Paul Dekkers wint GÉANT Community Award

Paul Dekkers wins GÉANT Community Award for his work on eduroam

For his tireless efforts for the development of eduroam, SURF's own Paul Dekkers has received the GÉANT Community Award 2022. Of course, we think Paul is the rightful winner. We asked Paul for a reaction.

Exceptional contribution to eduroam

The GÉANT Community Award has been presented since 2012, to members of the GÉANT community who make an exceptional contribution to community collaboration and to the development of new services and technologies. Paul Dekkers receives the Award for his major contribution to eduroam. For 20 years Paul has been involved in the technical development of eduroam, but also in creating and monitoring policies and standards. Within GÉANT he is now even Service Owner for eduroam and Chairman of the Global eduroam Governance Committee.

Paul Dekkers about winning the GÉANT Community Award

portret Paul Dekkers

Paul Dekkers

What went through your mind when you heard you had won?

It was a very special feeling. It was already a great honour to be among the nominees: other people active in the international GÉANT community who are doing very good work. But winning the award is even better: it's a recognition of my work, but also of the work of the eduroam community. Because to me, eduroam is above all a community effort: everyone who contributes to it, but also the users, are very important to eduroam. Together we believe in the idea, are enthusiastic about it, and in this way we have made it into a popular service.

What makes you proud of this Award?

With eduroam we are developing something that many people can use and enjoy. I already noticed that during the voting process: I received many messages from people who said they were happy with eduroam. From people I know from the community, but also from people I don't know, for example researchers who use eduroam. It's nice to know that my work is appreciated. That gives me extra motivation to continue with this work.

You stood at the cradle of eduroam and are still working on it every day. What makes eduroam such a great service for you?

eduroam satisfies an enormous basic need: secure and easy access to Wi-Fi. Because of that, and because the technical blueprint is so simple, eduroam is a widespread service which allows you to go online anywhere in the world. What I also like is that we're constantly innovating the service. Sometimes under the bonnet, sometimes visibly, like an app to configure eduroam.

What developments do you see for eduroam in the future?

In recent years, more and more eduroam-inspired wifi networks are emerging. For specific target groups, such as govroam, but also for much broader applications, such as OpenRoaming. We're actively contributing to these kinds of initiatives because I expect the eduroam community to benefit too: eduroam may become available in even more places.

SURF's CEO Jet de Ranitz: recognition is well deserved

“We are extremely proud that Paul Dekkers has won the GÉANT Community Award this year. Paul has been involved in the development of eduroam from the start. Nowadays it seems self-evident that eduroam is available for students and researchers all over the world. But it isn't, of course! Paul is a modest person and technicians like him don't usually come to the fore, but without him and his colleagues we would be less connected in the world of education and research. That's why it's great that he gets this recognition; in particular coming from the community itself. This recognition is well deserved and we congratulate him on behalf of all of SURF!”