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Research and Innovation Excellence through gender equality: New pathways and challenges


Fredrik Bondestam is the director of Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research at the University of Gothenburg. His research has addressed gender mainstreaming in academia, gender and organisational change, critical and feminist pedagogy and teaching, as well as sexual harassment and violence. Currently Dr Bondestam focuses mainly on research politics and gender research, as well as on gender equality politics in the Nordic countries and the EU.


Nicole Dewandre is an engineer, economist and philosopher who works as an Advisor for Interdisciplinary Support for Policy-making at the Joint Research Centre. After having been in charge of the women and science programme in the European Commission (DG Research and Innovation) from 1997 until 2003, Dewandre has been in charge of connecting EU funded research with the civil society (2003–2006) and then of monitoring the contribution of EU funded research to sustainable development (2006–2010). She then became advisor of the Director general of DG CONNECT to foster the societal and human dimension of ICT-related EU policies (2011–2016). Drawing from Hannah Arendt, she is currently engaged in unveiling the importance for EU politics to embrace interdependence instead of striving for size and growth.


Frank Dignum studied computer science and mathematics at the Free University of Amsterdam. After getting his PhD Dignum went to set up computer science at the University of Swaziland. He has also worked in Portugal and the Netherlands, and is now the head of the socially aware AI group at Umeå University in Sweden. Dignum has done pioneering work in social simulations that take into account the cultural and social contexts in which people operate and how this effects the effectiveness of government policies. This work now extends to developing responsible AI that behaves according to ethical guidelines and is geared towards social good rather than personal gain. Due to his work he has a long history in interdisciplinary research and has been working on gender and diversity issues in many different settings.


Philomena Essed is professor of Critical Race, Gender and Leadership Studies at Antioch University’s Graduate School of Leadership and Change. Known for introducing the concepts of everyday racism and gendered racism in the Netherlands and internationally, she also pioneered in developing theory on what she has called social and cultural cloning. Her publications include the now classic 1984 book Alledaags Racisme (English version, Everyday Racism, 1990), newly republished in 2018.


Tarja Halonen is former president of the Republic of Finland and the current chair of the Board of the University of Helsinki. Halonen was the first woman to be elected as a president of Finland and is widely known for her interest in human rights issues. She is a tireless advocate of women's rights, equality and social justice.


Gemma Irvine is currently Vice-President of Equality & Diversity in Maynooth University, Ireland, with responsibility for leading strategic change in the areas of EDI across the entire university community, students and staff. Previously as Head of Policy and Strategic Planning in the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Irvine coordinated a national approach to the development and implementation of policy for higher education, with specific responsibility for the enhancement of teaching, learning and research, including open science, international education and EDI. Irvine led the secretariat for the Irish National Review of Gender Equality in Irish Higher Education Institutions in 2016 and the Gender Equality Taskforce in 2018. As Assistant Director of the Irish Research Council (IRC), Irvine launched the inaugural Gender Strategy & Action Plan, a first for a research funding agency in Ireland. Dr Irvine completed her PhD in Neuroscience in New Zealand before coming to Ireland in 2004.


Tana Halova Perglova is deputy director of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic. Halova Perglova has been working in the agency for seven years and her main domains of interest are the development activities of the agency (new tools, approaches, instruments), international cooperation, and synergies with EU funding programmes. She is an advocate of balanced and non-discriminatory approaches. She promotes early reintegration of mums in professional life.


Barbara Hartung studied law in Bonn, Freiburg and Goettingen. After her PhD (1981) she started working as a civil servant in the government of Lower Saxony. Since 1994, she is head of division in the Ministry of Science and Culture, at present responsible for natural sciences, ethics in research and gender equality. On federal level, she is chair (elected by the Laender) of the working group "Equal opportunities for women in science" by the Joint Science Conference. She was also appointed by the Federal Council (second parliamentary chamber) as member of the Standing working group "Gender in research and innovation" of the European Research Area and innovation Committee (formerly known as the Helsinki Group).


Claudine Hermann is a French physicist and a pioneer in the topic of women in science in France. She is currently the President of the European Platform of Women Scientists (EPWS). Hermann was the first woman to be appointed professor at the École Polytechnique, one of the leading prestigious French Grandes écoles in engineering. During 1998–2005, Hermann was a member of the expert group that produced the so-called ETAN (European Technology Assessment Network) report on women in academia for the European Union. She was also part of the European Union Helsinki Group on Women and Science.


Carl Jacobsson is Senior Advisor at Swedish Research Council, working with e.g. the ERA-Net Co-Fund cooperation GENDER-Net Plus. He is a member of the ERAC Standing Working Group on Gender in Research and Innovation. During 2001–2014 Jacobsson was Director of the Department of Research Policy Analysis at Swedish Research Council, which carried out analyses of research funding, research personnel and research output (e.g. bibliometric analyses), research evaluations as well as analyses of research policy and gender equality questions. He was a member of the EU Expert Group on Gender and Excellence (2008) and of the EU Expert Group on Women in Science Decision Making (2007). His background is in mathematics and he was Associate Professor at Stockholm University during 1983–1995.


Reetta Kivelä is a founder of Gold&Green Foods Ltd and the inventor of Pulled Oats. Pulled Oats is a plant protein product that created an unseen hype in Finland when launched in 2016, and is now exported to several countries. The product is the result of scientific research, and it represents the future of food designed by women. Reetta is a doctor in Food Technology and has been doing research about oats since 2007, when she started her PhD at the University of Helsinki.


Angela Kocze is Assistant Professor of Romani Studies and Academic Director of the Roma Graduate Preparation Program at the Central European University in Hungary. Her research focuses on the intersections between gender, ethnicity and class as well as the social and legal inequalities faced by the Roma people in various European countries. In 2013, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. honored Kóczé with the Ion Ratiu Democracy Award. 


Hanna Kosonen is Finland’s Minister of Science and Culture. Her area covers the planning and implementation of higher education and science policy. The Ministry of Education, headed by Kosonen, steers the activities of science agencies and research institutes as well as supports the operating capacity of research organisations.


Anita Lehikoinen works as the Permanent Secretary at the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, directing the activities of the Ministry of Education and Culture together with the Ministers. Lehikoinen has worked with higher education and science policy since 1989.


Ruth Lewis is associate professor in Sociology at Northumbria University in Newcastle, UK. Her research focuses on gender, violence and activism. Lewis' current work examines gender-based violence in universities and activism about it: How do we transform university environments, rather than just reforming them? She has also conducted the first victimological survey of feminists who experience online abuse, the first UK evaluation of domestic violence perpetrators’ programmes, and the first sociological examination of homicide. She has worked outside academia at the National Audit Office and at the Women’s Sports Foundation. Lewis has been active in her local and regional communities, as a trustee of domestic violence charities, as a member of local and national feminist networks, and as an organiser of conferences for practitioners, activists and scholars, and of training about responding to disclosures of sexual violence.


Marcela Linkova is the Head of the Centre for Gender & Science at the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the chair of the ERAC Standing Working Group on Gender in Research and Innovation. Linkova holds a PhD in Sociology and has engaged in gender equality work since 2001. Her research interests include gender equality in research policy, research careers and excellence. She has coordinated and participated in a number of EU-funded projects, and currently she is the coordinator of the Horizon 2020 project GENDERACTION.


Elisabet Ljunggren is Professor at the Faculty of Social Science at Nord University in Norway, where she works also as Vice Dean for Research and Development. Professor Ljunggren has been doing research on entrepreneurship, innovation and policieswith a gender perspective for the last 25 years. She has published several articles and book chapters both in Norway and internationally. She has co-edited a special issue on gender and innovation in the International Journal on Gender end Entrepreneurship as well as in The Research Handbook on Gender and Innovation (E. Elgar, 2016). She led a 3-year research project GENINNO, Gender and Innovation in Norway, funded by the Research Council of Norway. Ljunggren has served periodically the Norwegian Government's Committee on Gender Balance and Diversity in Research and is engaged in issues on gender balance in research institutions, implementation of gender perspectives in research and knowledge production. She also led the committee's work on diversity in academia.


Jukka Luukkanen joined the European Investment Bank in 1996 and is currently head of the Bank’s Helsinki Office. After joining the Bank Luukkanen spent a number of years in EIB’s legal directorate and the Bank’s lending operations in Asia as well as and in PPPs in the UK, Ireland, and the Nordic Countries. In the end of 2007 he was appointed to head the infrastructure division of the New Products and Special Transactions department responsible, inter alia, for subordinated credit enhancement instruments and investments in infrastructure funds. Before being appointed as head of the Helsinki Office in February 2015, Luukkanen was head of the Bank’s Nordic, Baltic and EFTA lending operations (2012-2015). Before joining the Bank he worked as an attorney in a major law firm in Finland and as a management consultant in McKinsey & Co in Sweden, Finland and Australia. Luukkanen holds two law degrees: one from the University of Turku (hons) and another from Harvard Law School, where he studied as a Fulbright scholar.


Riitta Maijala is professor and Vice President for research at the Academy of Finland responsible for science policy planning and research funding development. She joined the Academy of Finland from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture where she led Science Policy Section of the Department of Higher Education and Science Policy. Maijala has over 20 years of experience in leading positions and professorships in scientific, advisory and in decision making organizations in Finland and in the European Union.


Marja Makarow is Director of Biocenter Finland and former Vice-President of the Finnish Research Council - Academy of Finland, Chief Executive of the European Science Foundation and Vice-Rector and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Helsinki. She was Vice-chair of the Founding Board of the Aalto University launched in 2008 and chaired the Founding Board of the Tampere University launched in 2019. She is member of the Advisory Board of the European Innovation Council EIC, the Governing Board of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology EIT, and the Boards of University of Geneva and University of Arts Finland. She was member of the Finnish Prime Minister’s Research and Innovation Council and of the European Research Area Board ERAB that advised the EU Commissioner of Research and Innovation in 2008–2012. Marja Makarow chairs Technology Academy Finland, which awards one of the world’s most prestigious prizes for ground-breaking sustainable innovations, the Millennium Technology Prize.


Petri Myllymäki is professor of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at the Department of Computer Science of University of Helsinki, Director of the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology and Vice-Director at the Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI). He has over 30 years of experience in artificial intelligence research, has co-founded four startup companies, and serves as chairman or member on several national and international committees and working groups on data and AI.


Gina Neff is associate professor at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford. Neff is a sociologist who studies innovation, the digital transformation of industries, and how new technologies impact work. She has studied digital change in the media, health care, and construction industries. She also serves as a strategic advisor on the social impact of AI for the Women’s Forum.


Sami Nevala is the Policy Coordinator for Statistics in the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), based in Vienna, Austria. As a statistician, Nevala managed the agency’s 28-country survey on violence against women in the EU, while contributing to a number of other initiatives by the Fundamental Rights Agency to collect reliable and comparable data related to fundamental rights issues, including EU-wide surveys on the rights of immigrants and ethnic minorities, and LGBTI people. He has specialised in victimisation surveys and crime statistics through his earlier work in the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI), and his consultancy work for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).


Jean-Eric Paquet is the European Commission’s Director General for research and innovation. Paquet has stated that Europe's future can only be built in a completely inclusive way. He has 24 years of experience in the European Commission, and has served as the Deputy Head of Cabinet of the former Commissioner for Research.


Sille Pettai is fund manager and member of the management board of SmartCap, a state-funded investment company in Estonia focused on venture capital funds. Pettai has more than 10 years of experience in asset management as an investment executive, and is a founding member of the European Women in VC community that promotes gender diversity in the venture capital industry.


Enrique Playán is the Director of the State Research Agency (AEI) in Spain, a government agency responsible for the promotion of scientific and technical research in all areas of knowledge. Playán has a strong background in the public research sector and has thorough knowledge regarding the international scientific environment. The AEI funds research projects, careers and networking activities, with its annual investments exceeding the amount of one billion euros.


Jenni Raitoharju was recently selected as the Chair of Young Academy Finland (YAF) for 2019–2020. In 2018–2019, Raitoharju was a board member of YAF and participated in the collaboration with Nordic and Baltic Young Academies on the theme of gender equality in academia, which resulted in a joint statement on the topic. She is a machine learning researcher who received her PhD from Tampere University of Technology in 2017. She currently works as a senior research scientist at the Finnish Environment Institute with the applying of machine learning into biomonitoring.


Emilia Roig is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Intersectional Justice (CIJ), a Berlin-based organization combatting intersecting forms of inequality and discrimination in Europe. She is faculty member of the Social Justice Study Abroad Program of DePaul University of Chicago and has taught graduate and post-graduate courses on Intersectionality Theory, Postcolonial Studies, Critical Race Theory and International and European Law. From 2007 to 2010, she worked extensively on Human Rights issues at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Tanzania and Uganda, at the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Cambodia, and at Amnesty International in Germany. She holds a PhD in political science, a Master of Public Policy and an MBA from the Humboldt University of Berlin, the Hertie School of Governance and Jean Moulin University of Lyon.


Miles Rutendo Tanhira is a communications strategist, media consultant, and a human rights activist. Tanhira is the founder and editor of Queerstion Media, a documentation and story telling platform for minority Trans voices in Sweden, the diaspora and extending to Sub Saharan Africa. Tanhira has worked extensively on transgender issues and has received the Go visible Award (2012) by the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT rights for spearheading the Spread Love not Hate campaign in Zimbabwe. Currently Tanhira is a political science student and a Media consultant at Transgender Europe.


Megan Schaible is the COO of Reaktor Education, a division of Reaktor Innovations. Prior to joining Reaktor, Megan was a successful tech entrepreneur in Helsinki, and formerly a development executive at London Business School, Cambridge University and Oxford University. As COO of Reaktor Education, Megan is focused on strategic development and helping her team to build partnerships with world-class organisations and education providers in order to develop online courses and digital learning solutions for the 21st century of education. The first course collaboration, Elements of AI, has created a global movement through which Reaktor is dedicated to spreading the basics of AI education to citizens around the world.


Marta Soler is professor of Sociology at the University of Barcelona and the Director of Community of Research on Excellence for All (CREA), an interdisciplinary research centre aiming at analysing the most successful actions to reduce inequalities. Soler is also the president of the European Sociological Association and board member of the European Alliance for Social Sciences and Humanities (EASSH). Her research interests include inequality, culture, knowledge and innovation.


Follow the conference on Twitter at @NewPathways2019 together with the hashtag #NewPathwaysHelsinki!


If you have any questions related to practicalities of the conference, please contact:

Tiia Vasko 
Event Manager 
CWT Meetings & Events

If you have any questions related to the speakers or the program of the event – please contact:

Matti Kajaste 
Ministry of Education and Culture
Department for Higher Education and Science Policy and General Upper Secondary Education
P.O. Box 29, FI-00023 Government, Finland
+358 50 573 1109

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 859383 – NEWPATHWAYS.