2022 conference speakers

Click on the speaker's image to view a small bio.

Distinguished Speakers

Mariya Gabriel

Mariya Gabriel

European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth

Mariya Gabriel is the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. Under her leadership, the new Horizon Europe, Erasmus+, and the cultural strand of Creative Europe programmes are being implemented. Her main priorities are excellence in education, research and innovation, tackling the R&I divide in Europe.

Between 2017 and 2019, Mariya Gabriel was Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. She was elected as Member of the European Parliament in 2009, 2014 and 2019.Mariya Gabriel is First Vice-President of the European People's Party (EPP), and, since 2012, Vice-President of EPP Women.

Commissioner Gabriel has been ranked among the 50 most influential women in Europe in the field of cybersecurity by the European cybersecurity magazine SC Media UK (2019). Known for her involvement in the fight for gender equality, she was awarded the prestigious Italian prize “Golden Apple”. In November 2020, she received the Annual Award of the Vienna Economic Forum "Partner of the Year 2020" for her contribution to the economic development. In September 2021, she received the Recognition Award Best Global Impact for her great contribution to the European entrepreneurial ecosystem at the prestigious Forum Startup Ole in Salamanca.


Maria Leptin

President, European Research Council (ERC)

Prof. Maria Leptin has been the President of the ERC since 3 November 2021.

After her PhD in Basel, Switzerland, postdoctoral research in Cambridge, UK, and leading a research group at the Max-Planck-Institute in Tübingen, she became professor at the Institute of Genetics, Cologne. She spent research visits at UCSF, the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and the Sanger Institute, Hinxton, UK. From 2010 to 2021, Prof. Leptin was the Director of EMBO.

Prof. Leptin is an elected member of EMBO, the Academia Europaea, the German National Academy, Leopoldina, an Honorary Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences, and holds an Honorary Doctorate from the EPFL, Lausanne.


Maria da Graça Carvalho

Maria da Graça Carvalho

Member of the European Parliament

Maria da Graça Carvalho is currently a member of the European Parliament, where she is a full member of the ITRE, AIDA and PECH Committees. She was a senior advisor to the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, from November 2014 to December 2015. Previously, she was a member of the European Parliament between July 2009 and May 2014. In that capacity, she was one of the rapporteurs of Horizon 2020. She was also Principal Adviser to President Barroso in the fields of Science, Higher Education, Innovation, Research Policy, Energy, Environment and Climate Change from 2006 to 2009. She served as a Minister of Science and Higher Education of the XV Constitutional Government of Portugal and Minister of Science, Innovation and Higher Education of the XVI Constitutional Government. She is a Full Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico (University of Lisbon).

Jean-Pierre Bourguignon

Jean-Pierre Bourguignon

Honorary Professor, Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques

A mathematician by training, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon has spent his entire career at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (1969-2013). He taught at École polytechnique (1986-2012) and was the Director of the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (1994-2013). His field is differential geometry, with a focus on geometric questions at the interface of theoretical physics.

Jean-Pierre Bourguignon was President of the Société Mathématique de France (1990-1992) and the European Mathematical Society (1995-1998). In addition, he was the President of the European Research Council (2014-2019) and then ad interim (July 2020-August 2021).

In 1987, Jean-Pierre Bourguignon received the Paul Langevin Prize from the Académie des Sciences de Paris, then in 1997 the Prix du Rayonnement français pour les sciences physiques et mathématiques.

He is a member of the Academia Europaea, the Royal Spanish Academy of Sciences and the Portuguese Academy of Sciences. He holds several Doctor Honoris Causa titles: Keio (Japan), Nankai (China) and Edinburgh (Scotland).


Anna Panagopoulou

Director of ‘ERA & Innovation’, European Commission

Since April 2021, Ms Anna Panagopoulou has been Director of ‘ERA & Innovation’ at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD). DG RTD is responsible for R&I policy, reinforcing at a crosscutting level the engagement with citizens and society, with academic and research organisations, and with research and industrial infrastructures. DG RTD is also responsible for promoting dialogue and collaboration with Member States, R&I actors on research and innovation policy, investments and reforms. Between 2016 and 2021, Ms Panagopoulou was Director of the 'Common Implementation Centre' directorate responsible for the implementation strategy for European Union R&I programmes. Previously, she was Head of Department for Programme Support and Resources at CINEA in 2014. Ms Panagopoulou started her career at the European Commission in 1997 responsible for matters in the EU R&I area, transport and energy policy. Beforehand, she worked for six years in the private sector. She holds a degree in electrical engineering. 

Astrid Eichhorn

Astrid Eichhorn

Associate Professor, University of Southern Denmark

Astrid Eichhorn is a theoretical physicist who focuses on the fundamental building blocks of space, time and matter in her research. She completed her PhD at the University of Jena in 2011 and held postdoc positions at the Perimeter Institute in Canada and Imperial College London, before becoming a junior research group leader at Heidelberg University in 2016 and an Associate Professor at the University of Southern Denmark in 2019.

Astrid was elected to the German Young Academy (Junge Akademie) in 2018, where she serves on the board since 2020 and is the current speaker of the academy. Furthermore, she is the speaker of the ALLEA (All European Academies) working group on climate sustainability in the academic system.


Henriette Stoeber

Henriette Stoeber

Policy Analyst, EUA European University Association

Henriette Stoeber is a Policy Analyst at EUA's Higher Education Policy Unit. Prior to joining EUA, she worked at the Hungarian Rectors’ Conference and spent several years at the German Academic Exchange Service’s (DAAD) National Agency for Higher Education Cooperation. Henriette has also worked in the private sector in the United Kingdom. She holds a Joint Master degree in European Public Policy from the University of York (UK) and Central European University (Hungary), where she specialised in the field of higher education policy.


Marc Schiltz

CEO, Luxembourg National Research Fund

Marc Schiltz is the CEO of the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR). He brings a strong dedication to building a world-class research system that will generate long-term societal and economic impact for the country. He has significantly contributed to enhancing the quality of the Luxembourg research system and to build bridges with the private sector, as well as with the international research community. Under his leadership, the FNR has successfully developed programme lines to attract scientific talent to the country and to link the business ecosystem to research innovation.
Since 2017, Marc Schiltz has been president of Science Europe, the Brussels-based association of all major European public research funding and research performing organisations, representing a combined annual investment in research of nearly EUR 24 billion in 28 countries. In this role, he has been setting the European agenda to foster Open Science and is currently chairing cOAlition-S, an international consortium of major research funders having agreed to implement open access policies in a coordinated way.
He also sits on the Governing Board of the Global Research Council, which comprises the heads of research funding agencies from around the world and is the founding Chairman of the Luxembourg Agency for Research Integrity.


Martin Farley

Sustainable Lab Advisor, LEAF Manager, UCL

Martin started working in labs as a technician and researcher, before moving into sustainable labs at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. He moved to King’s College London in 2014, where he still works as the Sustainable Research Manager. In 2015, he founded Green Lab Associates through which he supports UCL as their Sustainable Lab Advisor, as well as the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) through their GreenED programme. He initiated and manages the LEAF programme from UCL. In 2015, he was awarded the Green Gown award for Sustainability Professional of the year. He speaks, writes and engages widely on sustainable science.

Mostafa Moonir Shawrav

Mostafa Moonir Shawrav

Chair, Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA)

Mostafa has been the Chair of MCAA since 2020. He was Vice-Chair from 2018 to 2020. After working over 10 years in an academic environment in Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands, he moved into the semiconductor industry and currently manages several European R&D projects.

Mostafa’s involvement in MCAA since its establishment helped him understand the challenges faced by researchers from different career stages and various scientific and geographical backgrounds. This inspired him to become active and organise training for mobile researchers in sustainable research careers, careers outside academia, science diplomacy and entrepreneurship. Over the past 4 years, he has been involved in several policy initiatives, including the Knowledge Ecosystem project, MSCA Supervision Guidelines, the Researcher Assessment initiative and many others.

In recognition of his efforts, Mostafa has been invited to organise sessions and speak at international events such as the Global Research Council, World Science Forum, European Open Science Forum, American Association for Advancement of Science, Science Business, EuroScience Policy Forum and the Vitae Researcher Development Conference. He is a fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society.

Karen Stroobants

Karen Stroobants

Board Member, Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA)

Karen Stroobants is a researcher, policy adviser and consultant on research policy, research strategy and research evaluation. She manages a portfolio of activities, combining roles as (part-time) lead policy advisor on research landscape and economy for the Royal Society of Chemistry (the professional body for chemical scientists in the UK) and as a freelance consultant, focusing most recently on drafting an agreement for research assessment reform in Europe.

Previously, Karen was a Research Leader at RAND Europe, where she worked as the lead consultant on a range of projects in the ‘research on research’ space, including process and impact evaluations, and development of research strategy and implementation. Before joining RAND Europe, Karen worked in several policy advisory roles for the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Society (the UK’s National Academy of Science), leading work in the areas of open science and research culture.

Karen is a Board Member of the Marie Curie Alumni Association and formerly a chemical researcher for over 7 years, where her last years in the lab were spent in Cambridge focusing on work for which she received a Marie Sklodowska-Curie post-doctoral fellowship. She obtained her PhD in chemistry at KU Leuven in Belgium.


Anca del Río

Anca del Río

Alumni President, European Institute of Innovation and Technology

Anca del Río is a sociologist, health economist and thought leader in strategic development, global health and innovation governance.

Throughout her international career across Europe, the United States, Middle East and Australia, Anca has developed a strong entrepreneurial drive for impact, digital transformation and positive change. Currently based in Zurich, Switzerland, Anca is fostering collective action between businesses, governments and the civil society for progress and a sustainable future. Furthermore, she is engaged in improving the quality of life within communities, while also striving for better health outcomes at an individual level through purpose-driven innovation and cross-sectoral cooperation. With her multicultural background, a strong scientific and business acumen, and global experience in digital capacity building and systemic change management, Anca puts great ambition in the advancement of need-led innovation, the meaningful adoption of technology and development of mission-oriented networks.

In her presidential role with the EIT Alumni, Anca is leading young leaders and engaging over 14,000 innovators and entrepreneurs from all EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities across EIT’s European and global network (USA, Israel, UK), with political and industry stakeholders to shape equitable and inclusive agendas for the attainment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.


Antonio Martin-Carrillo

Astra fellow/Assistant Professor, University College Dublin

Antonio Martin-Carrillo is an Ad Astra fellow/Assistant Professor in the School of Physics at University College Dublin, Ireland. His research focus is on the study of the transient universe, and in particular the prompt and afterglow emission of gamma-ray bursts using high-energy space observatories and ground-based telescopes. As part of his role as an Assistant Professor, he lectures different undergraduate and postgraduate modules, from large cohort classes with 200+ students to more practical ones like the final year astronomy project where he supervises about 13 projects per year. 

Bala Attili

Bala Attili

Associate Director, AstraZeneca

Bala Attili is a scientist and leader in drug discovery and safety sciences pledged to bring safer and efficacious next-generation medicines for oncological indications. Currently, he holds an Associate Director role at AstraZeneca’s Clinical Pharmacology and Safety Sciences Unit  in Cambridge, UK.

Prior to moving into industry, Bala was a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Cambridge and visiting scientist at Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, as well as an honorary researcher at Addenbrookes Hospitals in Cambridge. He received a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship twice in his career. He has a PhD in pharmaceutical and pharmacological sciences from KU Leuven, Belgium and Master of Pharmacy from Andhra University, India. He has published several international peer-reviewed scientific articles.

Bala is also an active Marie Curie Alumni Association volunteer, as well as an ex-executive committee member treasurer (2018-2020) and board member (2016-2018). He is also a past contributor to the financial affairs working groups and active in the BeNeLux and Indian chapters of MCAA. He is actively involved in the MCAA-KAZI project on bridging the gap between researchers and industries.


Barbara Weitgruber

Director General, BMBWF Austria

ERAC (European Research Area and Innovation Committee) Member State Co-Chair.

Barbara Weitgruber has been Director General for Scientific Research and International Relations at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) since 2010. She is member of the Task Force Research, Technology and Innovation Strategy of the Austrian Federal Government and chairs the Scholarship Foundation of the Republic of Austria, as well as the Strategy Advisory Board of the Austrian Agency for Education and Internationalisation. Her portfolio includes, among others, scientific research funding, research performing organisations, international cooperation, as well as the co-ordination of the European Research Area and the EU Research and Innovation Framework Programmes for Austria. 

Studies in Graz, Austria and in Chicago, USA. Former positions: Director of the Office for International Relations and lecturer at Karl Franzens Universität Graz, Director of the Austrian National Agency for EU Programmes in Education and Research Mobility. Since 1994, leading positions in the respective Austrian Ministry in charge of higher education and research.

Brian Cahill

Brian Cahill

Scientific Employee, TIB Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology

Dr Brian Cahill works in the Learning and Skills Analytics Lab of the Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology in Hannover as Grant Manager of the COST Action CA19117 on Researcher Mental Health. He is a Member of the Governing Board of EuroScience and was Chair of the Marie Curie Alumni Association during the period 2016-2018. In these roles, he engaged with early-career researchers on topics ranging from researcher career development, innovation, research funding, science policy, responsible research and innovation and many more. He wrote a career column for Nature and has been invited to speak at many career-related events, including the EuroScience Open Forum, the AAAS Meeting and the Vitae Researcher Career Development Conference.

He studied Mechanical Engineering in Ireland and moved to Germany in 1998 to take up a position with Hewlett Packard. He received his PhD for work in electrokinetically-driven fluid flow from the ETH Zurich in 2004 and subsequently carried out postdoctoral research in colloid and interface science at the University of Geneva. He was a Marie Curie fellow and Junior Research Group Leader at the Institute for Bioprocessing and Analytical Measurement Techniques in Heilbad Heiligenstadt (Germany), where his research interests focused on measurement techniques for droplet-based microfluidics.

Christian Weber

Christian Weber

Researcher, University of Siegen

Dr Christian Weber is a researcher with the Institute of Knowledge-Based Systems and Knowledge Management (KBS & KM), at the University of Siegen, Germany. During his PhD, he worked on developing semantic and structure-aware concept importance measures for domain knowledge to guide digital learning using knowledge graphs. He is continuously researching the exploitation of evolving knowledge maps and AI-solutions for an ongoing industrial, educational and medical digitalisation. He is active in these domains through national and international funded research projects (e.g. DFG, BMBF, H2020, Erasmus plus), but also through industrial collaborations, as well as supporting the next push of AI-powered tech startups. He is the current chair of MCAA's Research Funding Working Group. He believes that any digital solution has to have a human factor, and so do AI-based visions.

Cristina Blanco Sío-López

Cristina Blanco Sío-López

Principal Investigator, Ca' Foscari University of Venice

Cristina Blanco Sío-López is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Senior Global Fellow and PI of the EU Horizon 2020 research project ‘Navigating Schengen: Historical Challenges and Potentialities of the EU’s Free Movement of Persons, 1985-2015’ (NAVSCHEN) at the European Studies Center (ESC) — EU Jean Monnet European Centre of Excellence (JMEUCE) of the University of Pittsburgh (2019-2021) and at the Ca' Foscari University of Venice.

She previously was an Assistant Professor in European Culture and Politics at the University of Groningen and ‘Santander’ Senior Fellow in Iberian and European Studies at the European Studies Centre (ESC) – St. Antony’s College of the University of Oxford, where she remains a Senior Member.

Cristina is Member of the Executive Committee of the Global Young Academy (GYA), Fellow of the Young Academy of Europe (YAE) and Full Member of the Young Academy of Spain. She was Chair of the North America Chapter of the Marie Curie Alumni Association MCAA in 2020-2021, which received the ‘Best Non-European Chapter Award 2020’ by the MCAA.

She obtained her PhD in History and Civilization (Area: European Integration History) at the European University Institute of Florence (EUI), which received the FAEY Best PhD Thesis ‘European Research and Mobility’ Award 2008.



Cristina Brito

Director, CHAM; Professor, NOVA FCSH

Cristina Brito is a Professor in the History Department at NOVA FCSH, Lisbon, and Director of CHAM – Center for the Humanities (2020-2022). She is currently the co-PI of the ERC Synergy Grant 4-OCEANS (2021-2027): Human History of Marine Life, and the PI of two EEA Grants Bilateral Funds Initiatives. She obtained a PhD in history from NOVA FCSH in 2010. Prior to her current positions, she was awarded a research contract by FCT (IF/00610/2015) to investigate ‘Cow-fish, ngulu-maza or iguaragua? Local and Global Knowledge Production, Changing Perceptions and Practices on Marine Animals in the Atlantic, 1419–1758’ (2016-2019). A new book will be released very soon based on her research. She has an interdisciplinary, comparative and cross-cultural approach to her research. Scientific interests include early modern marine environmental history, local and global perceptions about and uses of the seas, Atlantic and oceanic histories, human and nonhuman relationships, and new perspectives on the environmental humanities. She is also a member of the Board of Oceans Past Initiative and an active member of several networks and research projects, such as the UNESCO Chair on Oceans' Cultural Heritage and the H2020 RISE project CONCHA.

Damjana Kastelic

Damjana Kastelic

Head of Training and Academic office, Centre for Genomic Regulation

Having run a successful independent training business, Damjana trained scientists at a global consultancy and managed training for world-class science institutes and universities. She has demonstrated flair and expertise in designing and delivering highly interactive learning experiences that achieve success across different cultures.

Darragh McCashin

Darragh McCashin

Assistant Professor, Dublin City University

Dr Darragh McCashin is an Assistant Professor in the School of Psychology at Dublin City University (DCU), and is interested in digital youth mental health, and clinical/forensic applications of technology. Previously, Darragh was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow/PhD student at University College Dublin (UCD), examining technology-enabled youth mental health within the EU H2020-funded TEAM-ITN project, specifically the role of technology-assisted cognitive behavioural therapy for children using mixed methodologies. A second strand to her research is that of forensic/criminal psychology. With an MSc in Applied Forensic Psychology (University of York), she has previously worked as an Associate Lecturer and Research Assistant in the Online-Protect research group at the University of Lincoln case formulation tools for those with convictions for internet sexual offences.

With respect to policy-making, Darragh is currently the taskforce leader for Mental Health of Researchers within the Policy Working Group of the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA), and co-founded the researcher mentoring programme Referent. She also sits on two COST Actions: Researcher Mental Health Observatory (CA19117; Working Group Chair), and the European Network for Problematic Usage of the Internet (CA16207; management committee member for Ireland).

Emily Peppers

Emily Peppers

Assistant Professor, University of Warsaw

Dr Emily Peppers completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh with her doctoral dissertation entitled 'Introduction of the viol into sixteenth-century France: perspectives on the cultural integration of musical instruments'. She joined the University of Warsaw’s Institute of Musicology in 2021 as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, exploring the early modern musical culture of Poland-Lithuania through its material objects (Musical Materialities and Conduits of Culture: revealing the hidden histories of music during Poland’s ‘Golden Age’ (c. 1475 – 1600) - MusiConduits, https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/890285). The MusiConduits project will also use digital technology in the form of coding analysis and optical character recognition software in archival research to make cutting-edge contributions to current knowledge.

In addition to her research interests in musical instruments, musical and material culture, art history and cultural transfer, Emily has nearly 20 years’ experience as a museum and cultural heritage professional in Scotland, where she has worked for the University of Edinburgh, Musical Instrument Museums Edinburgh, national governmental bodies Museums Galleries Scotland and Creative Scotland, as well as in other independent advisory positions.



Frank Schnorrer

Group Leader, CNRS, Aix Marseille University

Since 2016, Dr Schnorrer has been CNRS Group Leader at IBDM, Marseille, and A*Midex Chair of Excellence at Aix Marseille University. From 2008 to 2016, he was Max Planck Group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany. During the period 
2003-2007, he was a postdoctoral researcher in Barry Dickson’s laboratory at the IMP, Vienna, Austria. 

Dr Schnorrer obtained his PhD (Dr rer. nat.) from the University of Tübingen, Germany, in 2002. He carried out his doctoral thesis while working in Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard’s laboratory at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen. He studied chemistry and biochemistry in Würzburg, Munich and Tübingen between 1992 and 1998.  

Gábor Kismihók

Gábor Kismihók

Research Group Leader, TIB Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology

Dr Gábor Kismihók is the head of the Learning and Skills Analytics Research Group at TIB and the chair of the Career Development Working Group of the MCAA. He concentrates his research efforts on matching processes between education, the labour market and individuals. He published his research in various peer-reviewed international journals and book chapters in the fields of Learning Analytics, Technology Enhanced Learning and Knowledge Management. In the past years he has been busy with various EU-funded research projects focused on employability, person-organisation fit, mobile learning management system development, context-aware educational systems and semantic technology in education. Besides scientific research, he has been managing large-scale innovation networks (e.g. www.eduworks-network.eu) with a budget of 3,7M EUR (working staff of 25-30 people) and smaller scale innovation projects (e.g. www.ontohr.eu) with a budget of 500K EUR (working staff of 10-15 people). He has also been busy writing successful research project proposals (MSCA ITN, EU LLP, TAMOP). He is a member of expert panels that review proposals for EU funding.


Irene Castellano Pellicena

Scientific Project Officer, Science Foundation Ireland

Dr Irene Castellano Pellicena is a Science Foundation Ireland fellow working in the research funding landscape in Ireland.

She got her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Bradford as part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and in collaboration with Philips Research. She is currently a member of the MCAA Research Funding Working Group and the MCAA Science Diplomacy Taskforce.

Her main interest is the power of research collaboration to deliver true societal impact. Her focus in Science Foundation Ireland has been the Strategic Partnership Programme that supports research initiatives of scale with strong potential for delivering economic and societal impact to Ireland, in partnership with key stakeholders. Her passion for international development has allowed her to be involved in a new initiative supporting research collaborations to deliver sustainable solutions that address the UN SDGs worldwide.


Jan Palmowski

Secretary General, The Guild; Chair, International Advisory Board, Université de Paris

Jan Palmowski has been Secretary-General of The Guild since its creation in 2016. A contemporary historian, he started his career at the University of Oxford before moving to King’s College London where he taught European politics and EU integration. He was Head of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at King’s College London (2008-12), and Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Academic Vice-President at the University of Warwick from 2013 to 2018.
His wider international engagements include membership in the German Science Council’s Strategy Commission (2013-16), and the German Excellence Commission’s joint expert Group (2016-18). He also served on the Humanities panel of the Comparative Expert Assessment of Lithuanian Universities (2018), and currently chairs the International Advisory Board of the Université de Paris.


Janet Metcalfe

Principal, Vitae; Chair, REMO Policy Working Group

Dr Janet Metcalfe is the founder of Vitae, an international non-profit programme providing world-class professional development for researchers. She led the development the Vitae Researcher Development Framework that describes the knowledge, skills and attributes of highly effective researchers used extensively as a professional development tool for researchers and within institutional researcher development programmes.

As Chair of the REMO Policy Working Group, she wants to improve mental health and wellbeing by creating healthy working environments and research cultures for researchers. She recently conducted surveys on the impact of Covid-19 on researchers’ wellbeing with the UK mental health researcher network ‘SMaRteN’ and for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BEIS) and UKRI. Recent projects include evaluating the UK PGR Catalyst Fund, which funded 17 UK institutional projects aimed at improving the wellbeing and mental health of doctoral researchers.

She manages CEDARS, a UK survey of the views and experiences researchers at all career stages, exploring their working conditions, environment and culture, and professional development opportunities. Her publications include the ‘What do researchers do?’ series of publications exploring the landscape of researchers’ careers and ‘Exploring wellbeing and mental health and associate support services for postgraduate researchers'.

Joaquín Capablo Sesé

Joaquín Capablo Sesé

R&D Project Manager, Campus Iberus

Joaquín is Spanish and was born in Zaragoza. He studied chemical engineering at the University of Zaragoza, with an Erasmus experience in Germany (FHTE Esslingen).

After a short internship at BSH, he enrolled as a PhD student at LIFTEC (a CSIC research centre) in the frame of the University Professor Training programme (FPU), including several stays (CHEC-DTU, IREC, FURV) and some teaching experience (Fluid Mechanics).

After competing his PhD, Joaquín was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship to work for two years in Italy as an experienced researcher on an Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) project (Green Kitchen) involving Whirlpool, SUPSI, Polytechnic University of Milan and University of Wroclaw. The main aim of the project was to investigate innovative technologies and eco-design strategies in the field of home appliances to drastically improve efficiency in the use of resources.

Then Joaquín worked in Pamplona at BSH Home Appliances (Bosch Group) for almost 7 years in the Heat Pump Competence Centre. He dealt with innovation projects involving thermal, fluid and kinetic analyses of advanced technologies applied to vapor compression cycles.

He is currently working for Campus Iberus, a Consortium of 4 universities, as coordinator of a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Programme (Iberus Experience) for postdoctoral researchers.

Jonas Krebs

Jonas Krebs

Scientific Project Manager, Centre for Genomic Regulation - CRG

Dr Jonas Krebs is Scientific Project Manager in the office for International and Scientific Affairs (ISA) at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona. Since his PhD in molecular biology which he received in 2010 from the University of Potsdam, Germany, he worked in different roles in the field of project development, research management, internationalisation and professional networking. In 2014, he specialised in European research funding and received the certificate “EU-Liaison officer” from the EU-Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (EU-Büro des BMBF).

Since 2015, Jonas has been developing and managing EU projects at CRG, with a major focus on Marie Skłodowska Curie Training Networks, in which he actively promotes and organises science communication and public engagement activities with various local and international stakeholders, including the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology and the Marie Curie Alumni Association. Jonas is co-founder of a recently established pan-European group of MSCA project managers that closely collaborates with the MCAA.


Judith Zbinden

National Contact Person for the ERC in Switzerland, Euresearch

Dr Judith Zbinden has been working with Euresearch, the Swiss organisation hosting all National Contact Persons for the EU framework programmes for research and innovation, since 2010. Since 2014, she has been the National Contact Person for the ERC. In this function, she informs and advises researchers based in Switzerland on the ERC. For example, she assists people in assessing their eligibility for ERC calls, organise trainings on proposal writing, comment on individual draft proposals and offer trainings for those invited to interviews. She follows the latest developments in the ERC and networks with colleagues all over Europe.

Dr Judith Zbinden holds a PhD in biology from the University of Bern in Switzerland and has carried out postdoctoral research in the UK.

Judy Wawira Gichoya

Judy Wawira Gichoya

Assistant Professor, Emory University School of Medicine

Judy Wawira Gichoya, MD, MS, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr Gichoya is a multidisciplinary researcher, trained as both an informatician and an interventional radiologist. She is a member of the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program at Winship Cancer Institute. In addition, she holds professional memberships with the Radiological Society of North America, American College of Radiology, Society of Interventional Radiology, Society of Imaging Informatics in Medicine and the American Medical Informatics Association.

Dr Gichoya earned her medical degree from Moi University in Kenya. She completed her medical internship at Kiambu District Hospital. Subsequently, she earned a Master of Science in Health Informatics from Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, she completed her post-doctoral training in informatics at Regenstrief Institute in Indianapolis, Indiana, and a residency in diagnostic radiology at Indiana University. Prior to arriving at Emory, she completed a fellowship in interventional radiology at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, Oregon. On top of her day-to-day responsibilities, Dr Gichoya is an associate editor and a Trainee Editorial Board Mentor of Radiology: Artificial Intelligence journal.



Julia MacKenzie

Chief Program Officer, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Julia MacKenzie is the Chief Program Officer for AAAS, providing leadership to the diverse array of high-impact programs at AAAS, including the Science and Technology Policy Fellowships, the Center for Science Diplomacy, and several other programme areas that strive to connect a diverse, inclusive scientific community with policymakers, the media, and the public to ensure that science serves society.

Prior to her role as CPO, Julia led international and science diplomacy efforts at AAAS, advising on strategic bilateral and multilateral relationships, strengthening ties between scientists and diplomats, and elevating the role of science in foreign policy. She served as Executive Editor of the policy journal Science & Diplomacy.

Prior to AAAS, she was the Senior Technical Advisor at the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. There, she coordinated and oversaw a research portfolio for PEPFAR, including three large multi-national randomised controlled trials operating in five African countries. As an expert in infectious diseases, her scientific career included research on HIV immunopathology, herpes simplex viral entry and the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. She received her doctorate degree in immunology and microbial pathogenesis at Northwestern University, as well as a master’s in public health.


Lidia Borrell-Damian

Secretary General, Science Europe

Lidia Borrell-Damián is Secretary General of Science Europe, the association representing major public organisations that fund or perform excellent, ground-breaking research in Europe. Previously, she worked for the European University Association (EUA) (2006-2019), serving the last five years as the Director for Research and Innovation (R&I).

Her areas of experience cover a wide range of European and global R&I priorities, namely EU Framework Programmes, the European Research Area, research infrastructures, research ethics and integrity, research assessment processes, university-business cooperation, regional innovation, gender and diversity, Open Science, doctoral education, as well as energy science policy. She was a member of the EOSC Executive Committee between September 2019 and December 2020, and co-chair of the related Sustainability Working Group.

Lidia Borrell-Damián holds a doctorate in Chemistry (Chemical Engineering Specialty; Solar Energy) from the University of Barcelona (1995). She was Director of Research at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (2003-2005). Formerly, she was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Western Ontario, Canada (1999-2001) at North Carolina State University, USA (1997-1998) and an Assistant Professor at the University of Barcelona (1990-1998).

Lorenzo Melchor

Lorenzo Melchor

Policy Analyst, The Joint Research Centre (JRC)

Lorenzo is a policy analyst at the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission's science and knowledge service, where he strives to connect and strengthen science-for-policy ecosystems across Europe. Prior to this, he worked at the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) as science advice and diplomacy officer related to S4D4C, a Horizon 2020 project (2019-2021), and as science coordinator at the Spanish Embassy in London (2015-2018). He has developed programmes for building up institutional and individual capacity for evidence-informed policymaking and for supporting scientists in their career in and beyond academia.

Lorenzo holds a PhD in Molecular Biology from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (2008), with a 13-year research career in cancer genetics in Spain, the USA and UK, and over 30 peer-reviewed publications. Lorenzo also holds a Master’s degree in Policy Analysis from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (2021), and has several publications about the interface of science, policy and diplomacy.


Lucy Swan

Deputy Head of Unit - MSCA, European Commission

Lucy Swan is Deputy Head of the Unit at the European Commission in charge of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions that support the mobility and training of researchers and the development of excellent doctoral programmes. Before that, she was assistant to the Deputy Director General for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. Since joining the European Commission in 2004, she has worked at the Directorate-General for Environment, the Secretariat General and the Cabinet of Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s in environmental management.

Mario Roccaro

Mario Roccaro

Programme Manager Education, EIT Food

Dr Mario Roccaro joined the EIT Food in April 2018 as Programme Manager Education in charge of developing educational offerings, including the Professional Development actions for postgraduates and professionals in the agri-food sector. Previously, Dr Roccaro worked for the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture as a policy officer in charge of designing and implementing the HORIZON 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. After receiving his first degree in Food and Science Technology from the University of Milan, he worked for several food industries in Italy before pursuing further education. He received a PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Edinburgh. Subsequently, he worked as a plant scientist at Germany’s Max Planck Institute Cologne performing basic and applied science.

Martin Andler

Martin Andler

President, Initiative for Science in Europe

Martin Andler is professor emeritus of mathematics at Université de Versailles-Saint-Quentin. He has spent most of his career in France, and has held visiting positions at Rutgers University and MIT. His research interests include representation theory of Lie groups, as well as history of science. He devoted a lot of energy to promoting the joy of mathematics to school-aged students, with a focus on gender and social equality, as founder and President of the Animath association between 1998 and 2017.
He has a strong interest in higher education and science policy, both in France and at the European level. He served as Vice-President of Euroscience from 2012 to 2018. He has been President of Initiative for Science in Europe since 2017.

Martina Hartl

Martina Hartl

Deputy Head of Unit, BMBWF Austria

Martina Hartl is Deputy Head of Unit for International Research Cooperation at the Ministry of Education, Science and Research in Austria. With a background in sociology, her 20+ year career in the Ministry started in the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, where she soon became involved in EU activities, serving as the Austrian delegate in the respective Programme Committees in FP6 and FP7. From 2009 to 2013, she worked at the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation in Brussels as a Seconded National Expert in the fields of social sciences and humanities, as well as “Sharing excellence and widening participation”. After returning to Vienna, she joined the Unit for International Research Cooperation focusing on bilateral and multilateral collaboration outside the EU, as well as regional initiatives with neighbouring countries (e.g., EUSDR, EUSALP and Western Balkans). Since 2019, she has also been serving as the Austrian delegate for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Programme within Horizon 2020 and now Horizon Europe.

Mathew Tata

Mathew Tata

Deputy Head of Unit, BMBWF Austria

Dr Mathew Tata advocates for the development of researchers and leads on the co-production of new resources and engagement activities, including the Vitae 'Researcher Development Framework' (RDF). Passionate about improving research culture, he facilitates topic-based working groups and collaborative networks, including the UK Research Staff Association.

Before joining Vitae, Mathew was a postdoctoral researcher in cell and molecular biology at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. In this time, Mathew chaired both the university and national postdoc associations, and served as a board member in the international researcher advocacy NGO 'Eurodoc'. He is particularly motivated by resolving precarity and advancing EDI in the research system, and champions researcher development as a means to enabling positive wellbeing and fulfilling careers for researchers.


Mathias Schroijen

Project leader, Postgraduate Office, ULB

Mathias Schroijen is a member of the Postgraduate Office at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). As a project leader, he is responsible for the development of transferable skills training programmes and career development services for researchers. Mathias has a research background in health psychology and is currently finalising his PhD in respiratory psychophysiology (KU Leuven). Besides his research, he focused on PhD community building at the local level (PhD Society at KU Leuven), the construction of training and career development services at the institutional level (project manager MSCA-Cofund IF@ULB) and the representation of early career researchers at the European level (Co-coordinator mental health working group and former secretary of Eurodoc).

Mayya Sundukova

Mayya Sundukova

Engagement and Policy Project Manager, Vitae

Mayya is a research scientist with a PhD in Neuroscience from SISSA (Italy). After 6 years as an interdisciplinary postdoc at EMBL (MSCA Cofund grant), she moved to Spain to join the Institute of Biophysics. Her long-standing interests are the mechanisms of pain and touch and ion channels. Mayya is experienced in making transitions and adopting new identities through years of life and research in different countries. She contributes to the community by mentoring younger researchers in career development and open science training programmes and by participating in mental well-being initiatives. Her personal interests are performing arts and journaling for well-being.

Melody Brown Burkins

Melody Brown Burkins

Director, Institute of Arctic Studies, Dartmouth

Melody Brown Burkins, PhD, is the Director of the Institute of Arctic Studies, Senior Associate Director in the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, and Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth, USA. In January 2022, she was also named the UArctic Chair in Science Diplomacy and Inclusion. With over 30 years of experience as a polar scientist working in academia and governance, she is an advocate for policy-engaged scholarship, experiential education, and the support of science policy and diplomacy initiatives advancing sustainability, inclusion, and gender equality in the Arctic and around the world.

Nikoletta Zampeta Legaki

Nikoletta Zampeta Legaki

Senior Researcher, Tampere University

Nikoletta-Zampeta Legaki is a Senior Researcher at Gamification Group, Tampere University. She joined the Gamification Group in 2019 with her project GANDALF (Marie Skłodowska-Curie IF 840809) that involved gamification and datafication to improve public understanding of data. She is an electrical and computer engineer and earned her PhD at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens.

Nikoletta-Zampeta has been a researcher and teaching assistant at the Forecasting and Strategy Unit, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering since 2012. During this period, she has participated in various research projects about forecasting and data analytics, and worked as a consultant in Financial Services and Risk Management at Ernst & Young Greece, as well. Her research interests are related to gamification, game-based learning, human-computer interaction, time series, business forecasting, decision making, risk management, and educational methods in teaching forecasting and statistics. Her current research focuses on investigating how gamification and gamified dashboards and persuasive data visualisation affect learning outcomes in the context of statistics and forecasting education.


Nikoline Borgermann

Nikoline Borgermann

Green Lab Advisor, Ava Sustain

Nikoline Borgermann is a biochemist by training and an environmentalist at heart!
Nikoline studied biochemistry in Denmark and Germany, and she did a PhD focused on genomic instability at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen. During her time as a PhD/postdoc, she founded and chaired a local green task force focused on reducing the climate impact of the center’s research activities. After her postdoc, Nikoline left academia to work as an independent, value-driven green lab consultant. In addition to giving workshops and seminars, she helps public research institutions and private companies reduce the environmental impact and carbon footprint of their laboratories.

Ornela Bardhi

Ornela Bardhi

Chair, MCAA Western Balkans Chapter

Ornela is a scientific advisor to the Minister at the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Albania through the LEAD Albania programme. Previously, she was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD fellow where she focused on the application of artificial intelligence in medicine, specifically on cancer. Ornela's scientific research was focused on object recognition, image segmentation and predictive analytics in cancer in Spain, the USA, the Republic of Ireland and Finland. Before her PhD, she was part of the joint Erasmus+ MSc in Pervasive Computing and Communication for Sustainable Development in France, Finland, Russia and Sweden. During her master’s degree, she founded and co-founded two startups in Sweden and Finland, respectively. She finished her BEng in computer engineering in Albania and the UK. She is an active member of the Marie Curie Alumni Association, where she is the current chair of the MCAA Western Balkans Chapter. Ornela organises events to promote scientific research and European grants in Albania and abroad. She has received various awards and grants from the EU.

Pavlo Bazilinskyy

Pavlo Bazilinskyy

Assistant Professor, Eindhoven University of Technology

Pavlo Bazilinskyy is an assistant professor at TU Eindhoven. He finished his PhD at TU Delft in auditory feedback for automated driving as a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow. He was the head of data research at SD-Insights. Pavlo is involved with startups and is the MCAA Bridging Science and Business working group vice-chair. In addition, he was a director of the Research and Innovation unit of EMA.


Peter Gluckman

President, International Science Council

President of the International Science Council since October 2021, Peter heads Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures at the University of Auckland. From 2009-2018, he was first Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Ministers of New Zealand. He was foundation chair of the International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA) from 2014 to 2021.

As a pediatrician and biomedical scientist, Peter Gluckman has published over 700 papers and several academic and popular books in animal science, developmental physiology, growth and development and evolutionary biology and evolutionary medicine. He co-chaired the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (2013-2017). He is chief scientific officer of the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences. 

Peter Gluckman has written and spoken extensively on science-policy, risk assessment, science-diplomacy, and science-society interactions. In 2016, he received the AAAS award in Science Diplomacy. He has received the highest civilian and scientific honours in New Zealand and is a fellow of the Royal Society of London, the Royal Society of New Zealand, the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK) and a member of the National Academy of Medicine (USA). He holds a Distinguished University Professorship in the University of Auckland, and honorary chairs at University College London, University of Southampton and National University of Singapore.

Roberto Merino-Martinez

Roberto Merino-Martinez

Assistant Professor, Delft University of Technology

Roberto Merino-Martinez was born in Burgos, Spain in 1991. He obtained his BSc and MSc in Aerospace Engineering at Madrid Polytechnic University (UPM) in Spain after performing an Erasmus stay at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. He obtained his PhD cum laude in aircraft noise and aeroacoustics at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands in 2018. Immediately after his thesis defense, he continued working as a part-time postdoctoral researcher in the same department, as well as an aeroacoustics expert in the consultancy company Peutz BV, also in the Netherlands. He has recently obtained a tenure track position in the same department which he combines with his part-time consultancy work at Peutz BV. Overall, he has published 21 peer-reviewed journal papers and 24 conference proceedings.

Sara Ricardo

Sara Ricardo

Consultant, SIRIS Academic; Board Member, Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA)

Sara Ricardo holds a PhD in biology and is a former Principal Investigator with over 15 years of experience in academia at leading institutions both in Europe and the USA. During the period 2018-2022, she was a MCAA Board Member. In addition, she has business development experience in Healthtech. Currently, she is a Business Developer and Consultant at SIRIS Academic, leading the development of and consulting on evidence-based strategic analysis projects in the health and life Sciences for the not-for-profit sector. Clients and collaborators include universities, research organisations, foundations, governments and governmental agencies. She has a long-standing interest in science policy and innovation issues, specifically in how these can intersect and actors work together, practically and pragmatically, to ultimately improve systems, taking the best advantage of existing resources.

Sasha Ivashchenko

Sasha Ivashchenko

Medical Physics Resident, Leiden University Medical Center

Sasha (Oleksandra), PhD, is a 4th-year imaging physics resident at the Leiden University Medical Center (the Netherlands). She is combining her residency with a part-time image scientist position at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. Her research focuses on quantitative CT and dosimetry optimization, as well as patient-specific resection planning for image-guided surgery.

Sasha was born and raised in the Ukraine, and joined the MCAA in 2013 after starting a PhD project within the FP7 - ITN - Initial Training Networks TRACEnTREAT (project ID 317019). Over the past two years, she has become more actively involved in the MCAA community, serving as an editorial board member of the Newsletter and IRRADIUM magazine. One of the core themes that Sasha is particularly passionate about is improving the interaction between members of the MCAA community, especially with regard to cross-border relocations, cultural integration and inclusivity in the workplace.


Simon Brown

Simon Brown

Owner, P2T Consulting Ltd; Co-creator ICURe

Simon is a (Theoretical) Physicist by training. He has been teaching in higher education for over 30 years. He led a national teaching excellence programme to show how to embed enterprise and employability skills across any institution.

Simon has written and validated over 20 degrees, the latest being an innovative Physics degree, recently judged to be the second best in the UK by the students themselves. He now designs and delivers training and development programmes for academics. He co-created ICURe, which continues to deliver outstanding returns for Innovate UK, as well as the academics involved. Other programmes include SUCCESS (now ARC) for Aspect, Action for Impact for the Northern Accelerator and Researcher to Innovator.
In addition to Europe, Simon has worked in China and Africa.

Stéphanie Gauttier

Stéphanie Gauttier

Assistant Professor, Grenoble Ecole de Management

Dr Stéphanie Gauttier is an Assistant Professor at the Grenoble Ecole de Management. She is the vice-chair of the COST action FP19117 Researcher Mental Health Observatory, the co-founder of the peer-to-peer mental health mentoring project in MCAA (REFERENT), and an active member of the OSCAR consortium looking into AI-based mentoring. Stéphanie has been the chair of the Policy Working Group between 2020 and 2022.

Valentyna Romanova

Valentyna Romanova

Researcher Japanese Association of Ukrainian Studies

Dr Valentyna Romanova studied political science at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. She lives in Tokyo, and is a member of the Japan Association of Ukrainian Studies, the Japan Association of Russian and East European Studies, the Japanese Association of Ukrainian Studies, and the Standing Group on Federalism and Regionalism of the European Consortium for Political Research. Prior to moving to Japan, Romanova was a Senior Consultant at Ukraine’s National Institute for Strategic Studies, team leader for the Political Elites of Ukrainian Regions project of the University of Tokyo, DAAD Visiting Fellow at the University of Jena, as well as Chevening Scholar and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Her research has been published in English, German, Russian and Ukrainian on, among others, Post-Soviet Affairs, Perspectives on European Politics and Society, Politics, Survival, Regional & Federal Studies, Vox Ukraine, Democratic Audit Blog, The Ideology and Politics Journal, Politychni doslidzhennia, and the Kyiv-Mohyla Law and Politics Journal, as well as in reports by Chatham House, the Bertelsmann Foundation, and Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute. In the fall of 2022, her book Decentralisation and Multilevel Elections in Ukraine will be published by ibidem-Verlag.

Valeriia Ahlborn

Valeriia Ahlborn

PhD Student, University of Muenster

I am completing my PhD in physics at the University of Muenster, Germany. Being granted a position in an ETN ColOpt project, I had an opportunity to relocate from Moscow and gain experience in international scientific collaboration. Such programmes supported by MSCA not only fulfill the purpose of overall scientific progress, but also raise a generation of open-minded, tolerant, and understanding people.

Yevheniia Polishchuk

Yevheniia Polishchuk

Young Scientists Councils at the Ministry of Education and Science in Ukraine

Yevheniia Polishchuk is Vice-head at the Young Scientists Councils at the Ministry of Education and Science in Ukraine. She is responsible for international relations.
As well, Yevheniia is a professor at Kyiv National Economic University named after Vadym Hetman. Yevehiia has experience in research for UNDP, GIZ, USAID and other donors.

Research interests include SME development, SMART specialisation, innovations, financial support for innovations, cooperation models for SMEs and universities, COVID 19 impact assessment on SMEs and vulnerable groups.

Mariecuriealumni.eu and the board members will never ask you passwords or other sensitive data. Also you will never receive strange links from them. Please always check the email sender and be careful what URLS you visit.