Confirmed speakers (in alphabetical order):


Gabriele Costa, Lamberti (Italy)

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Gabriele is Global Product Manager Bio Resins & Additives at Lamberti, a science driven company and producer of chemical specialties founded in 1911. Chemical Engineer graduated at Politecnico di Milano, he joined Lamberti about 20 years ago. He worked in several functions in Lamberti before taking the lead as global product manager: Business Unit director with global responsibility for textile coating finishing and synthetic materials; Business Development Manager for Asia Pacific region, living in Shanghai developing new businesses opportunity for synthetic polymers; R&D and Technical direction of Polyurethane Technology. Gabriele is also Inventor of several patents for Lamberti.

Esther Gabor, BRAIN AG (Germany)


Esther Gabor, Technical Business Development Manager at BRAIN Biotech, Germany. Degree in Biotechnologie at Ecole Supérieur de Biotechnologie de Strasbourg (ESBS, France), PhD in enzyme biochemstry (University of Groningen, The Netherlands), Technical Service Manager at Qiagen, Project Manager Enzyme Discovery / Metagenomics at BRAIN, Program Manager Green & Urban Mining at BRAIN.

Esther has many years of experience in enzyme technology and biocatalysis. In addition, she has developed into an expert in biotechnological recycling in over ten years and is very familiar with the topic of circular economy. The practical implementation of the “Green Deal” and the alignment of customer processes in line with the UN Sustainability Goals are of particular concern to her. “Sustainability is not a buzzword for me, but a personal challenge. It requires rethinking and openness to new technologies. I like both.”

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, Novamont (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.

Matti Heikkilä, MetGen (Finland)


Matti has a Biotech Engineering degree and an MBA with 18 years of experience in bio-based industries, starting with Genencor/DuPont where he was leading a global engineering team responsible for the development of the Industrial Bioscience Division’s process technologies and competencies. During his career, he has had various international leadership roles and organizational development responsibilities. During his 10 years at MetGen, he has been responsible for manufacturing, the development of technologies and new business as well as, marketing, and financing. In 2018 he was awarded the CTO of the Year title in Finland. In his subsequent role as a COO he has driven innovation and growth of the company as a part of the external ecosystem: He aims to strengthen the organization and internal competencies and build external value-chains and partnerships to drive innovation. As an international networker, Matti has always been driven to innovation, radical rather than incremental. Matti strongly believes in the power of open innovation to drive change in the bio-based and chemical industries. With this mindset, he has successfully created, developed, scaled up, and commercialized several new bio-industry technologies. He can create a comprehensive vision and communicate the executable strategy to the stakeholders throughout the value chain. Matti has successfully led MetGen and consortiums of companies to be a part of numerous commercial joint ventures, R&D projects, capital investment projects, and 13 European Horizon2020 projects. This collaborative action has provided the participating companies with private and public funding to drive the new technologies quickly through technology readiness levels to industrial and commercial maturity.




Alex Holst, The Good Food Institute Europe


Alex Holst is a Senior Policy Manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, where he works with public authorities, food safety experts and businesses to secure a clear and evidence-based regulatory path to market for plant-based and cultivated meat.


Originally from Germany, he is based in Brussels, Belgium, and has a background working on climate change, international development, and EU policy advocacy.

Manfred Kircher, (Kadib and CLIB, Germany)


Based on more than 30 years experience in chemical industry and bioeconomy Manfred Kircher works on regional as well as international bioeconomy strategies. His career milestones are biotechnological research and development (Degussa AG, Germany), production (delegated to Fermas s.r.o.; Slovakia), venture capital (delegated to Burrill & Company; USA) and biotechnology partnering and branding (Evonik Industries AG; Germany). Delegated by Evonik he chaired till 2012 the Board of the Cluster Industrial Biotechnology (CLIB2021 e.V.; Germany) and developed this association of German and international industries, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), academia and investors to an recognized  organisation for unfolding bioeconomical value chains. In 2014 he founded KADIB, a consultancy fo bioeconomy. Manfred Kircher has been certified as a bio-economy expert by the EU-Commission. He is biologist by training (Goethe-University; Frankfurt, Germany).

Thorsten Lange, Neste (Finland)


Thorsten Lange has been the Executive Vice President of Neste Corporation’s Renewable Aviation business unit and member of the Executive Committee since January 2020. Before joining the company, he worked at Lufthansa for two decades in various roles, most recently as the head of Fuel Procurement (global). He has also had various positions in the oil sector. Thorsten Lange is a member of the IATA Fuel Steering Group. Previously he has also been the Chairman of the IATA Commercial Fuel group, a member of the IATA Fuel Working Group as well as a member of the Star Alliance Fuel Advisory Group.

Fabio Magrassi, Stam (Italy)


Fabio has 8 years of experience in the field of circular economy, life cycle analysis and strategies for reducing environmental impact. He has several publications in international journals for research related to the impacts of large organisations and events. At STAM, he is involved in projects and consultancy in the fields of environmental sustainability, circular economy and is the manager of the European Green Deal project FRONTSH1P aimed at demonstrating systemic solutions for the territorial dissemination of the circular economy on a regional and city scale.

Massimo Nava, Ayming Italy (Italy)


Massimo Nava is the Managing Director of Ayming Italia. Ayming is a leading global management consultancy firm, present in 14 countries across Europe and North America, which brings people, knowledge and innovation together to deliver better Sustainable Business Performance to our clients by giving advice on critical issues and opportunities supported by two major pillars: Innovation Management and Employee Commitment.

 Massimo has an extensive professional experience working across the EMEA and APAC regions in Team Management and Sales roles, within service and consultancy sectors, excelling at improving company organizations and related performances.

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.


Babette Pettersen, LanzaTech (USA)

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Babette PETTERSEN is VP Europe for LanzaTech, a pioneer in carbon capture technology that turns waste streams into ethanol that can be used for fuels and chemicals. Before joining LanzaTech, Babette was Director of Business Development at Ginkgo Bioworks, an early-stage leader in synthetic biology. Prior to that, she had been Chief Business Development Officer at Capricorn Venture Partners, Chief Commercial Officer at BioAmber, and VP New Business Development for Performance Materials at Royal DSM. Previously, Babette had held marketing and new business development roles in different industry groups at Dow Corning for over 20 years.
Babette has a BSc in Biology from Wellesley College, USA, and an MBA from INSEAD, France. She is currently based in Brussels.

James Philp, OECD

Peep Pitk, Fibenol (Estonia)

Foto - Jake Farra

Virginia Puzzolo, CBE JU


Virginia holds a PhD in plant ecology and biology, and started my career at the European Commission in 2004 as a researcher in the Joint Research Center (JRC). In 2006, she was first seconded to DG ‘Enterprise and Industry’, where she actively contributed to the development of the European Union’s Earth Observation Program: Copernicus. Then, in 2009, she moved to the Research Executive Agency (REA) where she was responsible for the execution of part of the FP7 and Horizon2020 Research Framework Programmes. For 20 years, she has been working in developing and implementing the EU Research and Innovation policies and since September 2020, she is the Head of Programme in the Circular Bio-Based Europe Joint Undertaking (previously BBI JU).

Laurie Rey, Toulouse White Biotechnology (France)

Laurie Rey

Laurie Rey is Business and Partnership Director at TWB, a French public / private industrial biotechnology organization that transitions early stage R&D from academic labs into preindustrial development projects and start-ups (€9M revenues per year on average). TWB activities range from catalyst development (enzyme and microorganisms) to pre-industrial process (development and optimization, scale-up). Laurie has 16 year experience in Life Sciences. She spent 7 years at Alcimed, a company that helps organizations in innovation and development of new markets as project manager and business developer. She focused in particular on life sciences industries to support development of TOP 10 pharma companies and numerous start-up. She holds a PhD in molecular biology from Toulouse University in France.

Roberto Russo, Ciaotech (Italy)


Project Manager and experienced consultant on management, evaluation and implementation of large European research projects. In the last 10 years Roberto has been working as a Senior Manager Consultant for enterprises and research entities mainly through subsided financing by EU (FP7, H2020, LIFE, Horizon Europe) and national funds. He has worked in research European projects FP7, Coordinating and support Actions (LightJumps, R4R, and others) as well as LIFE projects (CAT4HEAVY, C4R, and others) and business projects (SME-I and FTI). He has gained a large expertise on management and realisation of the feasibility studies and business plans. He is also involved in Systematic Innovation activities based on TRIZ and House of Quality methods. Roberto has recently finalised his work within one of the largest EU projects on bioeconomy, e.g. Databio, aimed to exploit big data for vertical applications in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery.

George Sakellaris, Biocon (Czech Republic)

George Sakellaris works in the Academy of Sciences in Czech Republic. He is also a board member at the BioEast Bioeconomy Hub in Czech Republic. He is Biochemist by training and his domain of expertise is Bioeconomy and the sustainable implementation of this technology for development and growth in a wide spectrum of sectors particularly Regional development Entrepreneurship and Education.

IN parallel, he is the vice chair of the European ICA-CoP Bioeconomy Education and active in the BioEast platform on Bioeconomy, being a member of the Advisory Council and head of the Thematic Working Group on Bioeconomy Education.

He is currently involved in eight ongoing EC funded projects on Bioeconomy.

In the past he has participated as elected and/or ad-hoc expert in numerous committees and Task Groups such as the committee of the European Parliament on Biosafety, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the International Council of Biotechnology Associations (ICBA), The International Public Research and Regulation Initiative (PRRI), The All European Academies (ALLEA), the European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB). He has also been a consultant on National level in Greece and in Czech Republic.

He has participated n over 30 Research funded consortia and projects as a partner or coordinator. He has also contributed in more than 200 International events worldwide.

Mariagiovanna Vetere, NatureWorks (USA)


Michele Viglianisi, Eni (Italy)


Michele Viglianisi is currently Head of BIO Refining & Supply in Eni. He joined Eni in 1994 and since then he has been active in engineering and technical activities in the field of refinery. He held different roles always increasing his responsibilities, till managing several Eni refineries (Venice, Taranto e Sannazzaro).

During his experience as Head of Venice biorefinery, he had the opportunity take part in the first conversion of the world from traditional refinery assets to biorefinery, leading people to face an important professional and cultural transformation.

In the current role he supervises Eni biorefineries (Gela and Venice) and identifies new initiatives for feedstock diversification, for bio-fuels and sustainable mobility development. Moreover, in conjunction with other teams involved, he outlines the Eni GTR&M circular economy positioning, based on the Eni strategy.


Hasso von Pogrell, European Bioplastics (Germany)


Hasso von Pogrell is Managing Director of European Bioplastics since March 2009.

Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 1964, Mr. von Pogrell spent most of his childhood and adolescence in Portugal and the United States. Upon completion of his education in Germany, and a two your term of military services, he studied Economics at the University of Cologne where he graduated in1994. He began his carrier as a lobbyist in 1995, when he joined the Germany Industry Association for Optical, Medical and Mechatronical Technologies, where he showed responsible for public relations and economics. After a two-year stint as General Manager at the Federal Association of the German Medium and Large Retail Enterprises, he returned to the industry sector again. As Head of Department for Foreign Affairs at the Association of the German Construction Industry and Assistant Director of the European International Contractors (EIC), he served the construction industry for seven years from 2000 to 2007, before steering the affairs of the Association of the German Sawmill Association as its Managing Director between 2007 and 2009. Hasso von Pogrell is married and has four children.

Eleni Zika, European Research Council

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Eleni Zika is a strategic adviser at the European Research Council (ERC) and an active promoter of the development of a sustainable circular bioeconomy in Europe. Over the last 20 years, Dr. Zika has been engaged in science policy and strategy development, focusing particularly on research and innovation. Her areas of interest include sustainability and biotech, in addition to personalised medicine and public health. 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. She has previously served as Head of Sector for Fundamental Life Sciences at the ERC overseeing funding operations in the domain of health. Before joining the EU institutions, Dr. Zika was responsible for 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.