"Weaving the Internet of Data" high level policy meeting - Speaker profiles

In order to push forward the discussion about a new coordination model to support a wide range of initiatives driving open science and open innovation, RDA is organizing a High Level Policy meeting on 6th April in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

The aim is to ensure that the objectives are synchronised and build upon previous achievements, to maintain Europe as a driver in this rapidly developing global environment.


Mark Asch, Senior Scientific Officer, Agence Nationale de la Recherche

Mark Asch is currently a programme manager for Mathematics, Computer Science, HPC and Big Data at the French National Research Agency (ANR). He was scientific officer for mathematics and e-infrastructures at the French ministry of research from 2012-2015, where he was actively involved in Open Science policy issues and the official representative of France in RDA, e-IRG and the G8 Working Group on Open Data. He is currently leading an action theme in the Belmont Forum “Data Management and e-Infrastructure” initiative and is co-organizer of the BDEC (Big Data and Extreme-Scale Computing) forum. He holds MS and PhD degrees in Mathematics from New York University, and BS and MS degrees in Agronomy and Applied Physics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is full professor of Mathematics and has been teaching statistical data analysis for over 20 years. His latest book, “Data Assimilation: Methods, Algorithms and Applications” will be published shortly by SIAM, USA. 

Rachel Bruce, Deputy Chief innovation Officer, Jisc

Rachel is Jisc’s deputy chief innovation officer responsible for research and development activities in the area of research data, research infrastructure and library and scholarly futures. Currently one of the main areas she is overseeing is research at risk which aims to develop robust and sustainable infrastructure and services for research data for UK universities, and as part of this she is leading Jisc’s strategy in the area of a long-term solutions in research data and related research management. Rachel is also involved in technology foresight and is currently overseeing activities in new and open information infrastructure including activities around open standards and  new ways to support more effective research from creation to re-use. She has a strong interest in the updating of infrastructure for the creation, sharing and managing of digital resources and related shared services, as well as the policy and practices required to improve their re-use and exploitation to enhance education and research, with the main focus being on research. This also includes issues of sustainability and transferring Jisc’s research and development work into services for colleges and universities. Rachel is a member of the UK Open Research Data Forum and a number of other national and international forums that are progressing digital research.

Augusto Burgueño Arjona, Head of the Unit "eInfrastructure" at European Commission's Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology

Dr. Augusto Burgueño Arjona is currently Head of the Unit "eInfrastructure" at European Commission's Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology. His unit coordinates the implementation of the European HPC strategy as well as the deployment of European research eInfrastructures such as Géant, PRACE, EUDAT, OpenAIRE and the European Grid Initiatiave (EGI). Previously he served as Head of Unit for “Finance” in the same directorate-general and as Head of the inter-Directorate General Task Force IT Planning Office at European Commission. He has a PhD degree in Formal Methods in Computer Science from Ecole Nationale Supérieure de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace (Toulouse, France), an MBA from Rotterdam School of Management (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and master degrees in Artificial Intelligence and Software Engineering from University of London (UK) and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain), respectively. 

Patrick Cocquet,  CEO of Cap Digital & RDA Council, France

Patrick Cocquet is the chief executive officer of Cap Digital cluster, a nonprofit organization that gathers more than 900 innovative companies and more than 70 research and education organisms, working in digital economy fields. Holder of a qualification from a French engineering high school, he started his carrier in a large group, where he led international standardization and development of products ranges for embedded networks and then for internet networks. In 2000, he founded a startup. He joined Cap Digital in 2006.
In June 2013, he was appointed as member of the Research Data Alliance Council. 

Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the National Library of Ireland

Dr Sandra Collins is the Director of the National Library of Ireland. Sandra is originally a mathematician who developed her passion for digital innovation and cultural heritage over 20 years in the public and private sectors. She was previously the founding Director of the Digital Repository of Ireland in the Royal Irish Academy, where in 2013 she was named as one of the Top 38 Irish Technology Women (Technology Voice, Intel), and in 2014 one of Silicon Republic's Top 100 Women in Technology. Sandra is an international advocate for Open Data and a member of the Irish Government’s Open Data Governance Board and the Irish National Steering Committee on Open Access Policy, as well as the Rapporteur for the Horizon 2020 EU Expert Advisory Group on Research Infrastructures and a partner in the Research Data Alliance EU.

Hilary Hanahoe, Director, Trust-IT Services Ltd. & RDA Secretariat

Hilary is a Trust-IT Director focusing on the company's international co-operation services & strategies coupled with high-level deployment of digital marketing and communication strategies for public & private clients. She has over 18 years of hands-on experience in scientifically co-ordinating complex international projects in ICT and, running and managing high-level, multi-platform events ranging from large scale conferences in Europe and globally to smaller, focused round table meetings on policy and ICT domain topics. Hilary has a deep commitment in building communications programmes that forge strong bonds and higher levels of involvement with organisations, decision-makers, influencers in the creation of ICT collaboration opportunities for European stakeholders. She served as Coordinator of the recent GRDI2020 initiative which produced a 10 year visionary roadmap on Global Research Data Infrastructures and successfully created a globally connected community of research data stakeholders. She currently coordinates the communication & outreach activities for the EUDAT, iMarine and RDA Europe on behalf of Trust-IT, is one of the European members of the RDA Secretariat, offering support on communication & outreach as well as on-line communication service deployment strategies. From 1st October 2014 she coordinates RDA-Europe – the European plug-in to the global Research Data Alliance. With a BA from UCD, Ireland she is always keen to maintain an exceptional client service and engaging stakeholders in new ways to build national, European and global co-operations.

Moritz Helmstaedter, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research

Born 1978 in Berlin, Germany, Moritz Helmstaedter obtained his Medical license and physics diploma from Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, Germany. Doctoral thesis with Nobel laureate Bert Sakmann and Post-Doc with Winfried Denk at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg. Brief interlude as strategy consultant with McKinsey. 2011-2014 Research Group leader and Principal Investigator at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Munich. Since August 2014 Scientific Member of the Max-Planck-Society and Director at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research.
For his research, Moritz Helmstaedter was honored with the Otto Hahn Medal (2009) and the Bernard Katz Lecture (2013). 

Edit Herczog, Managing Director of Vision & Values SPRL, Pennsylvania, USA

Edit Herczog is a managing director of Vision & Values SPRL. Between 2004-2014 she was a Member of the European Parliament VP for S&D group, and served in ITRE, Budget and Cont and IMCO committees. In the EP she worked on several legislation mostly in the field of ICT ,Energy and Industry. She was governor of European Internet Foundation, VP of European Energy Forum, and many other pan European organisation. From 2009 she is  chair of EU steering committee of Transatlantic Policy Network. Before the Enlargement, she was member of the Hungarian National Parliament (1998-2004), and she worked as a regional manager for Central Eastern Europe for National Starch and Chemicals, affiliate ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries), before Unilever Chemicals (1994-2004). After receiving her MSc degree as Food Engineer in 1985, she started her career in the University of Horticulture (today University Corvinus) as assistant lecturer (1985-1994). In her entire career she stands for science based progress, from research to final beneficiaries.

Tony Hey, Chief Data Scientist at the Science and Technology Facilities Council, UK

Tony Hey began his career as a theoretical physicist with a doctorate in particle physics from the University of Oxford in the UK. After a career in physics that included research positions at Caltech and CERN, and a professorship at the University of Southampton in England, he became interested in parallel computing and moved into computer science. In the 1980’s he was one of the pioneers of distributed memory message-passing computing and co-wrote the first draft of the successful MPI message-passing standard.

After being both Head of Department and Dean of Engineering at Southampton, Tony Hey escaped to lead the U.K.’s ground-breaking ‘eScience’ initiative in 2001. He recognized the importance of Big Data for science and wrote one of the first papers on the ‘Data Deluge’ in 2003. He joined Microsoft in 2005 as a Vice President and was responsible for Microsoft’s global university research engagements. He worked with Jim Gray and his multidisciplinary eScience research group and edited a tribute to Jim called ‘The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery.’ Hey left Microsoft in 2014 and spent a year as a Senior Data Science Fellow at the eScience Institute at the University of Washington. He returned to the UK in November 2015 and is now Chief Data Scientist at the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

In 1987 Tony Hey was asked by Caltech Nobel physicist Richard Feynman to write up his ‘Lectures on Computation’. This covered such unconventional topics as the thermodynamics of computing as well as an outline for a quantum computer. Feynman’s introduction to the workings of a computer in terms of the actions of a ‘dumb file clerk’ was the inspiration for Tony Hey’s attempt to write ‘The Computing Universe’, a popular book about computer science. Tony Hey is a fellow of the AAAS and of the UK's Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2005, he was awarded a CBE by Prince Charles for his ‘services to science.’

Leif Laaksonen, Director, CSC - IT Center for Science & RDA Europe 

Dr. Leif Laaksonen is a Director at CSC. He joined CSC in 1985 and was previously Development Manager. Leif Laaksonen is the Project Director for the RDA Europe project. Laaksonen contributed to the startup of FP7 projects PRACE, EGI_DS (European Grid Initiative Design Study) and was the Project Director for the e-IRGSP2 (e-Infrastructure Reflection Group Support Programme 2) project. He was the Chair of the e-Infrastructure Reflection Group (e-IRG) 2007 – 2010.

Eva Méndez Rodriguez, Associate Professor, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

Eva Méndez Rodriguez holds a PhD in Library and Information Sciences and she is an expert in metadata. She has been a lecturer at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) since 1997. She has been an active member of several international research teams on various standards for the Web. She is member Advisory Committee of the DCMI (Dublin Core Metadata Initiative) since 2005 and of OpenAire from 2015. During 2005-06 she was awarded a Fulbright Research Scholarship, as part of the European Union postdoc programme, at the Metadata Research Center (USA). She has taken part in and led several research projects and acted as advisor to many more in the fields related with standardization, metadata, semantic web, open data, digital repositories and libraries, in addition to information policies for development in several countries. Since 2006 she has been participating as an independent expert of the European Commission on the assessment and monitoring of various projects in different fields such as Digital Libraries and Open Science. She was Director of the University Master’s degree in Digital Libraries and Information Services (2009-2012). She is one of the original signatories of The Hague Declaration on Knowledge Discovery in the Digital Age. In 2015 she won the Young Researcher of Excellence award of her University, and from May this year she is Deputy Vice President for Strategy and Digital Education of the UC3M (Spain).

Barend Mons, Chair of the European Commission's High Level Expert Group for the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) & Professor in Biosemantics, Leiden University, Netherlands 

Barend Mons is a Molecular Biologist by training (PhD, Leiden University, 1986) and spent over 15 years in Malaria research. After that, he gained experience in computer-assisted knowledge discovery, which is still his research focus. He spent time with the European Commission (1993-1996) and with the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Dr. Mons has also co-founded several spin off companies. 
Currently, Dr. Mons is Professor in Biosemantics at the Human Genetics Department of Leiden University Medical Center, is Head of Node for ELIXIR-NL at the Dutch Techcentre for Life Sciences, Integrator Life Sciences at the Netherlands eScience Center, and Board member of the Leiden Centre of Data Science.
In 2014, Dr. Mons initiated the FAIR data initiative, and in 2015, he was appointed Chair of the European Commission's High Level Expert Group for the European Open Science Cloud, DG Research and Innovation.

Professor Michael James (Jim) Norton, FREng, BEng(Hons), Hon DEng, Hon LLD, CDir , CEng,  CITP FIET FBCS FIoD FRSA , UK Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng)

Jim Norton is an independent director, policy adviser and public speaker.   He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Academy of Engineering, where he is a member of its Engineering Policy and Finance Committees and chair of its Digital Systems Engineering Community of Practice. He is an external member of the Board of the UK Parliament's Office of Science & Technology (POST). Jim is a Governor of Coventry University, where he is also Chair Designate of the Audit & Risk Committee and Chair of its subsidiary company Serious Games International Ltd.  He is a Board Member and Trustee of the Foundation for Information Policy Research (FIPR).  Jim has held senior roles in the private sector (BT, Cable & Wireless and Deutsche Telekom, Institute of Directors, …) and in the public sector (Chief Executive - DTI Radiocommunications Agency and founder member Cabinet Office Performance & Innovation Unit, later known as the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit).  
More information is available on Jim’s personal website at: http://www.profjimnorton.com

Mark Parsons, Secretary General of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and an Associate Director of the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications, USA

Mark Parsons is the first Secretary General of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and an Associate Director of the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications. Prior to joining Rensselaer, Mark was a Senior Associate Scientist and the Lead Project Manager at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). He focuses on stewarding research data and making them more accessible and useful across different ways of knowing. He has been leading major data stewardship efforts for more than 20 years, and received the American Geophysical Union Charles S. Falkenberg Award as an advocate of robust data stewardship as a vital component of Earth system science and as an important profession in its own right.

John Wood CBE, FREng, Secretary-General, Association of Commonwealth Universities & RDA Council

Professor John Wood CBE, FREng is the Secretary-General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities and and High Level Expert Group on Scientific Data Information Chair & European Research Area Board Chair. He graduated from Sheffield University in metallurgy and went to Cambridge University for his Ph.D. (Darwin College) where he subsequently stayed on as Goldsmith’s Research Fellow at Churchill College. In 1994 he was awarded a higher doctorate from Sheffield and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Cluj-Napoca in Romania where he is also a “citizen of honour”. He has held academic posts at the Open University followed by Nottingham University where he was Dean of Engineering. From 2001-2007 he was seconded from Nottingham to the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils as Chief Executive where he was responsible for the Rutherford-Appleton and Daresbury Laboratories in addition to shareholdings in ESRF, ILL and the Diamond Light Source. During this period he was a visiting professor at Oxford University and still remains a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. He then joined Imperial College first as Principal of the Faculty of Engineering and subsequently as Senior International Advisor. He is still a visiting professor at Imperial College. He is a non-executive director of a number of companies including Bio-Nano Consulting and sits on the advisory board of the British Library. Currently he is on the board of the Joint Information Services Committee responsible for the UK academic computing network and chairs their Support for Research Committee. He is also involved with a number of charities including acting as chair of INASP. He was a founder member of the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures and became chair in 2004 where he was responsible for producing the first European Roadmap. He became the first chair of the European Research Area Board in 2008 responsible for high level advice to the European Commission and in 2009 produced a long term strategic vision entitled “Preparing Europe for a New Renaissance.” He was elected as a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1999 and is currently a member of their Council and International Committee. He was made a Commander of the British Empire in 2007 for "services to science," and in 2010 was made an “Officer of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany”.