DiBiHo: Digital Credentials for Higher Education Institutions

Together with the Hasso-Plattner-Institut (HPI) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany is working on the project "Digital Credentials for Higher Education Institutions" (HEI, German: Digitale Bildungsnachweise für Hochschulen - DiBiHo), which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).


The project was launched to explore a trusted, distributed, and internationally interoperable infrastructure standard for issuing, storing, presenting, and verifying digital academic credentials in a national and international context. Therefore, the project aims to define goals in digital credentials for German Higher Education Institutions independent of specific service providers or vendors.

Preliminary Work

The basis for this is, among other things, the work taking place within the Digital Credentials Consortium (DCC): In 2018, twelve internationally leading universities, including MIT, Harvard, UC Berkeley, TU Delft, HPI, and TUM, founded the Digital Credential Consortium (https://digitalcredentials.mit.edu/) to design and build unforgeable credentials using blockchain technology and aiming for a global standard for a reliable infrastructure to exchange digital credentials and academic certificates.

Based on the white paper "Building the digital credential infrastructure for the future" from the DCC, the BMBF-funded project DiBiHo is developing a proof of concept (PoC) for various use cases at German Higher Education Institutions. This includes the specification of a reference architecture and the data model, as well as the development of prototypes and recommendations on the future operating, operator, and support models. Model processes for generating, storing, transferring, verifying, and revoking (in case of error or withdrawal) digital credentials are specified and evaluated.

The project seeks to incorporate key preliminary work and conclusions from similar projects worldwide, for example, "Plattform international Student Mobility" (German: Plattform inter*national Studierendenmobilität - PIM) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and European projects such as EMREX with the ELMO data schema, Europass, European Blockchain Partnership (EBP), European Self-Sovereign Identity Framework (ESSIF), European Student Card Initiative, W3C Verifiable Credentials (VC)/Decentralized Identifier (DID) as well as results from the Groningen Declaration Network (GDN). Essential European data standards from the areas of Single Digital Gateway (SDG), Online Access Act (German: Onlinezugangsgsetz - OZG), XHochschule (XHEIE), and the eIDAS regulation are also included.

Duration, Scope, and Research Funding

The DiBiHo project runs from 01.11.2020 to 31.12.2022 (approval period) and has a total funding volume of € 1.94 million. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the funding code: M534800.

Institutions and Persons Involved

  Technical University of Munich (TUM)
   Felix Hoops

  Hasso-Plattner-Institute (HPI)
  Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel, Alexander Mühle, Daniel Köhler, Katja Assaf

  German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  Alexander Knoth, Kathleen Clancy, Leo Peters