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. .

2021 Winner

Laurel L. Haak, ORCID

Laurel L. Haak, Founding Executive Director of ORCID, is the recipient of the 2021 Medal of Honour of the Vietsch Foundation. In the spirit of the award, which recognises individuals who have proved their organisational skills and whose efforts have led to the creation of institutions or services of long-term value, the choice fell on Laurel as the best in a range of very qualified nominees. “Laurel led the development of ORCID from a concept to a global, community-led, non-profit service used by more than ten million researchers. ORCID IDs are now the essential foundation for research processes in and between institutions, funders, and publishers: enabling the creation, testing, sharing, and finding of new knowledge,” said Andrew Cormack, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Vietsch Foundation, explaining the rationale for the award.

About Laurel

Laurel currently is the Founder and CEO of Mighty Red Barn where her work centers on trust-building to foster communities, through practice areas of digital infrastructure and identity, governance and decision frameworks, product strategy and practice. She also serves as a volunteer mentor for the SCORE small business start-up programme.

List of Medal of Honour recipients

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