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Ulla Engelmann

Head of Unit
European Commission, DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Ulla Engelmann
  • Ulla Engelmann

    Ulla is the Head of Unit for Advanced Technologies, Clusters, and Social Economy within DG GROW, the Directorate General being responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, at the European Commission. Since the beginning of 2017 she covered European Cluster Policy, Social Economy as well as Women Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurship education. From 1.10.2018 onwards Advanced Technologies including Artificial Intelligence and Digital Transformation for industry have been added to her responsibilities.

    Previously, Ulla worked at the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the in-house science service of European Commission, for many years in different functions. She started in the JRC in Ispra (Italy) in 1993 as a post-doc in fusion research, and moved on to manage various units (communication, international relations, and others) in Ispra and Brussels.

    Ulla holds a PhD in analytical and radiochemistry completed at the National Research Centre in Karlsruhe.

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Carsten Schierenbeck

Team Leader
European Commission, DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Carsten Schierenbeck
  • Carsten Schierenbeck

    Carsten is a team leader responsible for cluster policy development with a focus on emerging industries, based in the ‘Advanced technologies, Clusters & Social Economy’ unit of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. He deals with a number of EU cluster initiatives under the COSME and Horizon2020 programmes aiming to connect ecosystems and build bridges between SME, innovation, industrial and regional policy.

    Previously, Carsten has undertaken research for the University in Birmingham in the UK, worked for the West Midlands regional office in Brussels as well as for an SME in property management in Germany.

    He holds a PhD, an MBA in International Business Administration, a Bachelor of Commerce and a Professional Qualification in Property Management and is a fan of participatory leadership.

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Annalisa Tessarolo

Policy Officer
European Commission, DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Annalisa Tessarolo
  • Annalisa Tessarolo

    Annalisa is a Policy Officer in the Advanced technologies, Clusters and Social Economy unit of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs; her work focuses on cluster policy with specific regard to industrial transition and the links between clusters and smart specialisation.

    Before that, Annalisa worked on European standardisation, following the implementation of legal obligations concerning SME and stakeholder involvement, still in the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. She also has experience as project consultant in the private sector, having worked on cross-border cooperation funding programmes and national support schemes for SMEs.

    Annalisa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Italian and European law and a Master’s degree in European, Comparative and International law; she is a qualified lawyer, having been admitted to practice as an attorney at law by the Italian bar.

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Slawomir Tokarski

Director
European Commission, Dir F "Innovation and Advanced manufacturing" (DG GROW).
Slawomir Tokarski
  • Slawomir Tokarski

    Slawomir obtained PhD degree at the European University Institute in Florence in 1995. He joined the Polish administration and headed a team co-ordinating the preparations for the accession negotiations and preparing policy analysis for the Chief Negotiator.

    In 2004, Slawomir joined the Commission as a Cabinet member of the Commissioner responsible for the regional policy. In 2009 he was nominated Head of Unit dealing with economic policy and co-ordination of EU funding in DG MARE.

    In March 2012, Slawomir became Head of Defence, Aeronautics and Maritime industries in DG Enterprise. Since February 2016, he became Director, Dir F "Innovation and Advanced manufacturing" (DG GROW).

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Katarzyna Bałucka-Dębska

Policy Officer
European Commission, DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Katarzyna Bałucka-Dębska
  • Katarzyna Bałucka-Dębska

    Katarzyna joined the European Commission in 2005. Before joining, she has worked in technology and service startups. In the European Commission, Katarzyna has worked in various positions connected to ways new technologies can be used in support of every-day life, business processes, more efficient public services as well as remedying socio-economic disproportions and challenges in our society.

    Currently, Katarzyna is responsible for the coordination of the Startup and Scaleup Initiative and stakeholder outreach for wider SME Policy: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes_en

    Katarzyna graduated at Krakow University of Economics. She also carried postgraduate studies in European Public Administration.

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João Correira Neves

Secretary Of State
Portugese Ministry Of Economy
João Correira Neves
  • João Correira Neves

    João is graduated in Economics at Instituto Superior de Economia (1980). Posteriorly, he concluded a master degree in Administration and Public Policies in Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e Empresa – ISCTE (2003).

    In terms of his professional background, João was head of cabinet of two different Ministers of Economy, two-time director general (Economy and Industry), and had responsabilities in different public entities such as Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (IAPMEI), Science and Technology Foundation (FCT) and Regional Operational Programme (Lisbon region).

    Before assumming functions in XXI Government, João was member of the board of BIAL, an enterprise in pharmaceutical area.

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Ole Janssen

Deputy Director General For Innovation And Technology Policy
German Federal Ministry For Economic Affairs And Energy
Ole Janssen

Jordi Arnau Llinares

Deputy-Director For Industry Digitalization
Spanish Civil Service Corps
Jordi Arnau Llinares
  • Jordi Arnau Llinares

    Jordi is a computer scientist and member of the Spanish Civil Service Corps. He has worked as technical consultant for Hewlett-Packard.

    Within the Civil Service, Jordi has worked for the Finance Ministry and the Digital Agenda Ministry. He has also worked as public procurement teacher for the Institute of Fiscal Studies in Madrid.

    Currently, he is the Deputy-Director for Industry Digitalization and Collaborative Platforms

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Gabriela Pirvu

Councilor IA
Romanian Ministry Of Economy Industrial Policy And Competitiveness Division
Gabriela Pirvu
  • Gabriela Pirvu

    Gabriela is co-ordinator of Romanian Cluster Policy at the Romanian Ministry of Economy – Directorate Industrial Policy and Competitiveness

    Since 2009, she has been involved in designing and promoting the Romanian Industrial/Cluster Policy. Since 2007, she also been representing Romania in the Sub-group for Innovation, DG GROW.

    Gabriela is project manager of a series of cluster projects: SEENECO, financed by the Competitiveness Innovation Programme (CIP) of European Commission; ClusterPoliSEE implemented and funded within INTERREG IVC; DanuBioValNet – INTERREG Danube.

    Gabriela’s main activities consist in designing and coordinating bi-and multilateral programmes resulting from the agreements with international and European bodies or as a result of Joint Commissions for technical-economical cooperation.

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Beata Lubos

Head Of Division Of Innovation Policy
Polish Ministry Of Economic Development
Beata Lubos
  • Beata Lubos

    Beata has been working since 2004 at the Ministry responsible for the economic affairs, where she coordinates innovation policy.

    At present, Deputy Director of the Innovation Department at the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology. Her main tasks include designing strategies and programmes in the field of innovation, proposals of legal acts, strategic analyzes and support instruments boosting innovativeness and entrepreneuship.

    Beata is also responsible for cooperation with the EU, OECD and UN in the field of innovation and bilateral relations with selected countries in this field.

    Beta is a doctor of economics specializing in innovation policy.

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Markku Markkula

First Vice-President
European Committee of the Regions
Markku Markkula
  • Markku Markkula

    Markku Markkula was elected President of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) in February 2015 for a two and a half year term of office. He is currently the First Vice-President of European Committee of the Regions. Since joining the CoR in 2010 he has held several influential positions such as the first Vice-Chair of the CoR's EPP Group and Chair of the CoR's EPP Task Force on Europe 2020.

    He is a member of the National Coalition Party in Finland having held numerous political chairmanships throughout his career starting with the local and national Student Unions in Espoo City and the Uusimaa region and is a long standing member of the Board of the Party. A member of Espoo City Council since 1980, he held its presidency in 1990-92 and 2010. He is currently a member of the Board of Helsinki Regional Council and Chairman of Espoo City Planning Board.

    Mr Markkula is a former member of the Finnish Parliament (1995-2003). During this time he served as a member of two permanent parliamentary committees: the Committee for Science, Education and Culture, and the Committee for the Future. As an MP his international role included the Presidency of EPTA Council, European Parliamentary Technology Assessment Network.

    Markku Markkula works at Aalto University as the Advisor to Aalto Presidents, where his focus is on European Union research, innovation and education policy affairs. He has previously worked as the Director of the Lifelong Learning Institute Dipoli and the Secretary-General of the International Association for Continuing Engineering Education (IACEE).

    In Finland his roles have included memberships of the boards of several companies and organisations such as Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation and Technology. He has served as the

    Chairman of the Board of the Finnish Association of Graduate Engineers TEK (1993-2005) and of the Finnish Information Society Development Centre TIEKE (2000-2011).

    As a tribute to his achievements he was elected to the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame in 2008.

    Markku Markkula was born in Kolari (Finland) north of the Arctic Circle on 15 July 1950. He is married with one son and two daughters.

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Gintaras Vilda

Vice-Minister Responsible For Innovation Policy, Industry And Trade
Lithuanian Ministry Of The Economy And Innovation
Gintaras Vilda
  • Gintaras Vilda

    Gintaras is Vice-Minister of the Economy and Innovation responsible for innovation policy, industry and trade.

    Prior to becoming Vice-Minister Gintaras was Director of the Lithuanian Engineering Industry Association (LINPRA) and Chairman of the Board of public body Intechcentras. Also, he acquired excellent strategic management and leadership skills of professional experience in a number of other leading positions, including Chief Production Officer at UAB Arginta Engineering, Business Development Director at UAB Elektromontuotojas and others.

    Gintaras Vilda completed electrical engineering studies at Kaunas High Technical School and holds a MA degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas University of Technology. He is a coordination group member of the National Industry Competitiveness Commission ‘Industry 4.0’, a member of the European Engineering Industries Association ORGALIME, the Council of European Employers of Engineering Industries CEEMET and the European Factories of the Future Research Association EFFRA.

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Bianca Dragomir

Director General & Cluster Manager Of The Year 2016
AVAESEN Cluster, Spain
Bianca Dragomir
  • Bianca Dragomir

    Bianca Dragomir inspires energy and passion for what she loves to do - build open, fresh, bold, entrepreneurship-driven ecosystems, inspire leaders of leaders and generate clusters of change across Europe and beyond.

    Bianca joined AVAESEN, one of Spain's leading cleantech clusters, in 2013. She launched the first climate-specific start-up accelerator in Spain and expanded it across 12 European countries, in a partnership with EIT Climate-KIC. Bianca is Founder of the first Spanish Think Thank Smart Cities and National Leader of ClimateLaunchpad Spain, the Global Green Business Idea Competition, since 2014.

    As a member of the European High-Level Industrial Roundtable ‘Industry 2030’, she currently assists the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, and the European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, in developing a smart, innovative and sustainable industrial strategy for the future of Europe.

    Bianca is the first woman to be awarded as 'European Cluster Manager of the Year’ by European Commission (2016).

    A catalyst for change and an insightful international speaker, she earned two Master’s degrees in International Business and European Integration and Business Communication, having completed several studies in Exponential Thinking and Foresight at Singularity University (California, USA).

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Lucia Seel

Communication And Content Manager
ECCP- European Cluster Collaboration Platform
Lucia Seel
  • Lucia Seel

    Lucia is managing Director of Lucia Seel International Consulting GmbH and currently the Communication and Content Manager of the European Cluster Collaboration Platform launched by the European Commission in 2016. Based on her broad experience of over 25 years in international affairs, projects, communication and European programmes, Lucia set up in 2011 her own company focusing on development and management of EU projects, support for international cooperation in the field of innovation and clustering, training and international networking and communication.

    Her activities also include speaking and moderating at international conferences and workshops, with a large record of presentations and moderations. She is evaluator in the COSME programme and a certified ESCA Cluster Benchmarking Expert and Gold Label Assessor.

    Lucia graduated magna cum laude from the Academy of Economic Sciences in Bucharest and worked both for multinational companies such as Saatchi & Saatchi Centrade in Bucharest/RO and Silhouette International in Linz/AT (as area manager for South-East Asia and South Europe) and for small companies and public administration bodies.

    She is European (Austrian citizen, born in Romania, lived in Spain and Albania), speaks 6 languages and member of several international networks.

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Kaspar Nielsen

Director And ECEI Assessor
Cluster Excellence Danmark
Kaspar Nielsen
  • Kaspar Nielsen

    Kaspar has more than a decade of experience in internationalisation, mostly devoted to clusters.

    He is one of the driving forces behind the Cluster Matchmaking Conferences and has recently developed a guide to support clusters’ internationalisation and is co-author of “A Little Book about EU-funding – how to get the Euros”.

    Kaspar has hands-on experience supporting clusters in- and outside Europe.

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Katarzyna Kowalska

Network Internationalisation Manager
UNIMOS
Katarzyna Kowalska
  • Katarzyna Kowalska

    Katarzyna is network internationalisation manager, passionate about orchestrating meaningful, cross-sectoral & cross-cluster partnerships.

    Katarzyna is the president of UNIMOS Foundation, partner in ESCP S3 project DIGICLUSTERS, co-founder of AgroBioCluster & Eastern European Food Clusters Network.

    She is also an academic teacher, facilitator & expert in national and EU projects related to innovations, internationalization and international cooperation development

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Enrico Venturini Degli Esposti

Manager
ESCP-S3
Enrico Venturini Degli Esposti
  • Enrico Venturini Degli Esposti

    Enrico graduated in Economics at the University of Florence, after taking a Textile High School Diploma. He then specialised in Industrial Quality Control and developed significant experience in this field within textile companies.

    Since 1996, he has been holding the position of Project Manager at Next Technology Tecnotessile, for research projects. He has also a qualified trainer in the textile sector. He has participated to several EU projects.

    Since 2011 he is the manger of OTIR2020 – TUSCANY FASHION CLUSTER, the cluster organisation working in fashion key sectors of the Tuscan manufacturing economy. OTIR2020 principal aims are the operational support in the innovation process and technology transfer in favor of local companies, providing technical assistance and support for the development of new R&D based projects. OTIR2020 - TFC nowadays associates around 480 companies from Tuscany region operating in the fashion value chain (textile and technical textile, clothing, leather, tanning, shoe manufacturing, jewelry). He is now the project manager of TEX4IM action, in the framework of COSME partnerships for industrial modernisation.

    Enrico has valuable skills in management and coordination of specific services to SMEs, drawing up of project proposals and promotion and support of R&D programmes for SMEs.

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Michael Keller

Lead Partner
INTERREG Alpine Space S3-Alpclusters
Michael Keller
  • Michael Keller

    Michael serves as Lead Partner of two European cooperation projects (Interreg Alpine Space) for the School of Engineering and Architecture of Fribourg and the Plastics Innovation Competence Center (both affiliated to the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland):

    • AlpLinkBioEco addresses the transition from a fossil-based to a circular bio-based economy.
    • S3-4AlpClusters aims at enhancing smart industrial transition in the regions of the Alpine Space by making use of the interplay between clusters and smart specialization strategies.

    Michael graduated in economics and social sciences at the University of Fribourg, where he is an Affiliate Member of the Center for Competitiveness. He served as member of the Board of the European MoC Chapter, a regional chapter of Harvard Business School Professor Michael E. Porter's Microeconomics of Competitiveness network, from 2013 to 2014. From 2015-2016 he was Assistant Editor of the Competitiveness Review, an academic journal published by Emerald.

    Michael has published on competitiveness, clusters and innovation and co-authored multiple policy reports for both private and public institutions. Since 2016 he is Visiting Professor at LIUC – Università Cattaneo.

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Vladimir Danailov

CEO
Sofia Investment Agency
Vladimir Danailov
  • Vladimir Danailov

    Vladimir Danailov is CEO of Sofia Municipal Privatization & Investment Agency.

    Vladimir holds a MBA from the American University in Bulgaria and Master’s Degree in HR Management from the Technical University in Sofia, Bulgaria. He received his Bachelor Degree in Industrial Management from the same university.

    His professional experience has been in the Real Estate, Manufacturing and Trading sectors, where he held the positions of Head of Sales and Country Manager in several companies with international presence.

    With a strong background in entrepreneurship and business development and a deep interest in start-ups, Vladimir has already developed broad expertise in managing companies and teams with a global presence.

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Manuella Portier

Director
Cap Digital
Manuella Portier
  • Manuella Portier

    Manuella is the Director of European affairs at Cap Digital, the Gold-labelled French Hub for Digital and Ecological transformation and the largest cluster in Europe with +1000 members. This involves managing the Europe service, the cluster’s EU projects portfolio as well as supporting members in their European development and developing new partnerships.

    Manuella has a Master degree in Social Science and is an expert in European project management. Before joining Cap Digital in 2017, she has been managing H2020, FP7, EIT, Erasmus+ projects in various fields (Future Internet, gender, citizenship, youth…) in NGOs and public institutions for 10 years.

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Bianca Muntean

Manager
Itech Transylvania Cluster Cluj
Bianca Muntean
  • Bianca Muntean

    Bianca is known as a “bridger” for creating unique connections between fields apparently without any connection between them, creating projects and contexts which have brought Cluj under the European attention as a good practice. She is the recipient of the Innovation Luminary Award in 2017 as the young innovation role model for dynamic, pragmatic hands-on OI2 bridgership in Cluj, in the OI 2.0 event of the European Commission.

    She was involved in the organisation of the 2nd edition of Innovation Camp in Cluj-Napoca (October 2018) with the support , which gathered together experts who brought up policy challenges related to innovation in the context of Romanian EU Presidency 2019, allowing for better citizens’ inclusion in the creation of new markets, products and services in the framework of the Digital Single Market strategy; respectively – co-creating innovative public services, co-creating change agents for a transition to urban sustainable transformations, co-creating solutions using technology in the public administration.

    Through her participation in different international conferences, high level business missions and workshops all over the world, she actively promotes Cluj and Transylvania business environment and their unique competences.

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Kristina Dervojeda

Senior Manager
PWC
Kristina Dervojeda
  • Kristina Dervojeda

    Kristina specialised in policy research in the field of Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) and high-tech skills.

    Her specific topics of interest include the future of work in industry, digital learning, lifelong learning, Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence and its implications for skills, and 21st Century approaches to education & training of high-tech professionals.

    Kristina leads the PwC Innovation Research Centre (IRC). Kristina has been and is involved in various multi-country assignments for the European Commission in a role of Project Manager and Senior Expert.

    Kristina holds a PhD degree in Innovation Management.

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Katarzyna Koziol

Enterprise And Single Market Adviser
SME United
Katarzyna Koziol
  • Katarzyna Koziol

    Katarzyna is Enterprise and Single Market Adviser at SMEunited (formerly UEAPME), the association of Crafts and SMEs in Europe.

    SMEunited represents national cross-sectoral Craft and SME federations, European SME branch organisations and associate members from over 30 European countries. It combines, more than 12 million enterprises with around 55 million employees across Europe. SMEunited is also a recognised employers’ organisation and European Social Partner.

    At SMEunited, Katarzyna focusses predominately on digital, consumer and competition topics. Previously, she worked at DIGITALEUROPE.

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David Seoane Vilariño

Project Manager
Fundingbox
David Seoane Vilariño
  • David Seoane Vilariño

    David is project Manager at FundingBox. After obtaining a law Degree (2005) a Master in European Studies (2006), he has been working at Econet consultants since 2008.

    His main expertise is fundraising for projects financed under INTERREG, ERDF, FP7 and H2020. Also, he supports on management of projects for third parties/clients, namely INTERREG.

    David collaborated as Project Manager in RIOHUB (2016-2017), financed by I4MS initiative, and since April 2017 joined FundingBox to work as Project Manager of IMPACT Connected Car (2017-2019), financed under H2020 in the framework of INNOSUP initiative. From 2019 he is Project Manager of NGI4ALL project, funded under H2020 under Next Generation Internet initiative.

    David also provides supporting services, e.g. like fundraising to beneficiaries of previous projects where FundingBox Group has participated like INCENSE or IMPACT.

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Peter Statev

Chair Man
ICT Cluster Bulgaria
Peter Statev
  • Peter Statev

    Peter has been an entrepreneur for more than three decades, as well as a start-up mentor and business angel in the ICT sector.

    Peter has a Master’s degree in Electronics from the Sofia Technical University, an Effective Manager certificate from the Open University, a leading UK flexible study teaching institution. He currently manages Smartcom Group, – group of innovative technology companies active globally.

    Peter is the co-founder and Chairman of the “ICT cluster” foundation and “Bulgarian Innovation and Technology Hub – Bulgarian DigiTecH 4.0.” - tools to support SME inclusion in process of building fully automated and robotized enterprises, managed by AI.

    He is also Chairman of Supervisory board of Sofia Tech Park.

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Agis Evrigenis

Director
European Resource Efficiency Knowledge
Agis Evrigenis
  • Agis Evrigenis

    Agis is Managing Partner of Technopolis Group Belgium and a Technopolis Group Board member. He has a solid track record in strategic market development and business acquisition, while he enjoys coordinating large multicultural and diverse working groups, consortia and networks.

    Agis has participated in different studies in the sphere of science, technology and innovation for the European institutions, national and regional governments. He has coordinated and enabled the execution of numerous evaluations, impact assessments, studies and other consulting services for a broad range of themes, policy areas and sectors, including business innovation and enterprise policy, (regional) economic development, industrial policy, RTDI policy monitoring, green economy & resource efficiency, digital transformation, Open Science etc.

    He is currently the project director of the European Resource Efficiency Knowledge Centre / EREK. He also acts as the project director of the EOSCsecretariat.eu, which offers 360o support to the EOSC Governance for the realisation of the EU Open Science Cloud. Until recently, Agis was leading the Policy Support Facility for DG RTD and the framework contract for the provision of evaluations of EU programmes, legislation, policies and other activities for DG GROW.

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Kristiina Jokelainen

Director
Regional Council Lapland
Kristiina Jokelainen
  • Kristiina Jokelainen

    Kristiina works in Lapland, Finland. Since 2012, she has been involved in the creation and implementation of Lapland’s Smart Specialisation strategy and international collaboration. Her main responsibility has been the developing and putting into practice the regional modern clusters approach called Arctic Smartness – regional innovation ecosystem. The aim is to develop cross-regional and cross-sectoral collaboration and to encourage regional actors and SMEs to develop the practises and new types of collaboration in order to be stronger together in the international networks and markets.

    Kristiina has over 25 years of experience in working on economic, research and innovation development projects and multi-sector cooperation activities in Finland, EU, Eastern European and Central Asian. She has a long-term expertise in development of strategies and project management, evaluation and monitoring practices, internal-international networking and public-private partnership. She has implemented number of project management programmes and courses.

    Kristiina Jokelainen, International relations and S3 Implementation, Regional Council of Lapland, Partner in the Arctic Industry and Circular economy Cluster.

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Luca Donelli

President
Lombardy Energy Cleantech Cluster
Luca Donelli
  • Luca Donelli

    Born in 1982, Luca graduated at Bocconi University. After an experience at McKinsey&Co., Luca started working with Donelli, now a medium size family business incorporated in 1911 and specialized in corrosion protection services for energy and oil&gas.

    As a member of Confindustria Young Entrepreneurs, Luca played a leading role in international networks of including G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, where he served as Sherpa and later President of the Italian delegation, as well as Yes for Europe - European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs, which he led in 2016.

    He also served at various B20 (Business 20, engagement group at G20) task forces: SME and Entrepreneurship (2015), SME Development (2016), Financing Growth & Infrastructure (2017, member of coordination group) and SMEs Development (2018, co-chair).

    Luca is currently President (2017-20) of Lombardy Energy & Cleantech Cluster as well as member of Confindustria General Committee.

    Ad astra per aspera is his motto, as well as that of the State of Kansas, where Luca was an exchange student in High School.

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Christiane Egger

Representative
Cleantech-Cluster Upper Austria
Christiane Egger
  • Christiane Egger

    Christiane is cluster manager Cleantech-Cluster Energy and Deputy Manager of the OÖ Energiesparverband, the energy agency of Upper Austria. She has led the development of this successful network since its beginnings, over 15 years ago. In this period, a number of cluster partner companies grew from small local companies to global players and market leaders in their segment.

    Christiane is also the conference director of the World Sustainable Energy Days, one of the largest annual conferences in this field in Europe. She is the Vice-President of FEDARENE, the European network of regional energy and environment agencies.

    Christiane is an expert in sustainable energy with a focus in policy and market development. She has developed and successfully implemented numerous European collaboration projects, has and is a frequent speaker at conferences in Europe and North America.

    She holds degrees in law and in environmental engineering.

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Carlo Cuijpers

Advisor
KPMG
Carlo Cuijpers
  • Carlo Cuijpers

    Carlo is an advisor for various industry associations, chambers of commerce and other SME support organisations – helping them to set-up support programmes on circular economy.

    Europe needs to transition towards a more circular economy. In recent years Europe has seen an increased uptake of circular economy practices by mainly larger companies. Although the business drivers for corporates and SMEs to become more circular are the same, it is generally more difficult for SMEs to adopt circular economy practices. Therefore we need to inspire and support these.

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Francesc Ribera Grau

Cluster Manager
Catalonia Energy Efficiency Cluster
Francesc Ribera Grau
  • Francesc Ribera Grau

    Francesc graduated chemical engineer at the Universitat de Barcelona. He also holds a Master Degree in Experimental Organic Chemistry.

    Since 2016, he is cluster manager at Clúster de l'Energia Eficient de Catalunya. Previously, he was general manager of Unió de Polígons Industrials de Catalunya (2011-2016). Francesc also worked as energy and enviroment manager at the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce (2007-2011).

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Mervi Nikander

Strategy Manager
Regional Council Of Lapland
Mervi Nikander
  • Mervi Nikander

    Mervi works in Regional Council of Lapland as a Strategy Manager. She is responsible for regional strategy and program based developing including Regional Developing Plan for Lapland. She has been involved in the creation and implementation of Lapland’s Smart Specialisation strategy from the beginning of the year 2012. Social economy thematic is one of the possible solutions to provide services to sparsely populated areas and also to increase entrepreneurship in those areas.

    Mervi’s main responsibility is to coordinate the regional development work in cooperation with other regional and national authorities and municipalities and other regional actors. She has over 20 years of experience in regional developing and strategy work. She also has long-term expertise in project management, evaluation and monitoring practices, internal-international networking and public-private partnership. She has been working in different public authority organisations and sectors such as tourism and education development both in the regional and interregional levels.

    Her passion is to develop the Lapland region to a great place to live, work and visit.

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Ranko Milić

President
Eco-Social Innovation And Development (CEDRA)
Ranko Milić
  • Ranko Milić

    Ranko is passionate about eco-socially sustainable economic development, innovation and collaborative soft and hard spaces, projects platforms and infrastructures.

    Ranko is an Metapreneur connecting the dots of the vast universe of opportunities, business as unusal consultant, trainer and cluster founder and leader at regional and national level in Croatia.

    His special focuses are radical and disruptive innovation in education, tourism, local and regional development platform-oriented start-ups.

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Marharyta Zhenchuk

International Coordinator
Warm Cluster
Marharyta Zhenchuk
  • Marharyta Zhenchuk

    Rita has an academic background in environmental studies – from the universities in Ukraine and the US. She started off with packaging GHG emission reduction projects varying from landfill gas utilization to capturing NOx nitric acid plants in the Eastern Europe.

    Later on Rita moved to Ivano-Frankivsk, West of Ukraine, where she stared to work on local development projects: ranging from art center management, nature protection, rural tourism, industrial parks establishment on reclaimed industrial territories, and most recent - launch of the most ambitious grassroots driven Promprylad.Renovation project in the country – aiming to transform the remnants of what used to be giant sophisticated manufacturing facility into innovation centers (up to 37 800 m2) with the focus on new economy, urban studies, contemporary art and informal education.

    Presently, she is responsible to bring international partners on board.

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Alberto Pezzi

Director
ACCIÓ, Government Of Catalonia
Alberto Pezzi
  • Alberto Pezzi

    Alberto is the Director of competitive strategy at the Directorate General for Industry of the Government of Catalonia. His main task consists in providing strategic analysis inputs for the design and implementation of industrial policies and cluster-based competitiveness reinforcement initiatives.

    Alberto has over 22 years of experience in competitive strategy and cluster development working both in international consultancy firms and in the public sector. In the last decade, Mr. Pezzi has been actively involved in different advisory groups at European level such as TACTICS, and the European Forum for Clusters and Emerging Industries. Since its launch in 2009, Alberto has been committed with the different aspects of clusters excellence being fellow of the faculty of the European Foundation for Cluster Excellence, ESCA benchmarking gold expert and member of the European Cluster Collaboration Platform support group.

    Alberto is the co-author of different books, articles and business cases on cluster policy and practice and he is regularly invited to talk in international forums dedicated to clusters and economic development.

    As part of his professional pro-bono activity, Alberto was among the promoters of TCI Network and since 2003 he is member of the Board of Directors, serving as secretary, president and, presently, as treasurer.

    Alberto holds a BSc in Economics by the Università di Bologna, a master in European Law and Economics from the European College of Parma and a postgraduate diploma in Economic History and Institutions from the Universitat Autonòma de Barcelona.

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Alin-Adrian NICA

Mayor
Mayor Of Dudeștii Noi Timiș County
Alin-Adrian NICA
  • Alin-Adrian NICA

    Alin-Adrian is mayor of Dudeștii Noi, a rural municipality near Timișoara in the western part of Romania. He is a computer engineer as profession and he used to be the youngest mayor of Romania for two mandates in a row from 2004 to 2012.

    Since 2007, he is member of The European Committee of the Regions. Between 2010 and 2012, he used to chair the EDUC Commission, the predecessor of the SEDEC Commission in which now stands as the first vice-president.

    Albert-Adrian is an expert in the European jury that selects the European Capital of Culture. Also, he is an observer in the European Commission Working Group on social economy.

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Anders Johansson

Regional Cluster Coordinator And Project Leader
Orebro Region
Anders Johansson
  • Anders Johansson

    Anders has a background in agriculture and forestry. During thelast 22 years, he has been working in local development with cooperation as a tool.

    The driving force of Andres’ work is getting people to solve societal challenges together with others.

    Currently, Anders is a manager at one of Coompanions’ regional offices. Their mission is to give advice and support to people who want to start cooperatives, they also help to develop the social economy in general.

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Silvano Bertini

Head Of The Department Research, Innovation, Energy And Sustainable Economy
Emilia Romagna Region
Silvano Bertini
  • Silvano Bertini

    Silvano studied economics and management. He is an industrial economist and he specialised in clusters, regional development and SMEs, by participating to national and international projects since 1988.

    Silvano was member of the TCI Board of Advisors since 1999 to 2009. Since 1999, he has been working for the Emilia-Romagna Region and at present, he is Head of the “Research, Innovation, Energy and Sustainable Economy” Unit. In these years, he has been working to establish a regional dynamic Innovation Ecosystem and to involve traditional clusters into this new perspective, based on the involvement of the scientific community and the activation of the sphere of creativity.

    Recently, a new generation of innovation and research-based cluster organisations, focused on the S3 priorities, have been promoted. They are virtual organisations whose members are research labs, firms and any other organisation involved in the cluster items. In parallel to them, physical spaces such as technopoles (for technology transfer) and business accelerators, fablabs and collaborative hubs (for generating new innovative and creative firms) have been realized. According to Silvano, The future challenge is that of promoting a strong industrial and civil transformation towards a high level of sustainability.

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Daniel Cosnita

President
Clustero
Daniel Cosnita
  • Daniel Cosnita

    Daniel graduated both as an engineer and economist. He has been working in the last 16 years in the fields of technology transfer and innovation, regional economic development and cluster policy support in Romania and abroad.

    Daniel is a member of the Export Council of Romania and of the National Council for Technology Transfer and Innovation. Since 2011, he has been the President of the Romanian Cluster Association.

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Hugues Sibille

President
Crédit Coopératif And GECES
Hugues Sibille
  • Hugues Sibille

    Sibille is president of The Foundation Credit Coopératif , and chairman of the Think tank Labo ESS.

    Sibille is also member of the Expert Group on Social Economy and Social Enterprises (Geces), member of the National Council of French Social Innovation. Formely, he was Vice President of Credit Coopératif and worked under the Ministry of Social Economy.

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Merete Nielsen

Project Manager And ECEI Assessor
Cluster Excellence Denmark & TCI Network
Merete Nielsen
  • Merete Nielsen

    Merete is co-founder and director of Cluster Excellence Denmark established in 2009 with the aim of supporting Danish clusters on competence development, professionalisation and internationalisation. Today, Cluster Excellence Denmark is considered as best practice on cluster development in Europe.

    Serving as President for the global TCI Network, Merete is helping members from 110 countries around the world to improve their knowledge and competences on clusters, innovation and competitiveness. TCI Network reached out to 9.000 practitioners around the world.

    For five years, she has been co-organising the largest Cluster Matchmaking Conferences in Europe helping more than 300 clusters to more internationalisation. With 25 years of experience in education, innovation and competitiveness she is an expert, speaker and author covering these topics.

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Péter Keller

Head Of International And Cluster Unit
Hungarian Ministry For National Economy
Péter Keller
  • Péter Keller

    Peter started his career at the SME Development Department of the Ministry of Economy and Transport in 2002, playing an active role in planning the SME Development priority of the I. National Development Plan 2004-2006 (NDP). After 2006, he coordinated the planning process of the Economic Development Operational Programme 2007-2013 in the framework of the II. NDP.

    Between 2010 and 2011, he worked as a government adviser at the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice. He was responsible for cohesion policy especially related to Structural Funds.

    Since 2012, Peter is responsible for the implementation of the Hungarian cluster development policy by leading the International and Cluster Development Unit at the Managing Authority (MA) of Economic Development Programmes in the Ministry of Finance.

    From 15 April 2019, Peter is acting as a head of department at the Ministry of Finance responsible for designing and managing all the economic development related call for proposals, including cluster development calls. In 2018, he was elected as a Director of the TCI Board.

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Alain Tubiana

Member Of Board Of Directors
France Clusters
Alain Tubiana
  • Alain Tubiana

    Alain is an international expert and consultant on cluster management dealing with cooperation since more than twenty years. He has been cluster manager in the Information Technology (IT) sector for nine years. In the past seven years, he has conducted more than 35 missions for cluster organizations as well as governments both in Europe (France and Spain) and abroad (Lebanon, Morocco, Mauritius, Tunisia, Algeria, Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles and three French Overseas Territories, New Caledonia, La Réunion and Mayotte).

    Alain works both on public policy design or advice and cluster initiative support. He has trained more than 120 cluster managers on site and through distance learning. He contributed to activate several cluster initiatives in various sectors like textile, automotive, IT, mechanics, creative industry, energy efficiency, agro-food, chemical industry and cosmetics. He developed several projects to facilitate the technology transfer from laboratories to companies and has a strong experience in business support for SMEs.

    Alain is member of the board of directors of France Clusters, Head of the Master programme in Cluster Management at the University of Strasbourg and lecturer at Kedge Business School.

    He is also ESCA benchmarking expert, ECCP and EOCIC expert.

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James Wilson

Research Director
Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness and teaching faculty at Deusto Business School
James Wilson
  • James Wilson

    I am Research Director at Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness and teaching faculty at Deusto Business School.

    My research interests are in policy-relevant analysis of territorial competitiveness and socio-economic development processes. My work is focused especially on territorial strategy-making, governance, clusters, innovation and cluster policy, policy evaluation, and the roles that universities play in territorial development. I work with regional stakeholders on projects related to these interests and have published widely in peer-reviewed journals and academic books. I have also played leading roles in European research projects, particularly in the fields of clusters and smart specialization strategies.

    I have taught courses related to economic development, competitiveness and public policy in Spain, the UK and a range of other countries. I am active in international academic and policy networks, including TCI Network, where I am currently a member of the Board of Directors.

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