The REFEDS Distinguished Engineer Grant and Mentorship Program

The program is an exciting and unique opportunity that will link successful applicants with leading industry experts in research and education identity federations. Successful applicants will attend the international REFEDS meeting as well as the TNC conference in Europe. The program will help the successful applicant grow their understanding of the latest international best practices in federated identity management as well as build a global collegial network that will assist them and their region into the future.

The program will fund return economy travel to the event as well as a limited number of associated expenses.

The program will have a limited number of fully funded and partially funded places annually (subject to funding). A place in the program will be awarded by the REFEDS Steering Committee based on the applicant meeting the selection criteria, described below.  

In 2020, two grants will be offered.

Indicative Budget

Table 1 outlines the indicative budget for full sponsorship. Table 2 outlines the indicative budget for partial sponsorship.

REFEDS will provide resourcing for administrative support (set-up and coordinate the program annually) on an in-kind basis.

The final budgets are subject to REFEDS SC approval and may change depending on funding and or sponsorships available.

Hotel cost

Where accommodation is not provided. Actual cost will be reimbursed up to 200 euros per night including breakfast.

A total of 5 nights (accommodation) may be claimed when the fellow is residing within Europe. 

Air travel

All air travel should be Economy Class flights.

Rail travel

All rail travel should be second class rail.

Local travel

Most efficient and reasonably priced method of travel between point of arrival (airport, train station), hotel and venue.

Travel Insurance

Actual cost up to a limit of 5 days. 


If not provided.  Actual cost up to a limit of 18 euros per day.


If not provided.  Actual cost up to a limit of 50 euros per day.

Travel Visa Fees

May be supported by scans of Visa in passport showing cost.

About the Fellowship

The main purposes of the programme are to:

  • Build upon the strength of the international network of R&E federations in operation today

  • Provide a unique combination of experience and foster a greater understanding of the operation of R&E identity federations and increase the level of participation by federation operators from emerging and developing identity federations.

  • Provide an opportunity for networking with leading industry experts

  • Identify and foster potential future leaders from new and developing R&E identity federations, and

  • Partner new federation operators with federation operators from more mature federations.

Awardees will be paired with a number of industry mentors and provided with a schedule of activities and meetings they will be required to attend at the REFEDS meeting and TNC conference. In addition attendees will be asked to do a 5 minute presentation on their geographic region at the end of the REFEDS meeting on a topic agreed between the fellow and REFEDS. This will be followed by contributing to a blog post sharing their experiences with the community post the event.

Expectations of Fellows

Fellows are expected to:

  • Prepare in advance of the REFEDS meeting by participating on the REFEDs mailing list and being familiar with various working-group discussions in their areas of interest;

  • Attend a defined program of events including the REFEDS meeting, plenary sessions, and relevant Trust and Identity sessions throughout the week;

  • A 5-minute presentation on their geographic region at the invited to attend the end of the REFEDS meeting on a topic agreed between the fellow and REFEDS.

  • Share the experience and knowledge gained at the REFEDS with their local communities when they return home;

  • After the event, contribute to a blog post about the program about what you learned

  • Assist with administrative aspects of the programme, including completion of a follow-up survey.

Application Criteria and How To Apply

In order to qualify for a REFEDS Fellowship, applicants must:  

  • Be a developer or operator in a technical or technical management capacity with a data network provider (including university networks), a local technical association, a university, or other similar organisation building a new or emerging R&E identify federation.

  • Demonstrate that they need financial assistance in attending the meetings through the program.

  • First seek the approval of their manager/supervisor before applying.

Preference will be given to applicants who originate from and reside in an emerging or developing economy, which traditionally have low rates of participation within REFEDS meetings, online forums and face to face events.

Applicants will be assessed on their ability to demonstrate strong motivation for being part of the program, meeting new people and be open to new ways of doing things.

Applicants are asked to submit via email to information addressing the following criteria:

  1. Why should you be chosen?  (maximum 1 page). You should cover:

  • How your role (technical and non-technical skills) would benefit

  • How your organisation would benefit

  • How your geographic region would benefit

  • Confirm you have the support of your organisation/manager/supervisor should you be awarded a fellowship.

2. Your role with R&E federations (maximum ½ page). You should cover:

  • The name of your countries federation, how many participants are part of your federation.

  • What activities you have been involved within establishing, managing an R&E federation (eg. technology, policy, process, communications)

  • If you don’t have a federation yet, tell us what the plans are to create a federation.

3. What would you achieve through being awarded a fellow  (maximum ½ page):

  • What you attend to accomplish or get out of attending a REFEDS meeting

  • how attending a REFEDS meeting would help you in your work or study

4. How you intend to apply experience when you return to your country  (maximum ½ page):

  • Outline a plan for sharing the experience and knowledge you will gain through the program with others in their local area or region.

5. Indicate if you are applying for a full or partial application:

  • Outline the support from your manager/supervisor/organisation for partial or full funding.

Please note that the working language of REFEDS is English. Individuals applying for the Fellowship should be comfortable and able to follow technical discussions in the English language.

Application Process

The REFEDS Steering Committee will review all applications based on the Selection Criteria. The number of fellowships offered will depend on both funds available and quality of applications. If sufficiently qualified applicants do not apply, the fellowship will be put on hold until the next REFEDS meeting.


  • 31 January 2020 - submissions due
  • 21 February 2020 - decisions announced
  • 8-11 June 2020 - REFEDS meeting and TNC20

Practical Information

Fellows receive the following:

  • Travel, accommodation, and meeting registration fees to TNC;

  • A schedule of meetings, conference events and introduction to a mentor from their area of interest to help them prepare for the meeting and network opportunities with other international experts in the field ;

  • A stipend for incidental expenses in line with the approved budget; and

  • A certificate of participation.

  • No labels