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Key points from the SURF Members' Council on 11 October

Topics discussed at the 11 October Members' Council included the allocation of seats on the Members' Council, the completion of the rates project, the progress report on the annual plan, the WTR advice on architecture and the mid-term review of the strategy. Also in this Members' Council, two mbo institutions became official members of SURF and thus the entire mbo is now affiliated to SURF.

The following issues were discussed with the Council of Members :

Member Council seat allocation

In the self-assessment of the Council of Members last April, the mbo department asked for a reconsideration of the number of seats available to the mbo. Given the growth in the number of members within SURF (all mbo schools are now members) and the increasing ict maturity, resulting in the mbo now fully participating in SURF, the department wants more participation and therefore more seats in the Council of Members. The Council of Members agreed to the proposal to expand from a maximum of three to a maximum of five seats for the mbo department. The expansion of the number of seats increases the size of the Council of Members (another department does not have to give up seats for this). This change requires an amendment to the articles of association, which will be available for inspection by all members for 30 days from the end of October.

Finalising project rates

Following positive advice from the Member Council Tariffs Committee, SURF Portfolio Advisory Committee (SPA) and CSC chairs, the Member Council agreed to the following three proposals:

  • The vast majority of network services are part of the basic package. Because previously larger network connections (over 10MB and light paths) were not standard, they were purchased as an additional service. Meanwhile, such connections are more standard and the proposal is to make them part of the basic package. This will make the services available to all members. Only very large network connections will then be additional. Financially, nothing will change. The fees that were charged as additional will henceforth become part of the basic fee, with members taking this service. It was suggested that this should be implemented from 2025, as the tariff letter for 2024 has already been published.
  • The intention to make the core package equal to the basic package was also considered. This seemed like a good step to make things easier. Recently, the SPA proposed to include some new services in the basic package, for which inclusion in the core package (which regulates forced shopping) is too far-reaching. It was therefore proposed not to pursue this proposal.
  • Finally, the committee talked about merging the basic infrastructure and procurement packages (the basic packages of former SURFnet and SURFmarket). With the merger, it makes sense to merge the packages into one, with no change in content.

With the approval of the Council of Members on these three points, the project rates are complete.

Membership applications

SURF recently received two new applications from mbo institutions, namely Scalda and Mediacollege Amsterdam. During the Council of Members the applications were approved. This means that all mbo-institutions are now members of SURF. They are warmly welcomed.

Progress report annual plan SURF 2023

The Executive Board informed the Council of Members about the state of affairs regarding the Annual Plan 2023 and the progress made with a progress report including KPIs. Some key points are:

  • SURF is well on its way to achieving its ambition and strategy. In particular, the roles of association and service provider are being fulfilled well and expectations are being met. For the innovation workshop role, the context is important, namely that many activities take place or are linked to other large programmes such as Npuls and Open Science NL, which means it cannot always set its own pace.
  • After the first harmonisation exercise from the merger, setting up processes and systems internally in a sustainable way proves to be recalcitrant and continues to require a lot of time and attention.
  • SURF is well appreciated by members, given the results of the member satisfaction survey, and employees, given the results of the employee survey. Contributing to the quality of education and research, using digitisation, is a high priority for everyone. Both among staff and members.

Innovation at SURF

Since 2022, we have been using innovation zones and roadmaps within the SURF strategy. Ron Augustus, CINO SURF, explained the state of affairs. The Member Council agreed to the proposal to reduce the four innovation zones in research to two innovation zones, with the topics from the disappearing innovation zones being redistributed over the remaining innovation zones.

WTR advice architecture

The Scientific Technical Council (WTR) may give solicited and unsolicited advice to the Council of Members. This Council of Members discussed the unsolicited advice on architecture. In summary, the WTR advises SURF and the Council of Members to remove the informality of the already developed architecture models HOSA/HORA (for higher education) and MOSA/MORA (for intermediate vocational education). These models are appreciated by ICT professionals (familiar with education and research) and other stakeholders, but commercial and public service providers are not required to use them. The WTR therefore advises the Council of Members and SURF to give the architecture frameworks more explicit formal status and to examine whether agreements can be realised at administrative level regarding the obligation for service providers and sector partners to adhere to the sector architecture. For PCIs, this is Nictiz and this agreement already applies.

The Council of Members agreed with the WTR's advice, but recommended breaking down follow-up steps into smaller building blocks and indicating how and where decision-making should take place (after all, agreements are made at sector level in the sector association, not in the Council of Members). Where choices affect education and research processes, more conversation is needed anyway. For a topic such as identity, the Council of Members sees room and urgency to start making agreements. SURF's Executive Board has been asked to draw up a plan on how to give more hands and feet to this subject.

Mid-term review Strategy 2022-2027

When SURF Strategy 2022-2027 was adopted, it was agreed that it would be reviewed at mid-term. This so-called mid-term review is currently being prepared for the first half of 2024. The Members' Council approved the Board's process proposal to carry out the mid-term review.

Changes in the Council of Members

  • Jan van der Boon retired from NWO-i at the beginning of August. Jan de Boer, member of the NWO Governing Board, now represents NWO in the Council of Members.
  • Paulina Snijders transferred to the UMCG on 1 September. From 15 November, the vacancy at Tilburg University will be filled by Wilma de Koning-Martens.
  • Wilma de Koning-Martens will retire from KNAW on 15 November 2023. No successor to KNAW on the Council of Members is yet known.
  • Frank van der Duijn Schouten retired from the Open University on 1 September. Nicole Ummelen is his successor.
  • Nicole Ummelen took leave from Eindhoven University of Technology on 1 September. No successor in the Council of Members is yet known.
  • Robert Zoutendijk has joined the board of the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences. No successor in the Council of Members is known yet.
  • Frits Gronsveld retired from STC Group. The vacant MBO seat was filled by Pauline Satter, member of the Executive Board at Christelijke Onderwijs Groep Vallei & Gelderland-Midden (COG).
  • Arlène Denissen stepped down from Albeda on 1 October. The vacancy in the MBO department has not yet been filled.
  • Chris Polman took leave at the VUmc. Wiro Niessen, member of the Executive Board of the UMCG, took over the NFU seat.

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