The Vietsch Foundation’s Medal of Honour

The Vietsch Foundation was created through the last will and testament of the late Willem Karel Vietsch (1952-2014), Secretary General of TERENA for over 15 years.

GÉANT collaborates with the Vietsch Foundation with regards to both the Innovation Programme (where strong proposals that are outside the scope of the Innovation Programme can be shared with the Foundation for consideration) and the Community Award (to avoid overlap with the Medal of Honour).

About the Vietsch Foundation

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:

  • It funds specific research and development projects that demonstrate potential value to progress European and global research and education networking.
  • Each year it awards a medal of honour to people who contributed to the development of a service, technology or approach that will be of lasting value to the research and education networking community and its users.

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Medal of Honour

The Vietsch Foundation awards a Medal of Honour on an annual basis to honour people whose initiatives led to a lasting organisational set-up or a service that is of great value to the research and education community.

Eligible are demonstrable, sustainable achievements in the set-up of a new organisation or service that help accelerating innovation in support of science research and higher education. The Medal can be awarded to the innovators as well as to those who have built on that innovation and made it sustainable. In case of proven collaboration, the Medal can be assigned also to different individuals involved in the process.

To nominate someone please send an e-mail explaining the reasons for your submission to

The winner is announced at TNC, GÉANT's flagship conference. .

2022 Winner

Natalia Manola, OpenAIRE

Natalia Manola, CEO of OpenAIRE, is the recipient of the 2022 Medal of Honour of the Vietsch Foundation. “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.

About Natalia

Natalia is a research associate at “Athena” Research and Innovation Center and the University of Athens, Department of Informatics & Telecommunications, with several years of experience as a Software Engineer and Architect in the Bioinformatics commercial sector. Natalia is the managing director of OpenAIRE since 2009, a pan European e-Infrastructure supporting open access in all scientific results, the coordinator of OpenMinTeD an infrastructure on text and data mining, and is now involved in the implementation of HELIX, the Greek e-Infrastructure for research. She has expertise in Open Science policies and implementation, and she currently serves in the EOSC Executive Board and the Open Science Policy Platform, an EC High Level Advisory Group to Commissioner Moedas to provide advice about the development and implementation of open science policy in Europe

List of Medal of Honour recipients

You can find all the Vietsch Medal of Honour recipients here.
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