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Speaker Biographies

Full speaker biographies will appear here shortly, please check back regularly for updates.


Robert Madelin

Robert Madelin

Senior Innovation Adviser, European Political Strategy Centre


Robert is since September 2015, the European Commission’s first ever Chief Innovation Adviser (CINNA).

Born in 1957, Robert was educated in England at the Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe and at Magdalen College, Oxford. He has also studied at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration in Paris.

A public servant since 1979 in London, Robert has served in the Commission since 1993, and at DG Level since 2004.

Since his initial baptism of fire concluding the GATT Uruguay Round of trade liberalisation in the Cabinet of Vice President Leon Brittan, Robert has led Commission work on investment, Asia-Pacific trade, services and biotech in DG Trade, followed by health, food safety, agricultural innovation and consumer protection (2004-2010) and digital innovation, Internet governance, telecoms unions and media policy (2010-2015).

Stephen  Quest

Stephen Quest

Director-General, DG DIGIT, European Commission


Stephen Quest is the Director-General of the Directorate General for Informatics (DIGIT) since March 2013. Based in Luxembourg and Brussels, DIGIT provides solutions and services for the digital workplace, corporate and policy information systems and the underling ICT infrastructure for over 33.000 staff in the European Commission. DIGIT employs around 500 full time staff and over 1000 external contractors. DIGIT's ambition is to look "beyond IT" and ensure that value is added to the organisation as a whole and that a closer link between business and IT contributes to internal rationalisations, simplifications and savings.

Stephen Quest joined the European Commission in September 1993. Since then he has held a number of positions, including Director of the Office for the Administration and Payment of Individual Entitlement, Head of Cabinet of Commissioners for Financial Programming and Budget D. Grybauskaité (2004-2009) and Commissioner A. Šemeta (2009-2010), Member of Cabinet M. Wallström, the Commissioner for Environment and Member of Cabinet P. Flynn, the Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs.

Prior to joining the European Commission, Stephen Quest worked for the UK Department of Employment and the UK Permanent Representation to the European Union.

He graduated in 1986 from the University of York, obtaining a degree in History.

Eric Van Bael

Eric Van Bael

Vice President, Commercial & Public Sector EMEA, Hewlett-Packard Company


As Vice President for EMEA's Commercial & Public Sector, Eric is responsible for defining as well as executing the overall growth strategy across HP’s product & services portfolio for this market segment.

Eric started his career at KBC Bank in the financial sector, then quickly moved into Information Technology as one of the first employees to join EDS Europe where he held a number of international management positions in Belgium, the UK and Germany. After moving back to Belgium, Eric formed a consortium with Proximus which won (and still runs) the largest IT outsourcing deal in the country for the Flemish Government. Eric subsequently became the Managing Director of EDS Belgium and when HP acquired EDS in 2008, he was asked to oversee the integration of their newly formed HP Services Unit. Upon completion of this successful integration, he became the Managing Director of HP Belgium & Luxembourg.

Since 2014 Eric is Vice President for HP's Commercial and Public Sector in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Specialities: Management of large & complex transformation programs, commercial and union negotiations, government interaction, strategic business planning and sales management.

Michał Boni

Michał Boni

MEP, European Parliament


Born in 1954 in Poznan, he is a graduate of the University of Warsaw where he lectured in the Department of Polish Culture for many years. He has been involved in the ‘Solidarity’ underground movement since 1980. He has been a member of the national authorities of ‘Solidarity’ since 1989 and in 1990, became Chairman of the Mazowsze Region Management Board.

He was the Minister of Labour and Social Policy in 1991 and from 1992 to 1993, he held the position of Secretary of State in the same ministry where he was responsible, inter alia, for labour market policy. From 1998 to 2001, he was the Chief Advisor to the Minister of Labour and Social Policy. He was the Head of Strategic Advisors to the Prime Minister Donald Tusk from 2008 and Minister of Administration and Digitisation of Poland from 2011 till 2013.

MEP since 2014.

Paul Timmers

Paul Timmers

Director of the Sustainable & Secure Society Directorate, DG CONNECT, European Commission


Paul Timmers is Director of the Sustainable & Secure Society Directorate in the European Commission Communications Networks, Content and Technologies Directorate General (DG CONNECT). Previously he headed the ICT for Inclusion and the eGovernment units. He was also member of the Cabinet of the European Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society.

Before joining the European Commission, he was a manager in product marketing and software development in a large IT company. He also co-founded a software start-up. He holds a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands and a MBA from Warwick Business School, UK. He has widely published in the field of technology and policy, including a book on electronic commerce strategies and business models. He was a visiting professor and lecturer at several universities and business schools across the world including an EU Research Fellow at the University of North Carolina in the USA.

Geert Mareels

Geert Mareels

Head of e-Government, Flemish Government


Geert Mareels, born in 1962, holds master degrees in Administrative Management and in Political Science. He was chief of staff to 3 different ministers from 1995 till 2004. Since 1 October 2004 he lead CORVE, the eGovernment service of the Flemish Region in Belgium. They built the “MAGDA” platform for sharing data across all government agencies on the Flemish and city level and with Federal data. Since April 1st Corve is now part of Information Flanders, the new agency that will run the entire programme of Digitizing Flanders.

He is also a member of the Flemish Privacy Commission. He is project coordinator of two EU projects: “Citadel on the Move” that aims to facilitate the use of Mobile apps by all municipalities, and “Open TransportNet” that focuses on making GI Data more accessible and useable for business innovators and public sector stakeholders alike.

In his spare time he wrote a novel and is member of the board of editors of a magazine on political and social topics.

Tomas Jakimavicius

Tomas Jakimavicius

Senior Policy Manager, GSMA


Tomas Jakimavicius is a Senior Policy Manager at the GSMA. He is working on government and regulatory affairs in the area of personal data, where he focuses on global regulatory and policy developments that affect mobile identity services.

He has worked in the technology industry for ten years in a variety of roles in IT development, innovation, business and regulatory policy in the telecoms, digital and Internet sectors.

During his years at the Council of the European Union he worked as a telecommunications counsellor representing Lithuania as the lead negotiator on telecoms and digital policy issues. He has also managed the EU Council’s Presidency and was a chairman of the EU Council “Telecommunications and Information Society” working group - the group of the 28 EU Member States’ representatives that negotiates EU laws in the telecoms and digital policy areas before national ministers approve them.

Tomas is an informatics graduate from the Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania. He also holds an MSc degree in Enterprise Information Systems from University of Westminster in the UK and an MSc degree in Leadership from Boston University in the USA.

Petra Schaper-Rinkel

Petra Schaper-Rinkel

Senior Scientist, Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT)


Petra Schaper-Rinkel has been a Senior Scientist at the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) since 2009, where she drives principally EU projects on science, technology and innovation policy and foresight. Prior to joining AIT, she was a senior lecturer at the Technical University of Berlin and a project manager at Freie Universität Berlin for five years. She earned her doctoral degree in 2003 from the Department of Political Sciences at Freie Universität Berlin, writing on the interrelationship between European integration and networks of governance of science, technology and innovation on the European level. In addition to holding research positions and lecturer positions at Humboldt University, Freie Universität Berlin, Technical University of Berlin and the University of Innsbruck, she also designed and managed governmental programs to support microsystems and other technologies at VDI/VDE-IT, a project management organization commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Her current areas of research include innovation, science and technology studies (STS), the political implications of emerging technologies, technology assessment, foresight methods and methods of foresight & forward looking activities. Other broader research interests include governance theories, governmentality, the political economy of emerging technologies, and the history of future thinking.

Alessandra Sbordoni

Alessandra Sbordoni

Policy Officer, Task Force - eIDAS legislation team, European Commission


Alessandra Sbordoni joined the European Commission in 2007 as policy officer in the Communication Technology and Content Directorate-General. Since 2012 she has been a member of the eIDAS Task Force in charge of the eIDAS regulation on "electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market" which aims at delivering a predictable regulatory environment for electronic identification and trust services to boost user convenience, trust and confidence in the digital world. Beside the legislative activity, she follows targeted policy, standardisation and communication activities at EU and international level to create a positive understanding for the acceptance and wide uptake of the new legislative framework.

Gerrard Abi-Aad

Gerrard Abi-Aad

Head of Health Intelligence, Kent County Council


Gerrard's career spans 25 years working at local, national and international levels.

Prior to leading the health intelligence function at Kent County Council, he worked as a health policy analyst at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) where he specialised in the development of health care quality indicators and health system quality surveillance.

He has contributed to health system reviews in South Korea and Israel, with a special focus on the contribution of primary care to health gain and reduction in health disparities.

Prior to joining the OECD, Gerrard worked for the UK national regulator for health and social care where he led the research and development function for quality assessment in primary care. He was also a researcher at the King's Fund, examining the progress of evidence based practice implementation in the early 1990's.

Gerrard was educated at the University of Warwick where he studied applied statistics and health information science.

Panagiotis Tsarchopoulos

Panagiotis Tsarchopoulos

Senior Researcher in URENIO Research Unit; Teaching Fellow in Media Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki on behalf of STORM CLOUDS


Panagiotis Tsarchopoulos is a Senior Researcher in URENIO Research Unit and a Teaching Fellow in Media Informatics Lab of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He holds a Diploma in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a PhD in Urban and Spatial Planning, both from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. His current research emphasis and expertise is on Smart/Intelligent Cities Design and Development. In particular, he deals with: intelligent city strategies and applications; planning for intelligent sectors and districts; web platforms for collective intelligence, technology transfer, collaborative new product development, digital marketplaces; smart innovation ecosystems; user-driven innovation ecosystems; living labs and future Internet technologies. He collaborates with Municipality of Thessaloniki on extending its digital services in the fields of smart governance and innovation economy.


Jeremy Millard

Jeremy Millard

Senior Policy Advisor, Danish Technological Institute


Jeremy Millard, Senior Policy Advisor, Danish Technological Institute, Senior Research Fellow at Brunel University (London) and Director of the non-profit consultancy Third Millennium Governance, has forty years’ global experience working with governments, development agencies, and private and civil sectors in all parts of the world. In the last twenty years he has focused on how new technical and organisational innovations transform government and the public sector. Recent assignments for the European Commission include studies on administrative burden reduction and on developing business models for ICT and ageing. He also recently led the interim impact assessment of the European eGovernment Action Plan 2005-2010, led a large-scale Europe-wide survey and analysis of eParticipation, and developed the eGovernment 2020 Vision Study on Future Directions of Public Service Delivery. He has worked on the European eGovernment annual benchmark since 2009, has assisted the EC in planning their research programme for ICT for Governance and Policy Modelling between 2008-2012, and then in designing inputs to the Horizon 2020 research work programme 2014-2015 on ICT-enabled public sector innovation. He is currently acting as rapporteur for the EC’s Advisory Group providing inputs to the H2020 work programme for 2016-17 including on public governance and new economic models, and is a member of the EC’s Digital Entrepreneurship Forum. From 2012-2014, Jeremy coordinated the large FP7 research project, Tepsie, on social innovation and led its extensive work on the use of digital technologies by social innovators.

Jeremy has also worked since 2008 as an expert for the UN on their successive global eGovernment development surveys, and has undertaken work adapted from the UN approach in Oman, Georgia, China and Russia. He also provided inputs to the UN’s debate on the post-2015 development agenda in relation to e-governance and public sector innovation issues and how these can be measured, and to the World Bank on digital public sector services. He is currently preparing a report for the UN on innovative public service delivery for supporting sustainable development. He recently led a Western Balkans Comparative eGovernment Study, as well as a survey for the OECD on back-office developments in support of user-centred eGovernment strategies. In the Gulf, he assists Oman develop their eGovernment services, prepared an eGovernment strategy for the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, and has supported the development of the Bahraini eGovernment strategy. Currently he is undertaking a study for the United Nations in Western Asia on integrated service delivery across the Arab Region. He also provides eGovernment support services in India, Malaysia and Brunei.

Paul Adamson

Paul Adamson

Chairman, Forum Europe


Paul Adamson joined Forum Europe as Partner and Chairman in 2014, bringing with him an unrivalled experience and in-depth knowledge of EU affairs spanning more than 30 years.

Paul works with the team on content, business development and strategy both through Forum Europe and the company's international subsidiary, Forum Global.

In addition to his role at Forum Europe, Paul is editor-in-chief and founding publisher of E!Sharp, an online magazine dedicated to covering the European Union and Europe's place in the world. He is also a Senior European Policy Advisor at Covington & Burling.

Paul is a member of Rand Europe's Council of Advisors and sits on the advisory board of YouGov-Cambridge, a polling think-tank. In addition, he is a member of the advisory group of the Washington European Society, the American Security Project, and British Influence - an organisation that promotes the UK's role in the European Union.

Paul is a patron of the University Association of Contemporary European Studies (UACES), a Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences, and a trustee of the Citizenship Foundation.

He founded the consulting firm Adamson Associates, which was sold to Weber Shandwick and The Centre, which was later sold to Edelman.

In 2012, Paul was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) "for services to promoting understanding of the European Union”, a part of the Queen's 2012 New Year Honours Diplomatic Service and Overseas List.



Tue 22 September, 2015 09.00 to
Wed 30 September, 2015 17.00




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