Digital Credentials for Higher Education Institutions – DiBiHo

A woman against a yellow background covers her face with a round paper

The digital processing of educational certificates is an essential building block for internationally compatible academic mobility. At the national, European, and international levels, there are already many efforts to develop common standards, but so far these have not been widely implemented. 

This is where the research project "Digital Credentials for Higher Education Institutions" (DiBiHo) and the project partners Technical University of Munich and Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Engineering at the University of Potsdam begins. The research interests are focused on an internationally open framework and will explore the prerequisites and technical possibilities of an infrastructure with associated standards for the worldwide interoperable use of digital credentials from the perspective of German universities, based on the experiences and findings of existing projects. A particular issue of concern is the self-sovereignty of the users.

Spotlighting Learner Autonomy

This research project addresses the question of how a trustworthy, distributed, and internationally operable infrastructure standard for the issuance, storage, display, and verification of academic credentials must be designed - if the (self-)sovereignty of learners is at its core. To this end, model processes for the generation, storage, transmission, verification, and revocation of digital credentials will be specified and evaluated. A proof of concept for different use cases will be carried out, which includes the specification of a reference architecture and the data model, as well as the development of prototypes and operational and support models.

Getting connected: Working together for an interoperable infrastructure standard

As a global mobility agency and intermediary of foreign cultural and educational policy, we are providing our communications expertise and linking relevant stakeholders within the Higher Education community. Developments in the Digital Credentials research impact the DAAD's responsibilities directly: The digital issuance and verification of scholarships and academic documents is a crucial factor for academic mobility and digital internationalisation. As such, we are addressing the question of how organisational processes - which have grown individually in Germany due to university autonomy - can be mapped in digital terms and reconciled with an interoperable infrastructure standard in the future.

  • Portrait Drummond Reed

    7 June 2022. Please join us at our next Digital Credentials Regulars get-together with Drummond Reed at our virtual pub “The Self-Sovereign” on June 7th from 5 - 6 p.m. CEST

    Drummond will be sharing his analysis on the updated EU Digital Identity Architecture and Reference framework: eIDAS 2.0, offering his perspective on problems and opportunities as well as implications for future EU-US cooperation. We look forward to chatting with Drummond about his transformative work on self-sovereign identity and trust and are curious to hear his opinion on current discussions around unique and persistent identifiers, enhanced wallets, trust architectures and the role of the private sector in the field of digital identity. 

    Drummond Reed has spent a quarter-century in Internet identity, security, privacy, and trust infrastructure. He is Director, Trust Services at Avast after their acquisition of Evernym, where he was Chief Trust Officer. He is co-author of the book, (Manning Publications, 2021), and co-editor of the . At the Trust over IP Foundation, Drummond is a member of the Steering Committee and co-chair of the Governance Stack Working Group and the Concepts and Terminology Working Group. At the Sovrin Foundation, he served as co-chair of the Sovrin Governance Framework Working Group for five years. From 2005-2015 he was co-chair of the OASIS XDI Technical Committee, a semantic data interchange protocol that implements Privacy by Design. Drummond also served as Executive Director for two industry foundations: the Information Card Foundation and the Open Identity Exchange, and as a founding board member of the OpenID Foundation, ISTPA,, and Identity Commons. In 2002 he received the Digital Identity Pioneer Award from Digital ID World, and in 2013 he was cited as an OASIS Distinguished Contributor. 

    The event will take place in English. It will also be possible to have individual conversations in smaller groups at the bar or piano lounge.

    If you are interested in attending, please let us know at .