Confirmed speakers (in alphabetical order):

Stefano Babbini, MOGU (Italy)


Environmental Engineer, active in the Cleantech and Bioeconomy sectors since 2005. He contributed to the start-up of several initiatives worldwide, with a special focus on the agro-industry, renewable energies, and biotech. Entrepreneur and Manager during the last 12 years, he has been involved in different sustainable business cases, shifting from the bio-energy and the bio-fuels sectors, to innovative applications in the green chemistry and bio-materials. In 2015, with the aim of developing innovative products from a natural technology following the principle of the Circular Economy, he co-founded Mogu S.r.l.(Italy). Employing the mycelium (fungi roots) as natural material, the Company is developing and producing innovative products for the design and fashion sectors.

Topic of presentation:

Giulia Camilla Braga, (World Bank)


Giulia C. Braga is Program Manager of the World Bank Group’s Connect4Climate (C4C) global partnership program and Communications Officer in the Global Engagement & Partnerships unit. A communications professional passionate about the role of storytelling and visual media in creating a better world, Giulia has international experience in global advocacy campaigns, youth engagement, private-public sector partnerships. An Italian national, she manages C4C’s engagement with the creative industries as well as the Film4Climate campaign dedicated to advancing sustainability in films and creative visual storytelling. She constantly works on the strategic and creative production of high-profile international projects such as the “Fiat Lux: Illuminating Our Common Home” public art projections on the Vatican. She has extensive experience working with international organizations, academia, governments, NGOs, and the private sector.

Fabrizio Calenti, Aquafil (Italy)

foto BIO Fabrizio Calenti

Though he holds a degree in chemical engineering, from Politecnico of Milano, his first business activity was in sport, as a ski instructor at the ski school he founded, in his hometown alpine village. His experience as a Chemical Process Engineer was short but significant, in an Italian / US J/V, designing and selling turnkey Caustic / Chlorine chemical plants, all over the world. His 25 years’ experience in fibers started with an oversea assignment, which lasted four years, as General Manager of a Natural Rubber Thread Company, based in Malaysia. Fabrizio moved back to Europe in 1993, when he joined the Radici Group where he started as General Manager of the Nylon 66 fiber division. In his 11 years with Radici he was appointed as General Manager of the entire Nylon fiber division, started a successful manufacturing operation in Brasil, finalized an acquisition of US Spandex Manufacturing Company and became that company CEO. He joined Aquafil in 2003, as General Manager of the Nylon Textile Fiber Business Unit. In view of his international experience, he was also asked to manage the set up and the start up of the Aquafil Carpet Yarn Division operations in Asia, where a yarn finishing plant was started in 2006 (Thailand) and a large manufacturing investment was started in 2011 (China). Fabrizio also has the responsibility of the ECONYL® REGENERATION SYSTEM technology.

Topic of presentation:

Rafael Cayuela, Dow (Switzerland)


Rafael Cayuela, is the Corporate Chief Economist at The Dow Chemical Company. In this position he is member of the Dow global corporate strategy team, as well as member of the International Governments Affairs Team – IGA.

Cayuela started his career for Dow Chemical in Madrid, Spain, while moving early in his career into Dow global headquarters in Midland, Michigan. Currently is based at Dow European headquarters in Horgen, Switzerland since 2007.
He holds a Masters degree in European Economics from the College of Europe, Brugge, Belgium and an Executive MBA from the University of Chicago USA. Cayuela is also the author of the book “The Future of the Chemical Industry by 2050”, published by Wiley in May 2013 and he is active international speaker about the Chemical Industry, Bioeconomy, Sustainability, and Climate Change as a major business opportunity and the long term outlook of the Industry.

Stefano Fabiani, CREA (Italy)


Environmental economist  (PhD). Member of Technical-Scientific Committee of  CREA Research Centre for Agricultural Policy and Bioeconomy. PB Centre Technical-Scientific reference for CREA Technology Transfer Network. PB Centre reference for Cluster SPRING on Bioeconomy (working group on biomass), ASVIS (Italian National Alliance for Sustainable Development – working group on renewable energies) and GBEP (Global Bioenergy Partnership c/o FAO). PB Centre reference for ENRD (European Network on Rural Developlment) – Thematic Group on “Bioeconomy and Climate Action in rural areas”. Expert in energy, climate and agro-environmental policies. Involved in several studies and research activities (at National and European level) focused on the definition of methodologies for optimization and management of natural resources in agriculture trough integrated and multisetorial approaches.

Fabio Fava, University of Bologna (Italy)


Fabio Fava is Full Professor of “Industrial & Environmental Biotechnology” at the School of Engineering of the University of Bologna (Italy) since 2005. He published about 170 papers on peer-reviewed international journals in the fields of Biowaste Biorefinery, Blue Biotechnology and Bioeconomy, where he coordinated the FP7 projects NAMASTE and BIOCLEAN and participated in the FP7 projects ECOBIOCAP, ROUTES, MINOTAURUS, WATER4CROPS, ULIXES, KILL SPILL and BIORICE. He is currently the Italian Representative at the European Commission (Brussels) in the: a) Horizon2020 Programming Committee “Food security, sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine and Maritime and inland water research, and Bioeconomy” (SC2), b) “States Representatives Group” of the “Public Private Partnership BioBased Industry” (BBI JU)(that he is coordinating as the elected Chair), and c) EuroMed GSOs BLUEMED initiative WG. He is also the delegate of the Italian Ministry for Research and University in the WEST MED initiative and in the EUSAIR one. Finally, he is the Italian representative in the Working Party on “Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and Converging Technologies” at OECD (Paris).

Peter Flippo, BioProcess Facility (Netherlands)


Peter has a 25+ year career in the chemical and materials industry with companies including Arizona, Chemical, Bekaert, DSM and two start-up companies, before joining the Bioprocess Pilot Facility. He has a chemical technology Master of Science degree of University of Twente and a Master Degree on Business Marketing of TIAS Business School. Peter is a senior business development professional with track record of strategic growth plans in chemical and materials industry. Special interest and experience in sustainability, bio-derived feedstocks and dedicated to contribute to successful growth of the biobased economy.

Topic of presentation: Unlocking the potential of biomass: taking your product development from labscale to commercial scale

Agata Foks, Ministry of Science and Higher Education (Poland)

Agata Foks

Agata Foks – Minister’s Counsellor for European Affairs in the Department of Innovation and Development of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Her professional scope of responsibilites include ensuring the implementation of national strategies, work programmes and tasks arising from cooperation with the institutions of the European Union in the field of agriculture, food, climate change, biodiversity and bioeconomy resulting from EU and national policies. She represents Poland in the working bodies of the European Commission in her field of duties: Horizon 2020 Programme Committee on Societal Challenge 2, Horizon Europe Shadow Thematic Configuration Food, Bioeconomy, Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment, Scientific Committee on Agriculture Research (SCAR), States Representatives Group BBI JU and the Governing Board of the Joint Planning Initiative of Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (JPI FACCE). From May 2019, she perfoms the duties of the vice-chair of the States Representatives Group BBI JU.

Ludwig Goris, Capricorn Venture (Belgium)

Ludwig Goris

Ludwig Goris obtained a Master in Chemistry from Ghent University and a Ph.D. in Physics at Hasselt University (2006). After completion of his doctorate, he started as a post-doctoral scholar at Stanford University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, a position he held for three years. He earned an Executive Master’s degree in Corporate Finance from Vlerick Business School in 2013.He started his career in venture capital investing in 2010 at Capricorn Venture Partners as independent advisor to the Capricorn Cleantech Fund, where he was responsible for scouting, analytics and portfolio support. After consecutive analyst and manager roles at the firm, he is today active as Senior Investment Manager to the Capricorn Cleantech and Capricorn Sustainable Chemistry Fund, where is responsible for deal initiation, deal structuring and portfolio management. He holds Board Director positions at ViroVet and c-LEcta. His interests and expertise cover agriculture, human/animal health & nutrition, and chemical processing technologies that are disruptive in performance, efficiency and yield. In his capacity as active investor and board member, he supports his portfolio companies in business development, corporate finance and market access.


Giulia Gregori, Mater Biopolymer (Italy)


Enrica Imbert, Unitelma (Italy)

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Enrica Imbert is a Researcher of Applied Economics at Unitelma Sapienza. She obtained a PhD in ‘Economic Development, Finance and International Cooperation’ at Sapienza University in 2015. Currently her research has focused on how social economy organisations can contribute to sustainable development and to issues related to a sustainable bioeconomy and the market uptake of bio-based products.


Mladen Istuk, INA (Croatia)

Mr Mladen Ištuk graduated on the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology in Zagreb and completed numerous professional trainings in the field of refining business, mathematic modelling, planning and optimization, together with project management. He started his career in INA in 1998 with tasks related to catalytic process development and continued to Supply Chain Management, where he was appointed manager responsible for long-term and operational planning and optimization. He became Director of Biorefiery project development in 2015 and kept this position till today.

Andreas Kleinschmit von Lengefeld, French Institute FCBA (France)


Dr. Andreas Kleinschmit von Lengefeld has been the Director for Innovation and Research at the French Institute FCBA since April 2011. Today around 320 people work at FCBA, an institute for applied research that covers a large part of all value chains within the French forest-based sector, starting with forestry and genetic improvement of trees, harvesting and supply technologies, development of new lingo-cellulosic materials, using and reinforcing wood in construction and interior applications as well as for living with wood and all materials used in the furniture sectors.

From March 2005 until March 2011 he was involved in the setting-up and operating of the European Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform – FTP, at which he held the position of Director. During that period he was also the RTDI Manager at CEI-Bois (Confederation of European Woodworking industries). He studied forestry sciences at Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich and holds a PhD from Technical University of Munich. Dr. Kleinschmit von Lengefeld is member of various expert and advisory groups: Representative of EOS-OES for innovation and research related issues, was acting Chairman of CEI-Bois “Innovation, Research and Development WG”, Member of the Stakeholder Advisory Board for the ERA-NET Foresterra; Member of the WoodWisdom-NET+ Management Team, Coordinator of the European Hardwoods Innovation Alliance (EHIA), member of the ECOFOR Scientific Council; member of the ESB Scientific Council. He coordinated the EIP AGRI focus group (FG20) on “sustainable mobilization of forest biomass”.

Topic of presentation: The role of the forest-based sector within the circular bioeconomy

Daniel MacEachran, Braskem (Brazil)

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Dan currently serves as the Head of Open Innovation for Braskem’s Renewable Chemicals and Materials group. In this role, he and his team are responsible for accelerating the flow of new technologies into and through Braskem’s Renewables R&D pipeline via the identification and participation in mutually beneficial collaborations. Prior to joining Braskem, Dan served as the Director of Research and Development at Greenlight Biosciences where he led efforts to identify new applications for Greenlight’s RNA production process as well as their cell free production platform more broadly. Dan also worked as a senior metabolic engineer at Logos Technologies, developing new renewable fuels and chemicals technologies. Dan earned his PhD from Dartmouth Medical School in the field of Microbiology and Immunology and received further training as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology working with Tony Sinskey.

Topic of presentation: Commercializing biosourced commodity chemicals: lessons learned and what’s next

Philippe Mengal, BBI JU 


Philippe Mengal is the Executive Director of the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) since 1st of October 2015. His mission is to further consolidate the role and responsibilities of the BBI JU. The Executive Director is the legal representative of the BBI JU. He is the chief executive responsible for the day-to-day management of the BBI JU in accordance with the decisions of the Governing Board. Mr. Mengal trained as an engineer in Chemistry and Bio-industry at the Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech University and later on in Strategic Innovation Management at INSEAD – Fontainebleau in France.
He started his career in 1990 in France as R&D engineer in the field of biomass fractionation and purification. In 1995 he became Technical Director of a research centre dedicated to biomass valorisation and between 1990 and 1997 he taught in a Master programme on chemical engineering in Rennes, France. He has published a number of scientific papers and awarded 5 patented license agreements.
In his 25 years of professional experience before joining BBI JU, Mr. Mengal held strategic managerial positions in France and Belgium such as CEO of three companies, Global R&D Director of a multinational and Senior Consultant in food ingredient, engineering and life science industries

Alex Michine, MetGen (Finland)

Alex Small

Alex Michine, M.Sc, MBA. Alex worked 25+ years in various position in Life Science industry. Founded and successfully run 3 Biotech SME. From 2008:  Founder and CEO of MetGen (www.metgen.com). MetGen Oy is a pioneering industrial biotechnology company with a demonstrated capability to design, develop and produce highly-effective tailor-made but cost-effective enzyme solutions. The company has a particular emphasis on applying enzymes to the transformation of lignocellulosic biomass into platform chemicals, sugars and valorized lignin.

Topic of presentation: Role of lignin valorization in modern biorefineries

Piergiuseppe Morone, Unitelma (Italy)


Piergiuseppe Morone is Full Professor of Economic Policy at Unitelma Sapienza with a strong interest in green innovation and sustainable development pushing his research at the interface between innovation economics and sustainability transitions, an area of enquiry that has attracted growing attention over the last decade. His work regularly appears in prestigious innovation and environmental economics journals.

He is coordinator of STAR-ProBio, an H2020 research project aiming at developing sustainability assessment tools for bio-based products and promote their market penetration. Piergiuseppe is head of the Bioeconomy in Transition Research Group, a research unit at Unitelma Sapienza involved in research concerning the emergence of a circular and bio-based economy. Piergiuseppe is member of the Editorial Boards of Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry (ELSEVIER) and Open Agriculture (De Gruyter Open) and acts as Guest Editor for various journal including the Journal of Cleaner Production (ELSEVIER) and Sustainability (MDPI). Piergiuseppe is Economic Advisor of the Italian Minister of the Environment, Land and Sea Protection.

Michael Nettersheim (European Circular Bioeconomy Fund)

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Michael Nettersheim is a founding partner of the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund. For more than eight years Michael was responsible for bioeconomy related investments at BASF Venture Capital. Previously, he was a member of the investment management team at High-Tech Gruenderfonds in Bonn, Germany. Prior to this he was responsible for corporate finance and investor relations at a publicly listed biotech company in Munich.

Michael Nettersheim studied Chemistry at the University of Bonn, where he was awarded a doctorate in Biochemistry. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Kellogg-WHU Executive MBA Program. In addition, he has been a Certified Biotech Analyst for the German Association of Financial Analysis and Asset Management (DVFA) since 2001.

Isabella Plimon (Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Austria)


Isabella Plimon is the Head of Department for Innovative Technologies and Bioeconomy at the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action. The  department is working on funding programs for eco-friendly investments  and the implementation of the Bioeconomy in Austria. She also represents Austria in the Innovation Fund Expert Group, the Strategic Energy  Technology Plan (SET-Plan) and the Horizon 2020 Energy Program  Committee. Before joining the department, Isabella worked as an Advisor
for international energy and environmental affairs to the  Vice-Chancellor of Austria. Isabella has also represented Austrian  businesses on a national, EU and international level focusing on energy  and climate policy for several years. Isabella holds degrees from  Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien and Technische Universität Berlin.

Kirsi Seppäläinen, Stora Enso (Sweden)


Kirsi Seppäläinen is Vice President, Marketing, competitive intelligence and product management Stora Enso, Biomaterials division since January 2019. Her main responsibilities include marketing, branding, market and business intelligence, product strategy and product management. She has worked for Stora Enso since 2011, having earlier had managerial positions in strategy, communications, marketing and sustainability. She has been a member of the Biomaterials division management team since the division was formed in 2012.
Prior to joining Stora Enso she held many communications, marketing and sustainability positions with several global companies.

Topic of Presentation: What a tree can do – innovation and fashion from forests

Michael Tesch, Clariant (Switzerland)

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Michael is the Country Head  of  the Swiss specialty chemicals company Clariant in Italy. He has a University Degree in Economics. Before joining Clariant he held various senior finance positions in the Chemistry, Pharma and Service industry.

Mariagiovanna Vetere, NatureWorks (USA)


As NatureWorks Global Public Affairs Director, Mariagiovanna represents the company on public and legislative affairs.  Her responsibilities include Government relations, product Circular Economy options, feedstock and biomass sustainability aspects, bioeconomy and interface with relevant industry associations and external stakeholders. Mariagiovanna manages an extensive network and relationships with the Plastics industry associations, Brand Owners associations and NGOs; she has practical experience in how the legislative process is implemented both in EU and USA.

Mariagiovanna brings a strong background well suited to this space, having spent 10 years at Corepla, the Italian consortium for Plastics Packaging Collection, Recycling and Recovery.

Her previous experience is with consulting company KPMG where she was focused on Business Process Reengineering. Mariagiovanna holds a master’s degree in economics.

Niklas von Weymarn, Metsä Spring (Finland)


Niklas has a Doctor of Science degree in biotechnology from Aalto University in Finland. He has also studied economics and innovation strategies. His job career begun in 1999, when he took on the position ofResearch Scientist at Cultor Technology Center (today DuPont). He has since hold the positions of Project Manager, Team Leader, Program Manager, Technology Manager and Vice President for Research at Aalto University, VTT, CLIC Innovation Ltd and Metsä Fibre Ltd, respectively. He is currently CEO of Metsä Spring Ltd, the venture capital arm of Metsä Group. Niklas is currently also a Board member of the Biobased Industries Consortium, the private partner of the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking, and of the startup Woodio Ltd.

Eleni Zika, European Research Council

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Eleni Zika is an adviser to the President of the European Research Council (ERC) and an active promoter of the development of a sustainable circular bioeconomy in Europe. Dr. Zika has more than 15 years’ experience in research and programme management as well as in science and technology policy focusing particularly on the socioeconomic impact of innovation. She was the first Head of Programme of the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), a 3.7 billion Euros partnership between the EU and the industry, aiming to sustainably convert biological residues and waste into greener products for various applications in different sectors. Previously, she served as Head of Sector for Fundamental Life Sciences at the European Research Council (ERC), overseeing funding operations in the domain of health. Before joining the EU institutions, Dr. Zika was responsible for the strategy and implementation of International Policy at the UK Medical Research Council. She is a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow of the US National Academies, and holds a PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA.