Speakers (in alphabetical order)

Jean-Pierre BourguignonPresident of the European Research Council (ERC)

Jean-Pierre Bourguignon has held the presidency of the European Research Council since 2014. A mathematician by training, he was a career-long fellow of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and professor at École polytechnique from 1986 to 2012. He has served as president of several mathematical societies, and was the director of the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques from 1994 until 2013. He is also active in the EuroScience organization, as committee and board member. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Prix Paul Langevin, and is member of many honor societies, such as Academia Europaea, where he is also secretary for the mathematics section.

Heinz FassmannFederal Minister of Education, Science and Research, Austria

Federal Minister Heinz Fassmann has been minister of education, science and research since December 2017. Before he was professor of applied geography, spatial research and regional planning at the University of Vienna. In 2006 he became dean of the Faculty of Earth Sciences, Geography and Astronomy, in 2011 vice rector for human resource development and international relations and in 2015 vice rector for research and international affairs. Minister Fassmann was chairman of the expert board for integration in the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs. He is a founding member of the German Advisory Council on Integration and Migration in Berlin and member of the Migration Commission in the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior. Furthermore, he is a full member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and of the Academia Europaea.

Francesca FerlainoResearch Director of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI-Innsbruck) and Professor at the University of Innsbruck, Austria

Francesca Ferlaino is the director of research at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Science (ÖAW), a position she has held since 2014. At the same time, she is a professor of physics at the University of Innsbruck, and also served as director of the Innsbruck Physics Research Center. Her work focuses on various aspects of quantum and atomic physics, and she has been honored many times over for her scientific achievements. Among other recognitions, she has received the Erwin Schrödinger Prize and the Ignaz L. Lieben Prize, and has given plenary talks at many prestigious research conferences.

Thomas A. Henzinger, President of IST Austria

Thomas A. Henzinger is a renowned computer scientist and has led IST Austria as its president since 2009. Born in Linz, Austria, he received his PhD in 1991 from Stanford University, then embarked on a long and successful career abroad, which included professorships at prestigious universities, including EPFL and UC Berkeley, as well as directorship of the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science. Thomas Henzinger is an IST Highly Cited Researcher, has received numerous awards and honors, including the Wittgenstein Award, and is a member of several academic societies, including the Academia Europaea.

Dieter ImbodenProfessor emeritus, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Dieter Max Imboden is professor emeritus of environmental physics at ETH Zürich. After receiving his doctorate in theoretical physics from ETH Zürich, his interest in the environment led him to various institutes in the US and Europe. The author of numerous scientific books and articles, he helped found and later chaired the Department of Environmental Sciences at ETH Zürich. He was president of the Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation, as well as founding president of the organization Science Europe. He chaired the international expert panel to evaluate the German Exzellenzinitiative; the resulting report formed the basis for the continuation of the program.

Merle JacobProfessor in Research Policy and UNESCO Chair in Research Management and Innovation Systems at Lund University, Sweden

Merle Jacob is a professor of research policy at Lund University, where she specializes in the relationship between science and policy. She received her PhD in the theory and sociology of science and research policy in 1997, and since then has published numerous works on university management and national research systems. In addition to her research work, she is the UNESCO Chair of Research Management and Innovation Systems, where she works to initiate, coordinate, and conduct research on global research trends and innovation systems, among other missions. Previously, she was director of research at both Oslo University (2006-2010) and Lund University (2011-2013).

Jürgen JangerDeputy Director of the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO)

Jürgen Janger is a senior researcher and deputy director at the Austrian Institute of Economic research (WIFO) in Vienna. As a researcher, his primary interests are in the economics of science and innovation, and his recent projects have been related to competitive research funding, such as determinants of job choice in academia, a comparison of basic research funding agencies, and mobility and convergence in the European Research Area, among others. He obtained his MSc from the London School of Economics and his PhD from the Vienna University of Business Administration and Economics. Before joining WIFO in 2010, he worked with the Institute for Industrial Research in Vienna and the Austrian Central Bank.

Jadran LenarčičDirector of the Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Jadran Lenarčič is a professor at the University of Ljubljana specializing in robotics, and has made significant scientific contributions in, for instance, the areas of modeling and simulation of robots. He is also dedicated to the development of new technologies and their transfer into industry. After heading the Robotics Laboratory and the Department of Automatics, Biocybernetics, and Robotics at the Jožef Stefan Institute, he began as head of the institute in 2005. He is a full member of the Slovenian Academy of Engineering, and was awarded the Medal of Work with the Silver Wreath of the Republic of Slovenia, among other honors.

Helga NowotnyChair of the ERA Council Forum Austria and former President of the European Research Council (ERC), 2010-2013

Helga Nowotny is professor emerita at ETH Zurich and former president of the European Research Council. She is chair of the ERA Council Forum Austria and member of the Austrian council, as well as a visiting professor at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She is active in many boards and committees, including chairing the Scientific Advisory Board of the Complexity Science Hub in Vienna. She has received many awards and honors, most recently in June 2018 an honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford and the Leibniz-Medal from the BBAW in Berlin. Her latest publications are “The Cunning of Uncertainty” and “An Orderly Mess”.

Leszek Pacholski, Professor emeritus, former Rector and Director of the Institute of Computer Science, Wrocław University, Poland

Leszek Pacholski is professor emeritus of computer science at Wrocław University. After receiving his doctorate in mathematics from the Polish Academy of Science, he worked on model theory and for many years chaired the logic division of the Mathematical Institute of the Polish Academy of Science. Later, he moved to Wrocław University where he reinvented the computer science department and created one of the best centers of theoretical computer science in Central Europe. He served as the rector of Wrocław University, and during his term, Wrocław University significantly moved up in the ranking of Polish universities. Since 2004 he has been an active proponent of higher education reform in Poland.

Marc SchiltzPresident of Science Europe and Executive Head of the Luxembourg National Research Fund

Marc Schiltz holds a PhD in physics and an Executive MBA from INSEAD, and has been active in research and higher education for over 25 years, in several European countries. As head of the National Research Fund in Luxembourg, he has used his international experience and thorough expertise in strategic research management and organization to enhance the quality of the Luxembourg research system and build bridges with the private sector and with the international scientific community. In addition, he represents Luxembourg in international organizations, such as the Global Research Council, and has held the presidency of the Governing Board of Science Europe since 2017.

Frantisek StepanekProfessor at the Prague University of Chemistry and Technology, Czech Republic

Frantisek Stepanek is a professor of chemical engineering and head of the Chemical Robotics Laboratory at the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague. He obtained a PhD in chemical engineering, then worked at Unilever R&D before joining Imperial College London as a lecturer, and is currently visiting professor there. His research interests include pharmaceutical process technology, formulation engineering, drug delivery systems and the emerging field of chemical robotics. He has authored over 150 peer-reviewed journal publications to date and received many awards for his work, including the IChemE Junior Moulton Medal, the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Award, and the Philip Leverhulme Prize. 

Klement Tockner, President of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

Klement Tockner is the president of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and professor of aquatic ecology at the Freie Universität Berlin. A globally recognized expert on freshwater biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and ecosystem management, he has published more than 250 scientific papers, and from 2007-2016 directed the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin. In addition to serving on several scientific committees and international advisory boards, he is an elected member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, and is chairman of the Austrian Agency for Research Integrity.

Alice ValkárováPresident of the Czech Science Foundation

Alice Valkárová is the president of the Czech Science Foundation, which supports basic research in all scientific disciplines and is the most important grant agency in the Czech Republic. She received her PhD in 1980 at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, where she analyzed antiproton-proton interactions. Beginning in 1997, she participated in an H1 experiment examining electron-proton interactions at the HERA electron-proton particle accelerator in the DESY laboratory in Hamburg, Germany. From 2006-2014, she was president of the Czech Physical Society and member of the Presidium of the Union of Czech Mathematicians and Physicists. To date, she has authored over 300 peer-reviewed journal publications, and in 2015 received the Milada Paulová Award for physics.

Dirk Jan van den Berg, Chairman of the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Governing Board

Dirk Jan van den Berg has worked at the highest levels of the corporate world, international relations, academia and government for the last three decades. This leadership and executive experience has centered across all three major zones of contemporary global power (Europe, the United States and China). He has led large and complex organizations, for instance the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation in the Netherlands, where he held several positions, including permanent secretary, director of trade policy, chief economist, and deputy director general of Foreign Economic Relations. He also served as president of the Delft University of Technology.

Barbara Weitgruber, Director-General for Scientific Research and International Relations, Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Research

Barbara Weitgruber was founding staff member and director of the Office for International Relations and lecturer at Karl-Franzens Universität Graz, Austria and then director of the Office for European Educational Co-operation of the Austrian Academic Exchange Service in Vienna, Austria. In December 1994 she joined the Austrian Ministry in charge of higher education and research as director and later became deputy director general for Higher Education and director general for Scientific Research and International Relations. She is also a member in numerous committees, including the Task Force for Research, Technology and Innovation of the Austrian Federal Government and the European “Research Policy Group” and chairs the Austrian Fulbright Commission as well as the Scholarship Foundation of the Republic of Austria.

Jörg Wojahn, Representative of the European Commission to Austria

Jörg Wojahn is the representative of the European Commission to Austria. He completed his legal studies in 1997 at the University of Passau. Then, after two years at the Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, became Doctor of Laws in 1999. Following a position as a legal officer in Baden-Baden, he became a foreign affairs reporter for Der Standard in Vienna in 2000. In 2002, he moved to Brussels and continued his work with Der Standard as the EU- and NATO correspondent. Still in Brussels, he became spokesman of the European Anti-Fraud Office in 2004. From 2010 until 2015, he served as counsellor for trade affairs in the European Union Delegation for Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, and Riyadh, and has held his current position since 2015.