Confirmed speakers (in alphabetical order):


Rafael Cayuela, Dow (Switzerland)


At Dow, Rafael is responsible for defining and accelerating the EMEAl Sustainable,
Digital & Growth Transformation Strategy.
Externally, he is the Chair of CEFIC (European Chemical Industry Association) Mid
Century Vision – Molecules Manager, while also serving on the International Advisory
Board of the World Energy Council, FT Manufacturing Advisory Board and being the
Chair of the Industry Advisory Panel of the Energy Charter Treaty.
Rafael is an economist with over 20 years of experience within the chemical industry. He holds a master’s degree in Economics from the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium, and an MBA from Northwood University in Michigan. He also completed his executive
education at the University of Chicago (Executive MBA), the University of Oxford on
Blockchain and Singularity University on Exponential & Disruptive Technologies.
Rafael is also the author of the Book “The Chemical Industry by 2050” and currently
working on his new book “The Chemical Industry under the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Molecules vs. Qubits”

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.

Jennifer Holmgren, LanzaTech (USA)


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.

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.

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).

Michael Nettersheim (European Circular Bioeconomy Fund)

03 Foto_R_color-01

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.

Ana Pego, Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal)


Ana Pego holds a PhD in Geography and Spatial Planning, an MBA and a BSC in Economics. She is an integrated researcher at CICS Nova (Center of Research in Social Science) ,  and focuses her research on the circular economy, offshore energy, smart cities and tourism. She has authored several articles on offshore energy clusters, tourism and the circular economy. She is also part of COST (European Cooperation on Science and Technology) in Writing Urban Places. New Narratives of the European City (Writingplace) and coordinator in several European projects and Erasmus.
She also collaborates with the Open University in macroeconomics and business administration courses.

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).

Eleni Zika, European Research Council

Eleni ZIKA_profile photo

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.