Innovation program manager Kirsten Veelo

Kirsten Veelo has worked at SURF since December 2007. “Here we have people working with a passion for content. People who are willing to help each other.”

“I started at SURF as a ‘young talent’. That program, a kind of traineeship, still exists. I then moved into the position of Community Manager for Education. This was followed by positions as project manager and team leader at one of our education teams. Now I am program manager within the Innovation Core Team. I focus primarily on digital learning materials. We don’t do that alone. To meet the long-term goals of our program, within SURF we also work together with teams from the Services and Relationship Management departments.”

“There is intensive contact with the educational institutions in the Netherlands. I deal a lot with content-related services, and often visit the libraries of higher and university education. I speak with information specialists and library directors, but educational advisors and educationalists are also important cooperation partners, as they provide us with access to the teachers.”

At the helm

“SURF provides technical infrastructure for education and research. We do that ourselves or - where necessary - we drive the market, so that it happens under the right conditions. We discuss privacy and security requirements, but also talk about exchangeable data standards that can ‘communicate’ to each other properly. And, of course, also about the acquisition costs. It is important that the educational institutions are at the helm, because those institutions are our members. The clearer the common goal is here, the more impact we will have in the market.”  


“Our office in Utrecht has central and easy access and we also have excellent meeting facilities. That’s why many relations like to come to us. We organize many meetings, both online and offline. An important theme is the transition from analog to digital learning materials. New platforms for digital content are emerging, which in turn provides a stimulus for interactive education. I primarily focus on two sub-themes: the domain of ‘open’ educational resources, which incidentally fits in well with our public values. In addition, together with publishers I am looking at how we can make good use of the materials purchased, with the accompanying respect for privacy. The educational institutions also believe that the accessibility and findability of digital learning materials can be improved. All this sometimes leads to the development of concrete services. For example, in recent years we have developed edusources, a service that allows you to store digital learning materials and share them easily.”


“I like working in a socially relevant environment. The corona pandemic has made that very tangible. Education suddenly had to be delivered online from home, and that happened to be something we at SURF had been working on for a long time. It’s exciting to see how that’s now being put into practice. My work is also very diverse. For example, I deal with many different people and focus on both the human and the technical side of IT.”


“SURF employs people with a passion for content. People who are willing to help each other. We have an open and transparent organisation. We are very good at consultation, as well. I hope that this shifts a bit more towards a ‘do’ culture, becoming more agile and achieve results faster. SURF is an employer where you can find your way around independently and develop initiatives. That may sound a bit contradictory, because for the best results you often work as part of a team.”

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