eduKEEP – Life-long identities for life-long education

Research and education is bo​​rderless

People today are more mobile than ever. We are willing to move around countries, across borders and even across continents to find the best education or careers. Research and education are truly global and we are all equally global.

We are also embracing life-long learning. No longer is the path through education linear with everyone starting at 18, progressing for three, five, seven years at the same institute and then leaving for a life in the “real-world”.

We are starting at different times, taking breaks from education or research, moving from education to industry then into research and maybe back into education. Many of us combine different roles simultaneously and we may be working in these different roles under different institutions all at the same time.

Around the world the “gig economy” has taken over all our lives. We can have one role on Monday morning, another that evening and a third on Thursday and all with different institutions.

How do we support this mobility and flexibility?

With this increase in mobility comes an increase in complexity. The rise in distributed and cloud services means that users expect easy seamless access to all their services but the current identity structures don’t recognise or support this new paradigm of work, research and education.

Identities are still created and managed in institutional silos which weren’t developed with the concepts of mobility or parallelism in mind. This creates cost and complexity for both users and identity managers alike. Users have to manage their multiple identities remembering which identity is used for which services (or having to switch between identities within a single service).

Managers have to work out how to migrate and support staff, they may need to inherit information in different structures and formats. ​​​Users may have multiple subscriptions to the same service – dramatically increasing costs and wasting time and money. Service providers may also face costs and complexity as users move from one institution to another. How can services and data be migrated across?

​eduKEEP Research Programme

The aim is to develop strategies and architectures to support the more flexible world of research and education in which we live. Just as federated identity broke down the barriers caused by silos of information, systems and data, eduKEEP will create systems that break down silos of identity, allowing personal mobility throughout research and education.

It will investigate current services within NRENs and projects to understand the requirements of users and managers, and look for opportunities to share ideas and best practice.