In April and May, the partners of the MyAcademicID project met again in Amsterdam to discuss the structure of the electronic identifier, the required technical connections and its future roll-out.
The meetings were attended by GÉANT, Cnous, RENATER and the European University Foundation; representatives of eduGAIN and the Swedish Research Council joined the workshops remotely.
A clear distinction was made between the processes involved in identification (the act of producing proof of a certain identity) and authentication (the verification of said identity) and the ensuing complementarity of eduGAIN and the European Student Card Project (ESC) in producing a reliable eID scheme for higher education in Europe.
The workshops allowed participants to discuss at length the structure of the European Student Identifier and the challenges of making it universal in Europe, which hinge not only on its composition, but also on the way it would be made available for service and identity providers to integrate it in their systems. To ensure the anonymity of users and the uniqueness of the eID, the identifier should be readable and usable only by machines and follow an IBAN-like format similar to that of the European Student Identifier designed under the ESC. The identifier will most likely include the SCHAC code of higher education institutions, since it is unique and easy to communicate.
The meetings included detailed presentations of the attributes required by eduGAIN, the ESC and the Erasmus+ digital tools, which will integrate the student identifier for federated authentication of their users. The participants also discussed the connection between eduGAIN and eIDAS through the Swedish national node. In the future, said connection would open the possibility for higher education institutions to allow students to authenticate themselves upon enrolment by using their national eID.
In order to ensure that all higher education institutions (HEIs) in Europe have access to the digital scheme being built under MyAID, the participants agreed on following a hybrid approach that caters for both HEIs that are (or can be) federated and those that lack the resources to do so.
Altogether, the discussions held during the first three technical workshops of MyAID have lain the ground for the blueprint of the eID scheme, currently being outlined by GÉANT in the form of technical reports describing in detail the connections between the projects, the format of the student identifier, the use cases and the roadmap for the technical implementation.
In order to follow up on the progress of the technical work, present the blueprint of the European student eID for higher education, and bridge activities 1, 2 and 3 of the project, a fourth technical workshop will be held in Malaga on 10-11 September. The MyAID partners will use this opportunity to meet with the SEAL project to explore synergies and opportunities for future collaboration.