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17 May 2015
Happy tenth anniversary REFEDS!

REFEDS - the Research and Education Federations group - marked it’s 10th anniversary at a meeting at the annual networking conference, TNC15, in Porto on 14 June. With birthday cake for all participants, REFEDS celebrated this milestone and a brand new website. With 93 participants registered, this was the the largest refeds meeting to date.

Managed by GÉANT, which provides secretariat support for the group, REFEDS has grown from a talking shop of interested parties sharing ideas to a sponsored initiative delivering an annual plan of work to improve interoperability between identity federations.

During the meeting participants reflected on the successes achieved to date including the partnership with the RFC (Requests for Comments) Editor to publish REFEDS documents via the RFC process. This brings REFEDS work to the attention of the largest community of standards experts in the world and ensures greater exposure and more feedback on the approaches that REFEDS takes.

In the 10 years since REFEDS began the identity space has changed considerably and federations have moved from using primarily SAML-based technology to engaging with a broad range of software solutions. During the meeting a new work area was proposed, reflecting on the need to engage more with OpenIDConnect and ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services) as core constituents for REFEDS.

Looking forward, the participants were shown demonstrations of a large number of monitoring tools currently being used by federation operators to provide effective statistics to their members. These tools are being used to inform management decisions, help strengthen trust and assurance between members and to monitor security events. With research and education federations now publishing over 10,000 entities, such tools are essential to help members effectively manage their engagement with other participants to recognise new opportunities.


The work of REFEDS is made possible by the generosity of its sponsors. The REFEDS sponsorship model changed in January 2015; in line with the new model, sponsoring organisations sign a light-weight agreement with REFEDS. Eleven organisations from around the world are currently sponsors.

REFEDS meets twice a year, and manages its work via the REFEDS wiki, the REFEDS mailing list and via its working groups. https://refeds.org.