 years is the most important thing in the world is community. I mean every one of you here, your people back home, the users and the commercials. Projects come and go; what endures is community, and it's vital that there's a space in which community can flourish together. My good wishes to everyone in the community and thanks for a great ride over the last 30 years! I've been lucky - I get all the praise - but two people have been making things happen for the past few years: colleagues Magda Haver and Nadia Sluer - this is for you too!" John Dyer​


Further information

In addition to Dorte Olesen, this year's judges were:

  • Christian Grimm (DFN), Chair of the GÉANT Board of Directors;
  • Valter Nordh (SUNET), Chair of the GÉANT Community Committee;
  • Erik-Jan Bos (NORDUnet), Chair of the TNC16 Programme Committee;
  • Helmut Sverenyak, representing the TNC16 host organisation, CESNET. 


See details about all Community Award winners, past and present.


Ohio State University

Internet 2 / InCommon

REFEDS congratulates Scott Cantor