Pre-project: Feasibility Study Federated Identity

The goal of the feasibility study Federated Identity was the development and conceptual design of a common approach to establish a federated identity management (FIDM) for NRW.

A survey conducted as part of the feasibility study showed that there is an increasing need among universities in NRW to offer and use services across universities. In addition to technical challenges, the universities participating in the survey posed key requirements.

For the implementation of a FIDM, experiences were defined in the form of basic principles:

  • There should be no central IDM system for NRW.
  • There will be no interference with local IDM systems.
  • The concept and implementation for local IDM operators and service providers should be as simple as possible.
  • The sovereignty over data as well as rights and roles remains with the institutions or service providers.
  • No parallel structures are to be created, but rather integration into the DFN-AAI.

Realization Project: Federated Identity

The goal of the realization project is to realize and implement a federated identity management system in North Rhine-Westphalia. The rough concepts from the feasibility study, together with use cases, serve as the basis for the functional concepts. These will be made available to the universities in NRW. The goal is to agree on a NRW standard in certain IDM areas in order to make service use and service offering simple and possible for all institutions.

  Columns graphic Copyright: © IT Center

The project phase is divided into the following pillars and the associated responsibilities:

  • Pillar I: NRW-subfederation in the DFN
  • Pillar II: Technology surrounding Shibboleth and DFN in NRW
  • Pillar III: Technology bwIDM, statewide cooperation, implementation and realization of bwIDM
  • Pillar IV: Use Cases/DH.NRW projects, i.e. (data security)
  • Pillar V: Requirements from art and music academies, colleges and libraries; Helping others to help themselves

In addition to the technical component, coordination and agreement between the individual university institutions in NRW will also be an important factor. By revising the results from the feasibility study, definitions for central groups of persons will be determined. On the one hand, individual case decisions at universities will be identified and on the other hand, the handling of "alumni", "guests", and so on will be determined. For this purpose, a regular exchange with the universities is of central importance. They should then (voluntarily) agree to implement the results in their institutions.


Alliance with Baden-Württemberg

The already existing cooperation with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT-SCC) will be intensified in this project. At the same time, the universities in Baden-Württemberg are planning the two-year project "bwIDM2" as a follow-up project to "bwIDM". In the form of an alliance bwIDM and, the two projects from NRW and Baden-Württemberg will jointly develop concepts. The aim is to work synchronously in order to advance the project together and to benefit from synergy effects. In particular, the work package Evaluation of (new) Technologies will be developed jointly.

For the universities several advantages result from a federated IDM:

  • Easy and uncomplicated use of web-based as well as non-web-based services in NRW with members of other universities.
  • Less effort in maintaining personal data and lifecycle management
  • Less bureaucracy due to elimination of paper applications
  • Reduction of manual intervention and reduction of personnel costs
  • Learning of new technologies
  • Unified understanding of roles and rights
  • Standardized attributes
  • Unified understanding of central persons groups
  • Easy and secure transfer of roles and rights between universities
  • Creation of a local basis for participation in national and Europe-wide activities

The universities in NRW will be involved in the project throughout its duration. Twice a year, statewide workshops will be held to present current developments and results and to solicit the opinions of the universities. This is to ensure that the concepts can be implemented at all universities.

Further information can be found on the website of