Luca Dalla Valle

Business Partner Coordinator

Inspiralia USA

Luca Dalla Valle will be giving out his best tips to be successful in the SBIR programme. With his team, at Inspiralia, they have helped their customers to obtain SBIR non-dilutive funding from several US Federal Agencies (AFWERX, NSF, NIH and others) in many different sectors like advanced materials, robotics, biomedical and biological technologies, AI and more. Stay tuned to know more! Luca has 5 year experience in research and innovation programme for Small Business and he covered multiple position within the industry, from proposal writer; proposal editor with a background in Engineering – Electronic and Telecommunication; team coordinator and now business partner manager.

Keynote: SBIR·STTR – American’s seed funding


Andrea F. Degen Iseli

Due to the short term cases of disease in the team of Science Europe Andrea Degen will present the National Research Funding Organisations (RFO). She founded the Research & Innovation Management Agency in 2006 after she worked at EUresearch Switzerland, the information network of Swiss National Contact Points (NCP) to the European Union. She co-coordinated many research projects, co-founded StartUps and associations and teaches at many excellent universities in Europe "Fundraising for Science & Innovation" and "Project Design and Management". 

She has a passion for diplomacy and advocacy for Science, Technology and Innnovation. Andrea is a medical doctor but also holds a certificate of advanced studies in European law University of Zurich and of ETHZurich in International Policy and Advocacy. In May 2020 she got the Seal of Excellence together with her latest StartUp team by the European Innovation Council (EIC/H2020). 

Keynote: SBIR·STTR – American’s seed funding

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Lidia Borrell-Damiàn

Secretary General

Science Europe 

Lidia Borrell-Damián is the Secretary General of Science Europe, the association representing major public organisations that fund or perform excellent, ground-breaking research in Europe. She holds overall responsibility for the strategy and functioning of the organisation. Prior to this she worked for the European University Association (EUA) between 2006 and 2014. During the last five years in EUA she served as its Director for Research and Innovation (R&I), holding responsible for the overall strategy and activities of EUA in the area, working with EUA individual universities as well as the National Rectors’ Conferences.


Keynote: Major principles of national funding agencies inEurope 

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Yingjie Fan

Deputy Director General

Bureau of International Cooperation at National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)

Prof. Yingjie Fan is the Deputy Director General of Bureau of International Cooperation at National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). She is also the Chinese Director at the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion, a joint funding agency established by NSFC and DFG in Germany in 2000. 

She has been working at NSFC since 2000, previously as Program Officer and Division Director of European Affairs. She has been involved in setting up and shaping many bilateral and multilateral programs between NSFC and European funding agencies. She owns a PhD degree in Science Policy from University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, a postgraduate degree in Public Policy from University College London, UK and a Bachelor degree in English Literature from Beijing Language and Culture University.

Keynote: Major principles of national funding agencies in China

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Jackson Howard

Regional Representative

EURAXESS North America

Jackson Howard is the Regional Representative for EURAXESS North America, responsible for Canada and the U.S. His main role is to inform the community of researchers of all scientific domains and nationalities based in North America about the funding and career opportunities that the European Research Area (ERA) offers (including, European, national, and regional funding opportunities). Another important role is the management of the European Scientific Diasporas in North America initiative together with the EU Delegation and EU Member States & Associated Countries. Prior to joining EURAXESS, he worked in the diplomatic and nonprofit sectors. Jackson holds a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from American University.

Keynote: EU-US Cooperation and success stories through H2020

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Stefano Lami

Dr. Stefano Lami, currently serving as the Science Counselor at the Embassy of Italy in Washington D.C. responsible for basic research, energy, and environment. A particle physicist by training, and with decades of experience in science diplomacy and policy, project management in international organizations, Dr. Lami’s interests are focused on facilitating international scientific and innovative research collaboration, increasing researcher mobility, and developing research coordination mechanism. 

Dr. Lami has participated in numbers of international funded collaborative project, including:

  • Fermi Lab: where the Top quark was discovered, the last foreseen quark particle still to be observed. 

  • LHC (Large Hadron Collider) at CERN: Co-Spokeperson for the TOTEM Project.

  • Researcher and faculty member in University of Heidelberg, Stony Brook University, Rockefeller University. 

Authored and co-authored  600+ scientific publications in peer-reviewed international journals and have been a member of several international scientific committees

Keynote: Science Diplomacy for international collaboration

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Wenbo Liu

Deputy Division Chief

Division of Multilateral Cooperation, Department of International Cooperation at Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)

Dr. Liu joined CAAS in 2011, and now he is mainly responsible for the multilateral cooperation affairs of CAAS, including the focal point of EU-China Task Force on Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology, APEC agricultural technology cooperation, the cooperation with IAEA in the field of agricultural research and innovation, etc. Mr. Liu received his Ph.D in Agriculture from China Agricultural University in 2011. 

Keynote: EU-China cooperation under Horizon 2020


Sara Medina

Board Member

 Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI)

 Dr. Sara Medina is a Member of the Board of SPI, an international consulting Group with offices located in Europe (Portugal and Spain), North America (USA) and Asia (Beijing and Macao) and SPI Ventures. Dr. Medina contributes to the overall management of SPI, being responsible for managing SPI's activities and services in China since 2004 as well as in the Southeast Asian market. SPI is the coordinator of EU Horizon2020 Project ERICENA, from which ENRICH in China is established.

Welcoming speech: ENRICH in China

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Seán McCarthy

Managing Director

Hyperion Ltd.

Dr. Sean McCarthy has been involved in all aspects of European Research since 1980. He has been active as a researcher, research manager, research group leader, and company director. Today he specialises in helping organisations design and implement their European Research Strategies. 

In 2017 the European Commission published a list of the top 100 universities and research organisations participating in Horizon 2020. Dr. McCarthy has delivered training courses in 74 of these top 100 universities and research organisations.

Since 1995 over 80,000 participants have attended his courses in 29 countries.

In 2017, EARMA (European Association for Research Managers and Administrators) awarded him their first EARMA Professional Recognition Award in recognition of his ‘outstanding contribution to the European research management and administration profession.’

Keynote: Getting ready for Horizon Europe

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Jennifer Ponting

Executive Director, Sponsored Programs in University Research Administration

University of Chicago

Jennifer is currently the Executive Director, Sponsored Programs in University Research Administration at the University of Chicago. Prior to joining UChicago, Ms. Ponting was the Director, Pre-Award Services in the Office for Sponsored Programs at Harvard University. She also served as a Senior Contract Officer at Columbia Technology Ventures, the tech transfer and licensing office at Columbia University as well as the Export Control Officer and Contract Specialist for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Ms. Ponting received her B.S. from the University of New Hampshire and her Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law.

Keynote: EU-US Cooperation and success stories through H2020

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Alessio Petino

Knowledge Coordinator

EU SME Centre in China

Alessio Petino is the Knowledge Coordinator of the EU SME Centre in China. He coordinates the formulation of ad hoc reports and studies on the Chinese market, the delivery of trainings and workshops for European SMEs in Europe and China, as well as the provision of technical assistance services to SMEs submitting direct enquiries to the EU SME Centre. His key areas of expertise are China's sci-tech and innovation policy, high-tech zones, EU-China co-funding mechanisms, as well as government incentives, grants and subsidies for innovation.

Previously, Alessio has worked under various EU-funded projects in China, including as key expert, mainly conducting policy and market analysis for European companies looking to enter or already in the Chinese market. He formulated many studies, including for DG RTD, guides and market entry handbooks for SMEs; he has also written several bids for FPI-funded projects, attended EU-China S&T bilateral meetings, and has organised numerous business missions from Europe to China and Southeast Asia.

Alessio has been based in Beijing since 2011.

Keynote: Chinese local government funding and incentives for tech SMEs


Katrin Reschwamm

In early 2011, Katrin became the Managing Director of EUrelations AG, a company specialised in complementary skill training for post-docs and EU funded project development and management. Before that, she worked as Project and Research Manager at Fraunhofer IFF, Magdeburg, Germany for more than ten years. 

She has a track record in managing international teams and broad expertise in research fields such as internationalisation of SMEs, innovation management and entrepreneurship, logistics and manufacturing. Katrin coordinated the successful EU project “smE-MPOWER – Collaborating into the Future” and since then she has been involved in many more European funded projects supporting coordinators and entire consortia. Within the ‘Fraunhofer Society’ she co-initiated the Fraunhofer EU-Network which still meets twice a year and provides an ongoing platform for exchange on EU funded projects across all Fraunhofer institutes.

In addition to her work engagements, Katrin is active in a number of associations: she was a Member of the Conference Committee of the European Association of Research Managers (EARMA) from 2011 until 2019 and is now part of the Membership and Communications Committee; Head of the Working Group “Project Management in R&D” of the Swiss Project Management Association since 2011, Board Member of spm (Swiss Project Management Association) and responsible for Networks & Events since 2012 and Board Member of VNL (Verein Netzwerk Logistik) since 2013. 

Keynote: EU fundings for startups and SMEs


Mary Ritter

International Ambassador and former CEO, EIT Climate-KIT

Emeritus Professor Imperial College London

Mary was CEO (2010-2014) of the EU’s EIT Climate-KIC - Europe’s largest public-private partnership addressing climate change - guiding it from inception to a pan-European cross-sectorial innovation community in of >200 (in 2014/15; now >400) partners from academia, business and regional/city government, working to innovate for net zero-carbon prosperity and climate resilience. She is now the KIC’s International Ambassador looking to deploy the full force of European ingenuity beyond the borders of Europe, connecting with and building key climate innovation ecosystems globally for accelerating and scaling impact. In 2015-2016, she established and led a cross-sectorial team in Australia to develop the independent ‘Climate-KIC Australia’ - launched in 2017 and now providing a collaborative innovation platform in the Asia-Pacific region. Her current work focusses on collaboration with innovation ecosystems in California, India, China and Israel, working not only with EIT Climate-KIC but also across the whole EIT Community of 8 Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs). Mary is Professor Emeritus and previous Pro Rector for International Affairs at Imperial College London (2004-2011). She sits and has sat on many international and national boards, currently including: Climate-KIC Australia Governing Board; National Research Foundation Fellowship Evaluation Panel, Singapore and Bernal Institute Advisory Board, University of Limerick, Ireland  and until recently the RISE Advisory Group for EU Commissioner Moedas. She is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA), Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath), Royal Society of Biology (FRSB) and City and Guilds Institute (FCGI). She was awarded an OBE in the UK 2014 New Year Honours for her services to scientific research and innovation.

Keynote: Opportunities by EIT Global Outreach Hubs in China and Silicon Valley


Zhonghua Xu

Vice President, Research and Development, Head of Total R&D for Asia, Total

National Chair, R&D WG for European Chamber of Commerce of China (EUCCC)

Zhonghua has 20+ year working experience on R&D development and management both at academy and industry. He has been working on various domains covering materials, energy, environment, microelectronics, etc. He devotes most of his career life to innovation, R&D strategy & intelligence management, R&D project management, partnership development, etc. In past 20 years, he built up strong network with academy, industry and government in Asia.

 He was the founder of International Green Electronic Conference. As Deputy Managing Director, he founded International Institute of Ecodesign and Microelectronic Packaging Ltd., As Representative, he built up Tokyo University Representative Office in China on science and technological cooperation. He has worked together with 10+ Japanese semiconductor giants to develop Superhigh-density interconnection technology. As Chief Scientist of Total in China, he initiated and managed to develop Total R&D strategy and activity in China. As VP of Total R&D for Asia, he is now managing group R&I for the region.

Since 2019, he was National Chair for R&D WG of EUCCC.

 Zhonghua has been awarded several times for his technological achievement and management contribution, i.e. Ranked 2nd for Sino-Franco Climate Solution Innovation at Cop 21, Significant Contribution Award for China Electronic Packaging Technology, etc.

Keynote: Advocacy for Science & Innovation between Europe and China


Michelle M. Schoenecker

Senior Proposal Development Manager

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Michelle Schoenecker is a Senior Proposal Development Manager in the Office of Sponsored Programs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In this role Michelle works closely with faculty in the identification, development, and writing of grant proposals to secure extramural research funding. She also develops training sessions on wide range of grant development topics, including special programs for early-career faculty. 

Michelle holds a Master’s Degree in English from UWM with a specialization in Professional and Technical Writing, and she has 20 years of proposal development and management experience. Prior to joining UWM she held proposal development positions in the financial services industry and non-profit sector.

Keynote: US funding landscape