Confirmed speakers (in alphabetical order):

Mercedes Alonso, NESTE (Finland)


Executive Vice President, Renewable Polymers and Chemicals business unit at Neste Corporation. M.Sc. (Chem). Member of the Executive Committee at Neste since joining the company in September 2019. Previously served as Marketing Director Advanced 

Polymer Solutions Europe in LyondellBasell (2019), Managing Director Eng. Composites Europe 2016–2019, and Global Director Corporate Marketing in A.Schulman Inc. 2013–2016, as well as Business Excellence Leader, Advanced Materials (2010-2013), and several commercial roles in the Specialty Chemicals and Elastomer business units at Dow Chemical (Europe) 1991–2013.

Judit Anda, Junta de Andalucia (Spain)


Judit Anda is an Agronomy Engineer from the University of Cordoba in Spain. Master in Rural Development and Agri-Food Business Management and Master in Environmental Impact Assessment.

Currently she is a Technical Advisor in the General Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock and Food at the Andalusian Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development.

She has held positions of high responsibility for the Regional Government of Andalusia, where she has been in charge of the development of public policies related to the agri-food sector, animal security, food quality policies among others.

From 2013 she is in charge of the coordination of the Andalusian Circular Bioeconomy Strategy following the project Model Demonstrator Region in the Sustainable Chemical Industry and the S3 Platform Agri-food on Traceability and Big Data at European level participating also in several EU projects and initiatives. 

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.


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.

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.

Patrizia Circelli, CiaoTech (Italy)


Innovation management Consultant, contact person in Italy in the field of chemistry and biotech. Master and bachelor’s degree in genomic biotechnology at the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. PhD in plant biotechnology at the University of Viterbo “La Tuscia”. The PhD work focused on the development of vaccine strategies, aimed at using plants as bioreactors for the production of vaccine antigens and to develop innovative strategies for the delivery of vaccines and therapeutic molecules. More than 10 years’ experience in Research and Innovation EU Projects, including experience on LIFE+ programme, FP7 and others H2020 programmes. Since 2011, she has been involved in supporting International Organisations, Research Centres and companies in writing and developing high-quality FP7, LIFE, H2020, proposals and in fully exploiting their R&D potential.

Apart the support in proposal writing and development, she also took part in several projects, to lead dissemination and exploitation activities, ensuring the project impact among relevant stakeholders, assuring alignment and smooth flows of information and providing close integration with Europe’s research and innovation programmes, platforms and organisations, the projects are reported in the following:  GLAMOUR, BIOBESTicide, FARMŸNG, BIOPEN, KaRMA2020, DEMETER, Indus3Es, BIO-TIC BIOMIMETIC, BIOCHEM.

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.

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.

Dario Giordano, Versalis-ENI (Italy)


Dario Giordano is Green Chemistry Licensing Manager at Versalis, the chemical
company of Italian energy giant Eni.
After graduation, in 1990 Dario joined Mossi and Ghisolfi (M&G) Group where he has
served taking over various responsibilities ranging from R&D Management to IP
Management, including the position of VP of R&D and Technology and member of the
Executive Committee of M&G Group.
In April 2015 Dario was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Beta Renewables S.p.A,
leading the licensing activities of proprietary technology (PROESA ®) for the production
of second generation ethanol and conversion processes of biomass to sugar.
Following Versalis’s acquisition of the M&G bio-run activities on November 1st 2018,
Dario joined Versalis and took over the chemistry from renewables licensing activities.
Dario Giordano holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Turin Polytechnic.

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.

Ybele Hoogeveen, European Enviromental Agency (EEA)


Expert Climate Change and Bioeconomy

Programme Climate Change, Energy and Transport

European Environment Agency

Animal ecologist by training (University of Groningen, 1985). Employed until 2001 by the Dutch Sportsmen’s Association, the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and Alterra, as game biologist, senior policy maker and policy analyst, respectively. Since 2001 working for the European Environment Agency, focusing on biodiversity & agriculture, material flows & resource efficiency, forward-looking studies and integrated environmental assessment; from 2012 until 2018 as head of the Green Economy Group. Currently working as expert Climate Change and Bioeconomy in the Climate, Energy and Transport programme. Co-author of e.g. the 2018 report ‘Bioeconomy and circular economy – Partners in sustainability’ and the Synthesis Report of the European Environment, State and Outlook (SOER) 2015.

Giulia Gregori, Mater Biopolymer (Italy)


Dr Giulia Gregori works in Novamont as Director of Strategic Planning & Corporate Communication. Novamont is a global market leader in bioplastics and in the development of biochemicals. Giulia Gregori entered in Novamont in September 2000, after graduating in Pure Chemistry with a specialization in Bioinorganic from the University of Milan, in collaboration with Leiden University. Within Novamont, she is responsible for Strategic R&D and Researcher Training Projects and Corporate Communication, and undertaking also external relationships with Public and Private Funding Institutions. She has been a member of several Associations and she is member of Biobased Industries Governing Board, as well as member of the Steering committee of Assobiotec (the Italian Association for the Development of Biotechnology),member of the board of directors of Enne3 – Incubatore di impresa Novara, and member of the board of directors of Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale “Amedeo Avogadro”. She has been Secretary of the Italian Cluster SPRING (Sustainable Processes and Resources for Innovation and National Growth) which involves over 100 associated members (companies, public research entities, RTOs, associations) and 11 Italian regions, as well as supporter territories, which aims to trigger further investments and create a common platform in the field of bioeconomy at Italian level.

Dr Giulia Gregori is also member of the National Coordination Group for the Bioeconomy, that worked on the updated draft of the Strategy “Bioeconomy in Italy – BIT II” (2019) and that will contribute to ease and monitor its implementation all over the Country.

Rossella Illiano, Ayming (Italy)


Rossella Illiano, Ayming’s Innovation Manager since 2019, is a management engineer with 8 years of experience in R&D and Innovation Management, Collaborative Research, Tax Incentives, Grants e Project Management. She specializes in various fields including bioeconomy, agri-food, health, biotechnology, smart cities and life sciences. Rossella has made it a professional mission of hers to support start-ups in their growth. In particular, she has done so by founding a non-profit that helps young people realize their business ideas.

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.

Jukka Kantola, World Circular Bioeconomy Forum


Mr. Jukka Kantola has broad experience of the woody biomass related industries. He has held various executive positions in Europe and in Asia. Hence, he has a profound understanding of the challenges and opportunities of these economies. Jukka is well-known in the bioeconomy sector and passionate to advocate circular bioeconomy.

Jukka established NC Partnering, a novel bio-consulting company focusing on the versatile valorisation of woody biomass for innovative applications. He and his company have played an active role in advocating the bioeconomy in practice. During past years NC Partnering has been involved in facilitating new biorefinery ventures, a relatively new phenomenon in the forest industry. He is also a founder and Chairman of World BioEconomy Forum.

Jukka holds a Master of Science degree from Aalto University, Finland. He also holds an eMBA from Rutgers University. Jukka is married with three sons.




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”.

Daniel MacEachran, Braskem (Brazil)

daniel braskem

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.

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.

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.

Christophe Rupp-Dahlem, Roquette (France) and Starch Europe


In 1990 Christophe Rupp-Dahlem joined Roquette at its global headquarter in Lestrem, Northern France. At Roquette he has held a number of technical support, marketing, innovation and business positions. As Programs Vice-President, he managed the innovative programs related to the plant-based materials.

In 2008, the European Commission appointed Christophe Rupp-Dahlem as an expert in the ad-hoc advisory group for Bio-Based Products and later as an expert of the European Bioeconomy panel.

Between May 2008 and June 2016, Christophe Rupp-Dahlem was President of the Plant Based Chemistry Association (ACDV) in France. He has led the Public Affairs activities for Roquette worldwide since end of 2015 to support the Nutrition and Health strategy of the Group.

Since early 2020, Christophe Rupp-Dahlem has been President of Starch Europe, President of the French Bioeconomy Commission (FranceAgriMer), Senior Vice-President of the competitiveness cluster IAR, the French Bioeconomy cluster, and Vice-President of Protéines France.

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.

Simao Soares, SilicoLife (Portugal)


Simão Soares is CEO and co-founder of SilicoLife, a company combining AI and biology for the design of cell factories and novel pathways for the sustainable production of chemicals. MSc Bioinformatics (UMinho), postgraduate in management from NOVA School of Business and Economics and trained in Blue Ocean Strategy at INSEAD. He is also President of P-BIO, Portuguese Bioindustry Association, a Global Shaper Alumni, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, and a Climate Reality Leader.

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.