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#GEANTwomeninSTEM: Ann Harding

In honour of Women & Girls in Science Day and International Women’s Day, two important days marked by the United Nations and celebrated across the globe, we are celebrating the women in our community. As our wonder women are involved in many fields, we decided to focus on specific fields and this year we are highlighting the women in Trust & Identity! Like everything in the world of GÉANT, our trust and identity team is a strong collaboration between women (and men!) all over the globe.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to our colleagues working for T&I, which shows perfectly in this series.

Let us introduce you to Ann Harding, Trust and Identity wizard.


Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Ann Harding and my work revolves around Research Engagement, SWITCHengines/Cloud at SWITCH.

What is your study and professional background?

I have quite a diverse background in terms of study and career. I earned my degrees in Medieval History/English Literature, Computer Science, and Sociology. I worked as the Network Operations Manager at HEAnet, and continued to develop my career as Project Manager at SWITCH, acting as the GÉANT Activity Leader GN3 Multidomain Networks. I then continued to work as the GÉANT Activity Leader GN3plus, GN4-1, GN4-2 Trust & Identity.

How did you end up in STEM?

By accident. My reading habits in university lead me to the science fiction society where I started mixing with engineers, physicists and computer science people. This was the first year e-mail was commonly available, and the TCD IT service department were really open, friendly and informative when explaining how things worked and where problems occurred. I started to get more and more interested in this, social engineered myself a UNIX account and things more or less evolved from there.

Are there any challenge(s) you face as a woman in STEM (personal, in the sector, in T&I)?

When you have a role which appears non technical (project manager) but is actually quite technical to do it well, people sometimes need to be corrected in their assumptions. This was something I got a lot of practice with my first technical job in first line tech support. People would phone, get me and say ‘Hi, I’d like to speak to someone technical’. I would answer “Yes, that would be me”. From time to time a customer would not accept this but our team rules were then they would not be served.

What is it you do in the field of T&I?

I just completed 5-6 years of running GÉANT Project T&I development activities. It has been an absolute privilege to work as part of this community and to share in some wonderful dreams.

Name your greatest experience or achievement in T&I work

My personal highlight has been facilitating NRENs working directly with research communities, which started in GN3plus Enabling Users task. From this small seed came influences that resulted in the creation of AARC and AARC2 to run alongside GÉANT projects and also changes in how eduGAIN is supported and new services such as eduTEAMS that layer on top.

Any inspiring words for our readers?

Never fear a new technology, but pay attention to the contexts in which it can be put to use, and do your best to make sure it brings good, not harm.


From all the men and women at GÉANT, we would like to show our gratitude to the female career tigers, young professionals, researchers, students, mothers, experts, in short all the hard working women contributing to not only trust and identity, but all the work we are doing in R&E networking.

Make sure to keep an eye on the GÉANT blog and social media channels and follow the campaign under #GEANTwomeninSTEM.

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