2021 GÉANT Community Award
Maria Isabel GandÍa, CSUC
This year’s GÉANT Community Award panel unanimously chose the successful nominee in the category ‘impactful contributors to the GÉANT project or wider community activities over a sustained period of time’: Maria Isabel GandÍa from CSUC.
Maria Isabel said: “I feel so honoured and delighted because this recognition comes from the community, and I want to share it with the community. This award also belongs to all the friends from the SIG-NOC, to its present and past steering committee members and to the GÉANT community at large. This community, through dedication, commitment, and creativity – often thinking outside the box – helps to improve people’s lives by facilitating research, education and collaboration. This award also goes to the scientists, researchers and enthusiasts in the network and performing arts field, a subject so close to my heart. Being part of this wonderful community is such a privilege, let’s keep working together! And lastly, I would like to share it with my family for their continuous and relentless support.”
About Maria Isabel
Maria Isabel is a network engineer who loves both the human and the technical side of networking. She has been collaborating with the SIG-NOC, since its inception, helping to make the community stronger through knowledge-sharing. Maria Isabel currently leads the Networking Department at CSUC and with her team she manages the Research and Education Network in Catalonia, Anella Científica, and the internet exchange, CATNIX. In the GÉANT (GN4-3) project she works, on behalf of RedIRIS, to foster the use of Orchestration, Automation and Virtualisation on the network (sharing the love of cats with one of the most cat-loving teams in the project!). As she believes that the engagement of women in technology has to start from childhood, she has mentored several teams of girls to enable them to present their technology projects.
2020 GÉANT Community Award
Ann Harding, SWITCH
Ann Harding was honoured for her work in the Trust and Identity field specifically for overseeing the growth of two services that are synonymous with GÉANT: eduroam and eduGAIN. In particular, her professionalism, determination and engaging manner were unanimously recognised as key to the ongoing success of such services.
Ann commented: “I’m really completely overwhelmed to receive this award. My time spent organising, advocating and fighting for our shared work over the last decade and more has been a real highlight in my life. I am grateful to those of you I have worked with who let me help carry your dreams. Thinking big, being open to others and allowing them to be part of a shared ambition is a real asset of this community. I am privileged to have experienced moments of joy but also of shared frustration and sadness with you over the years. Strong community ties are forged in adversity as much as with shared successes and this is reflected in the solidarity we find in our current times."
Ann was a student of English and History whose e-mail didn’t work. Learning what was behind a broken email system was one of the steps on a journey that took her to study computers and to become Network Operations Manager at HEAnet. A change of country and NREN to SWITCH found her moving away from the packets and fibres into ten intense, amazing years of GÉANT Activity Leadership for Multi-domain Services and then Trust and Identity. She now leads the Infrastructure and Platform team at SWITCH and continues to believe in a moral imperative that NRENs must do good in what we do and how we do it.
Leif Johansson, SUNET
Leif Johansson received the award for contributing with a considerable number of improvements in Trust and Identity and other technologies for the R&E networking community. In particular, the panel recognised Leif’s rare talent to understand a concept not only from a technical standpoint, but also to identify the legal and political aspects of its deployment along with its roll-out potential.
Leif said: “I am very proud and happy to have been selected for this award. Any success I might have is because I have the privilege to work with a team of exceptional people at SUNET and GÉANT. My deepest thanks to them and to all the GÉANT family.”
Leif has a PhLic in Mathematics from Stockholm University and has been working for SUNET since 2008. His focus has been digital and federated identity and he is part of the SUNET leadership team and currently heads the infrastructure services group.
Niels van Dijk, SURF
Niels van Dijk was awarded for his innovative ideas that led to improved or new services for the GÉANT Community. It was recognised that Niels’ creativity has been instrumental in the initiation of a number of new activities in groups such as REFEDS and the GÉANT Project, as well as within SURF. His passion and knowledge are a great asset to the community.
Niels said: “It has been my great pleasure to work with all the people in the GÉANT community in the past years. GÉANT brings together amazing minds, highly skilled people and the opportunity to actually make their ideas reality, all in an open and collaborative community. This is a unique and wonderful capability which we should foster and support. By acting locally, but always with a global mindset, joint collaboration of the NREN community will deliver impact that reaches far beyond our national borders.”
Niels is a Technical Product Manager in the Trust and Security department at SURF. In this role he is responsible for the development and innovation of SURF’s authentication and authorisation services. His focus is on enabling crossborder collaboration for research. He has been involved in many innovation and service development projects, both nationally and internationally. Combining over ten years of expertise in AAI with business development and privacy & data protection skills, he is able to deliver a holistic approach to the development of innovative services. When not at work, Niels enjoys the company of his wife and two boys, sings in a choir, and likes to tinker with all kinds of hardware.
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Anna Wilson graduated in Computer Science from University College Dublin in 1996, and straight away went next door to work for the NREN. Anna has been with HEAnet in some capacity ever since. Her focus throughout has been on the IP network, and she is known for her work in various GÉANT activities and her participation in RIPE, including a recent stint as co-chair of the IPv6 working group. Aside from performing with her improv group, she is currently building a robot army for the Services Architecture Team in HEAnet.
Anna commented: “I am thrilled and really quite stunned to receive this award. The work we do in the GÉANT community and as NRENs is important. We have shaped the internet for our users and for the industry as a whole, and we continue to do that. Sometimes it can be tough to remember that as we focus on our work, day in, day out; moments like this are a wonderful reminder. I'm very grateful, and proud, to be a part of this community.”
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Andres Steijaert from SURFnet is cloud activity leader in GÉANT. He coordinates the cloud collaboration of the European NRENs in GÉANT, to make clouds safe and easy to use. The NRENs share expertise and resources, align road maps and jointly engage the market. The GÉANT cloud team works on business processes for service delivery and adoption, does joint procurements to establish favourable conditions of use and provides an underlying infrastructure that links cloud services to the identity management and network capabilities of GÉANT and the NRENs. Andres is also a frequent speaker, nationally and internationally on cloud computing.
Andres said: “Receiving the GÉANT Community award is a big surprise. I am honoured and grateful, especially because this award shows the appreciation from the community. That means a lot to me. Working together with colleagues from GÉANT and the NRENs is a pleasure. I am proud that through our collaboration we can make an impact and help research and education use cloud services in a safe and easy manner. For me, the GÉANT Community Award is an encouragement to continue these joint efforts. Thank you!”
The following words, which summarise the reasons behind the nominations submitted in favour of Andres, are a heartfelt testament and recognition of the vital role that he has played, and continues to play, within the European NREN community.
Massimo Parovel - Music Conservatory G. Tartini, Trieste
for sharing with the community an idea that led to the development of the low latency audio-visual system known as LOLA
Massimo had the idea that performing artists should be able to interact in a natural way even if they are located thousands of kilometres apart, using the high-quality and very large bandwidth connectivity offered by research and education networks. By sharing this idea, it grew into a project, supported by the Tartini Conservatory of Music and by Consortium GARR in Italy, that resulted in the low latency audio-visual system known as LOLA. This exploits the R&E networks to almost obliterate network-related delay and variations, allowing remote real-time artistic collaborations. Now available worldwide, LOLA has been used for educational purposes, masterclasses and performances and other “spectacular demos” involving musicians, dancers and actors at various events including our own annual networking conference, TNC, and the annual Network Performing Arts Production Workshops.
Tomasz Wolniewicz and Maja Górecka-Wolniewicz - Nicolaus Copernicus University Toruń / PSNC
for significant contributions throughout several years to work on the eduGAIN service infrastructure, the eduroam CAT tool, and other collaborative activities
Tomasz is the well-known ‘front man’ in this duo, but Maja is known to be doing a lot of the
background technical work in their long-term contributions to the eduGAIN service, eduroam CAT and other activities. The judges appreciated that the pair has been “relentless in trying to find solutions for things while keeping a low profile” and felt that TNC17 was a good time to thank them for all their hard work and commitment, especially as Tomasz has maintained this community work at the same level of intensity even after becoming CIO at the university where he works. Working strongly together as a team, the 2017 judges felt that a joint award was appropriate – the first time a joint Community Award has been given.
Hannah Short - CERN
for significant contributions to important developments within the past 12 months through her leadership of work in the REFEDS and AARC project communities on ‘Sirtfi’
From the IT Department at CERN, Hannah coordinated collaborative effort across the REFEDS and AARC project communities on the development of a Security Incident Response Trust Framework for Federated Identity – ‘Sirtfi’ [pron: certify]. This enables the coordination of incident response across federated organisations and is a significant security development for the wider community. Although Hannah is a relative newcomer to the research and education networking community, her contribution has been significant, proving her to be "a very valuable addition". This is the first time that an award has been given in the category of ‘significant contributions to important developments within the past 12 months’.
John Dyer (GÉANT)
for an influential career in research and education networking.
John’s career included 10 years with the UK’s national research and education networking organisation JANET/UKERNA (now Jisc) and 20 years with the European R&E networking association now known as GÉANT. In the latter organisation, then known as TERENA, John 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. The judges felt it was timely to thank John for all his contributions after he retired on 31 March 2016.
Stanislav Šima (CESNET, Czech Republic)
for sharing many important ideas with the community.
During his long affiliation with the Czech national research and education networking organisation, CESNET, Stanislav had helped to establish, Stanislav designed the first optical network in Europe and came up with the idea of customer-empowered fibre networks, among other achievements. The panel of judges as a ‘significant contributor’ who had ‘started a lot of things in Europe’. With CESNET celebrating its 20th anniversary on home soil during TNC16, it was timely to posthumously honour Stanislav’s contributions; he passed away on 16th October 2015 so his award was presented to his family.
Scott Cantor (Ohio State University, InCommon)
for long-term dedication to federated identity management.
Scott was commended for his special dedication to ensuring that the software behind federated identity management really worked, during many years of effort. He led and became almost synonymous with the Shibboleth project. Taking into account the major global impact of this area of work on mobility and access to online services, which have become increasingly vital in recent years, the judges recognised that although many contributors have played a role in developing this area, Scott’s contribution has been outstanding.
for significant contributions to the
Trusted Certificate Service (TCS).
TCS helps to increase security in online transactions by facilitating the deployment of digital certificates. In 2009 the then TCS provider's web interface proved too complicated, so Kent programmed 'Djangora' on top of the secure API and then maintained it with new versions. Djangora was a vital part of the service for around six years. It was credited as the essential piece of software that made scaling up delivery of server certificates and code-signing certificates possible, and with turning out more than 100,000 certificates.
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Jan Meijer (UNINETT, Norway)
for sharing the idea of a file transport service for research and education, which developed into
Jan's idea was discussed in the TERENA task force TF-Storage, which he also chaired, and then developed into the open-source FileSender software under Jan's leadership. By 2014, FileSender was deployed by almost 40 NRENs, institutions and other organisations around the world and November that year marked the fifth anniversary of the first FileSender release. There had been a steady growth in usage during those five years. New releases planned for 2014 would improve the speed of uploads and the protection of downloads, and add encryption and multi-file support.
Stefan Winter (RESTENA, Luxembourg)
for dedicated work in helping to develop the eduroam service and technology.
With roles in the GÉANT Project and the Task Force on Mobility and Network Middleware (TF-MNM), Stefan had led standardisation work, striven for federated solutions, and proposed and developed tools such as F-Ticks for statistics collection and CAT, the universal eduroam configuration tool. Stefan Winter is an author and co-author of several important Internet Drafts and RFCs that will lead the way for eduroam in the future. He also led a global community effort to understand the impact of Heartbleed, the Internet security issue, and to secure the eduroam RADIUS infrastructure from such attacks.
Karel Vietsch (TERENA)
for extraordinary dedication to the research and education networking community.
In May 2013 Karel had received Dutch royal recognition for his outstanding contribution to research and education networking and the Internet in general, when he was appointed an Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau. His work had influenced SURFnet, RIPE NCC, the European Networking Policy Group (ENPG), the Co-operation for Open Systems Interconnection Networking in Europe (COSINE), and the GÉANT Project, among others. The 2014 Community Awards judges wished to also acknowledge Karel's extraordinary dedication to the community, by honouring him posthumously, after he passed away on 23 February 2014. He had continued to provide information and support to the TERENA Secretariat staff and engaged with the wider community even while on sick leave. He further demonstrated his commitment by setting up the 'Vietsch Foundation' to help stimulate the research and education networking community in future.
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Milan Sova (CESNET, Czech Republic)
for significant contributions to a wide range of community activities.
Milan was a much-respected community member and contributed over many years to the development of eduroam, PKI and federations worldwide, as well as being a highly valued contributor to the task forces TF-MNM and TF-EMC2 and to REFEDS and TCS. He was also a valuable member of several international working groups in TERENA, IGTF, EUGridPMA, OGF and the GÉANT Project. Within the Czech national research and education networking organisation, CESNET, he formed the Czech identity federation eduID.cz and the CA and eduroam services. In 2012 Milan joined the TNC Programme Committee and so should have been present as a session chair during the 2013 conference. Sadly however, he passed away unexpectedly on 31 December 2012. In a speech during the closing plenary session, Nicole Harris (GÉANT) shared some of the memories and anecdotes that community members had told her about Milan and presented a small gift to CESNET in memory of Milan and the contributions that he had made with the organisation’s support.
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Klaas Wierenga (Cisco)
sharing the original idea for eduroam while employed at
A celebration of eduroam's ten-year anniversary during TNC2012 gave special recognition for the role of Klaas, who had shared the original idea for eduroam in an email sent on 30 May 2012. He had been "getting annoyed by the fact that whenever I visited a university I had to register my wireless card or borrow one from the local IT department to get online." He realised that "there was no reason why visitors from SURFnet-connected institutions should not get access to the campus and SURFnet network" and, following some initial experimentation, he emailed his idea to experts from the wider European NREN community, who were participating in the Task Force on Mobility (now TF-MNM). Ten years on, eduroam® had become a significant player in the wireless access industry, had reached 54 territories around the globe and was continuing to grow and develop.