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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 24 July 2012

European Institute of Innovation and Technology: Commission appoints 12 new board members

Twelve new members of the governing board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) were appointed today by the European Commission. The new members (see curriculum vitae in annex) will officially take up their positions on July 31.

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: "I would like to thank the outgoing members of the EIT governing board for their hard work and dedication and to welcome the new team. I am delighted with the composition of the new board and I am sure that the new members will make a lasting contribution to attaining the EIT's objectives. Now, more than ever, we need talented people like them to steer the direction of innovation in Europe."

All the EIT board members have a strong reputation in their respective fields and have shown a genuine interest in innovation.

The governing board is responsible for the overall strategy and for the selection, coordination and evaluation of the 'Knowledge and Innovation Communities' (KICs), the public-private partnership innovation hubs at the heart of the EIT. The KICs bring together excellent higher education institutions, research centres and businesses to address major societal challenges such as climate change and sustainable energy in an innovative way.

The governing board will oversee the implementation of the EIT's Strategic Innovation Agenda, proposed by the Commission. This will provide the impetus for creating up to 600 start-up companies and for training 10 000 Masters' students and 10 000 PhDs in new curricula combining excellent science and a strong entrepreneurship component.


The core mission of the EIT, which was established in 2008 as an autonomous EU body, is to promote the competitiveness of Member States by bringing together excellent higher education institutions, research centres and businesses.

The European Commission has proposed a budget of nearly €3 billion in the next financial framework to enable the EIT to create six new KICS in addition to its three initial hubs which focus on climate change, sustainable energy and ICT (see IP/11/1479).

The EIT's governing board comprises 22 professionals, providing a balance of expertise and experience from the worlds of education, research and business. The 12 new members will join six members from the initial governing board who will serve four years in office before the next rotation. The governing board also includes four additional members elected from among the administrative staff, students and doctoral candidates of the EIT and KICs.

For more information

European Commission: Education and training

Androulla Vassiliou's website

Follow Androulla Vassiliou onTwitter @VassiliouEU

Contacts :

Dennis Abbott (+32 2 295 92 58); Twitter: @DennisAbbott

Dina Avraam (+32 2 295 96 67)


EIT governing board 2012 appointed members – curriculum vitae


Current position: Founder and Chairman of Graphisoft SE, Graphisoft Park SE, and Aquincum Institute of Technology (AIT)

Gabor Bojar founded the architectural software company Graphisoft in 1982 in Hungary. Today Graphisoft is the worldwide market leader in the field of 3D building modelling. Graphisoft Park SE, a real-estate enterprise and spin-off of the software firm, re-generated an industrial site on the bank of the river Danube and turned it into a state-of-the art science park, which now hosts Microsoft, SAP, Servier and many other high-tech companies. In 2007, Gabor established a school of information technology and entrepreneurship for an international student body. AIT is an example of social entrepreneurship demonstrating the viability of self-sustaining investment in higher education.


Current position: President of Microsoft Spain

María Garaña Corces has served as the President of Microsoft Spain since July 2008. Previously she was the South Cone regional director for Microsoft, responsible for business operations in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

She has a wide international experience, having lived in Brazil, Turkey, USA, Mexico, Argentina and Europe. She has a MBA from Harvard Business School, an International Trade Diploma from Berkeley University and a bachelor degree in Law and Business Administration from San Pablo University in Madrid

María Garaña is the President of Foro Con-R, a foundation focused on improving the employability and social integration of people with disabilities. She is also a member of the Young Presidents' Organization Group and of the International Women Forum. She serves on the board of “Fundacion Equidad” and the Junior Achievement Foundation, non-profit organisations which promote social equity through Information Technology. She is also member of the ESADE (Spanish business school) professional board and the American Chamber of Commerce board in Spain. In 2009, María Garaña was appointed Businesswoman of the Year by the Spanish Association of Businesswomen (FEDEPE).


Current position: Chairman of the board of Novo A/S and Novo Nordisk Foundation

In 1990, Ulf J. Johansson founded Europolitan Holdings AB, a Swedish mobile telephone operator, which was publicly listed from 1994 to 2003. He was chairman of Europolitan Vodafone AB until 2005 and served as chairman of the board of the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm from 1998 to 2003.

Dr Johansson was a member of the board of Novo Nordisk A/S from 1998 to 2005. In 2000, he joined the board of Novo A/S has and has been its chairman since 2005. In 2005, he was also appointed chairman of the board of the Novo Nordisk Foundation and is a member of the board of TelefonAB LM Ericsson.


Current position: Rector of the Cyprus University of Technology

Elpida Keravnou-Papailiou took up her current role in January 2012. She was previously vice-rector for academic affairs at the University of Cyprus, dean of the School of Pure and Applied Sciences (1999-2002) and the first chairperson of the Department of Computer Science (1994-1998). She also served as resident of the governing board of the Cyprus University of Technology (2009-2010).

In the context of her responsibilities as vice-rector for academic affairs, she coordinated the implementation of the Bologna reforms at the University of Cyprus.


Current position: Head of research, founder and majority owner of Morana rtd, Slovenia

Jana Kolar joined the conservation and preservation department of the National and University Library in 1990 and was head of the department between 1992-2005. Between 2005-2009, she was head of the Laboratory for Cultural Heritage. In 2004-2009, she was director of Morana rtd. She was also director general of the science and technology directorate within the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology.

She was also a consultant to the Ministry during the Slovenian EU Presidency in 2008 and at the Slovenian Research Agency.

Prof.Marja MAKAROW

Current position: Vice-president for research of the Academy of Finland

Marja Makarow is professor of applied biochemistry and molecular biology, and former vice-rector for research, doctoral training and innovation at the University of Helsinki. She served as chief executive of the European Science Foundation in 2008-2011.

She was advisor to the European Commissioner for Research and Innovation as vice-chair of the European Research Area Board till early 2012. She advised the Finnish Government and Parliament in the Council for Research and Innovation Policy that recently modernised the national university system. She is implementing the University Act in her capacity as vice-chair of the new Aalto University.

Prof. Peter OLESEN

Current position: Chairman of the Danish Council for Strategic Research

Over the past 25 years, Peter Olesen has served as research director, VP R&D and executive VP/CSO in four major international food and food ingredients companies: Danisco A/S (DK) 1983-93; Sandoz Seeds Ltd (France) 1994-95; CPKelco/Hercules Inc. (DK & US) 1996-2000; and Chr.Hansen A/S (DK) 2000-2008. He has held three appointments as affiliated professor at the University of Copenhagen: Plant Sciences 1986-91 and 1993-98; Functional Foods 2008-13. In addition, he was employed as part-time MSO professor at the Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology at LIFE, University of Copenhagen 2009-11.

Today, he is manager of his own company, ActiFoods, which offers counselling and knowledge sharing to companies and research institutions within food and health


Current position: Provost/President of Trinity College Dublin

Before taking up his current role, Patrick Prendergast held the chair of bio-engineering from 2007 to 2011. He has been a visiting professor at the Institute of Fundamental Technological Research in Warsaw and the Institute of Bioengineering of Catalonia in Barcelona. He was senior research fellow at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands and has also held several positions in Trinity College such as director of the Centre for Bioengineering, dean of graduate studies and vice-provost/chief academic officer of the University of Dublin.

Dr. Prendergast is widely known internationally, having held several high profile positions in national and international scientific societies. He was president of the European Society of Biomechanics from 2002-2004; president of the European Alliance of Medical and Biological Engineering and Science (EAMBES) in 2007; he was elected as a founding fellow of EAMBES in March 2012.


Current position: President of the National Academy of Technologies, France

Bruno Revellin-Falcoz is the former vice chairman of Dassault Aviation Corp.

After graduating in engineering from Sup’Aéro (National School of Aeronautics and Space), he served with Dassault Aviation from 1963 until 2008. He was appointed senior vice president engineering in 1982 and had technical responsibility for all of Dassault’s civilian and military aeronautical and space programmes. Throughout his career, Bruno Revellin‑Falcoz set up and built on partnerships with various public R&D laboratories in order to develop co-operation leading to industrial applications.

Gianfelice ROCCA

Current position: Chairman of Techint Group, Italy

In addition to chairing the Techint Group, Gianfelice Rocca is a member of the board of Tenaris and Ternium. He is president and founder of the Istituto Clinico Humanitas, one of the most important hospitals in Europe.

He is chairman of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) and chairof the advisory committee of the Italian National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes (ANVUR). From 2004 to 2012 he was vice president for education for Confindustria, the association of Italian industrialists.

He serves on the board of Allianz SpA, Brembo SpA, Buzzi Unicem SpA. He is also a member of the advisory board of Allianz SE Advisory Board, of the Aspen Institute Executive Committee, of the Harvard Business School Advisory Board and of the Trilateral Commission. He is also president of the Fondazione Fratelli Agostino and Enrico Rocca.

In 2007 he was appointed Cavaliere del Lavoro of the Italian Republic and in 2009 he was presented with a honoris causa degree in management engineering by Milan Politecnico. In 2010 he received the Leonardo Award from the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano.

Gianfelice Rocca graduated cum laude in Physics at University of Milan and holds a postgraduate degree from Harvard Business School.

Prof. Nigel THRIFT

Current position: Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick, UK

Nigel Thrift is a world-leading academic in the field of human geography.

Warwick is known for its close links with industry, especially through the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG). Since joining Warwick, Professor Thrift led the university on a programme of substantial, innovative and selective internationalisation, culminating in a unique strategic alliance with Monash University (Australia), and Warwick’s recent selection as the only European university member of the new Centre for Urban Science and Progress in New York (CUSP).

Prior to joining Warwick in 2006, Professor Thrift was the pro-vice-chancellor for research at the University of Oxford (2005-06) and head of the Division of Life and Environmental Sciences at Oxford (2003-05).


Current position: Non-executive Director of Shell Company

A Dutch national, Jeroen Van Der Veer took up his present role at Shell in July 2009. He was previously chief executive of the company. He was appointed president of Royal Dutch Petroleum Company in 2000, having been a managing director since 1997. He was a director of Shell Canada Limited from 2003 until 2005. He was named chief executive of Shell in 2004 and led the company through major change, simplifying governance and organisation, while clarifying accountabilities.

In 2009-2010 Jeroen was vice-chairman of a group of experts who advised on a new strategic concept for NATO. He was world president of the Society of Chemical Industry from 2002 to 2004. From 2000-2004 he served as a supervisory board member of the Dutch Central Bank. He has been an advisor to Oman since 2009. He chaired ‘Platform Beta Techniek’, a governmental institute promoting education in science and technology from 2009–2011. He was vice-chairman and senior independent director of Unilever (which includes Unilever N.V. and Unilever plc) to May 2011.

Jeroen is also chairman of the supervisory boards of Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. and ING Group. He also has various roles in several foundations and charities.

EIT Governing Board 2008 appointed members – curriculum vitae

Prof. Alexander VON GABAIN

EIT Chairman

Strategic Advisor to the Board of Intercell AG, Chair of the SAB and Co-Founder

Alexander von Gabain obtained his PhD in genetics at the University of Heidelberg and held a post-doctorate position at Stanford University. In the 1980s and 1990s, he was Professor at the University of Umeå and at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, as well as an advisor to pharmaceutical and biotech companies. From 1992 to 1998, he was chair of microbiology at the University of Vienna at the Campus Vienna Biocenter and has helped to build the Vienna Biocenter/IMP public private partnership. In 1998, he co- founded Intercell AG and led the company as CEO until it was successfully floated on the Vienna Stock Exchange in 2005. From 2005 to 2009, he was member of the executive management board and CSO. Since then, he has been serving as strategic advisor and chair of the scientific advisory board.

His research interest is in the field of biomedical research and documented by a large number of publications, book chapters and patents. He is professor of microbiology at the Max Perutz Laboratories of the University of Vienna, and foreign adjunct professor at the Karolinska Institute, member of several professional organisations and serves on the boards of biotech enterprises, including TVM Capital, Munich. His achievements have been acknowledged by prestigious industrial awards, academic prizes, honourable memberships, including the Swedish Royal Academy of Engineering Science.

Alexander von Gabain was appointed as an initial member of the EIT’s governing board on 30 July 2008; on 15 September 2011 he took up his position as the second EIT Governing Board Chairperson.


EIT Executive Committee Member

Professor/Researcher, Warsaw University of Technology Business School

Since the launch of the EIT in 2008, Dr. Golebiowska-Tataj has served as a member of the EIT governing board’s executive committee and has been leading the development of the EIT’s innovative entrepreneurship agenda. She has a background in humanities and business and was a scholar of the French government at the Sorbonne University and of George Soros at the Central European University. She holds a PhD from the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Daria has had an entrepreneurial business career in the emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe. She worked in investment banking and venture capital in media, telecom and ICT sectors. She held supervisory board positions in technology start-ups and was a founder and a managing partner of EMF Enterprise Management and Finance, a consulting practice. She was also in charge of EU/European Bank for Reconstruction and Development SME finance facilities, helping large banks in the region to restructure their lending to small and medium size enterprises. In 2006, her activity as a social entrepreneur supporting women leaders was recognised by the US Department of State and Fortune Magazine. She became a member of Vital Voices Global Partnership and the first president of its Polish chapter.

At present, she is pursuing her academic interests as a professor and researcher at Warsaw University of Technology Business School and is an affiliate faculty member at the Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan. Her research covers creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and their impact on economic and social development. She is an expert to the Lisbon Council, a Brussels-based think tank, and is also advising the Polish Government on its research and innovation agenda.

Prof. Karen MAEX

Vice-rector of Science, Engineering and Technology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U.Leuven)

Full Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, K.U.Leuven

Prof. Maex obtained her PhD in electrical engineering at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. Having started her academic career as a research assistant (1982-1987), she was research director (1987), assistant professor (1989), then professor (1998) and finally full professor (2003) at K.U. Leuven. Between 2002-2005 she was a member of K.U. Leuven's Research Council and founder-coordinator of the Erasmus Mundus programme on nanoscience and nanotechnology. In 2005, she was appointed vice-rector for science, engineering and technology at K.U. Leuven. Meanwhile at IMEC (Interuniversity Microelectronics Center), of which she is a fellow since 2001, she was strategic research adviser for the Division on Semiconductor Process and Device Technology (2001-2005) and programme director of the IMEC Industrial Affiliate Programme (IIAP) on Nanotechnology (2004-2005).

In her present role, Prof. Maex is also responsible for human resources and diversity policy at K.U. Leuven.


Head of AutoUni, Volkswagen Group

Dr. Tropschuh obtained his PhD in engineering at the Munich Technical University, where he was also assistant lecturer (1983-1988). During this time, he simultaneously carried out freelance work in engineering and design offices across Germany. In 1988 he joined Audi, where his appointments have included senior supervisor of Interior Engineering and Body Testing, Head of Vehicle Concepts, Head of Development Management, and head of the research projects division. He has also been general secretary of AUDI AG. Since 2006, Dr. Tropschuh has been the head of AutoUni at Volkswagen Group.

Dr. Tropschuh is a lecturer at the Munich Technical University and among other memberships and honorary appointments, he is honorary senator of Budapest University of Technology and Economics (BME), member of the advisory board of St. Gallen University (Switzerland), member of the Senat of GISMA Business School (Hannover), member of the advisory board of TÜV Süd (Munich), member of the advisory board of Foundation Lower Saxony (Stiftung Niedersachsen, Hannover), member of the Curatorium of Foundation New Responsibility (Kuratorium Neue Verantwortung, Berlin), member of the board of directors of FAT (Forschungsvereinigung Automobiltechnik im VDA, Frankfurt), member of the advisory board of DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Köln) and member of the advisory board of Automotive Cluster Bavaria (Automobil Cluster Bayern, Munich).

Linnar VIIK

Former Director, Skype Technologies Ltd

Associate Professor and Member of the Board, Estonian Information Technology College

Linnar Viik obtained an MSc (information technology and informatics) at Tallinn Technical University and an MSc/Postgraduate diploma (international economy) at Helsinki University of Technology. Having worked as a management consultant at KPMG (Estonia and London) between 1993-1995, he became chairman of the board of the IT company Meediamaa Ltd. (1995-1998) and chairman of the supervisory board of Netexpress Ltd. (1998-1999) before becoming member of the board and head of the multimedia department of Levicom Ltd. He was also an advisor to the prime minister of Estonia (1999-2001). In 2001 he co-founded Mobi Solutions Ltd. and was a member of the board there until 2007. In 2004 he founded Keelevara Ltd., of which he is still chairman of the supervisory board.

He was also director of Skype Access at Skype Technologies Ltd. (2007-2009) and since 2000 has been lecturing at the Estonian IT College, where he was made member of the board in 2003.

Prof. Wolfgang HERRMANN

President, Technische Universität München

Prof. Herrmann obtained his PhD in chemistry at the Universität Regensburg, where he became a prrofessor (Institute of Inorganic Chemistry) in 1979 following a career as a researcher. He was made chair professor of inorganic chemistry at the Universität Frankfurt/Main (1982) and chair professor at the Technische Universität München (1985). He became president of the Technische Universität München in 1995 and was re-elected in 1999, 2005 and 2007. He was chairman of the Bavarian University Rectors Conference (2002-2004) and chairman of Universität Bayern e.V (2004-2005). He is a member of the editorial board of numerous scientific journals and editor of the Journal of Organometallic Chemistry since 1994. He is also a member of the supervisory board of the E.ON Energie AG and member of the supervisory board of Evonik Industries AG.

Prof. Herrmann is currently president of the Technische Universität München and a member of the International Advisory Council, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia. He belongs to the top-100 group of the worldwide most-cited chemists and holds numerous honorary PhDs from Europe, USA, Russia and China.

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