Keynote speakers

Foto Jacqueline Broerse Prof.dr. Jacqueline Broerse is professor of ‘innovation and communication in the health and life sciences, in particular addressing issues of diversity and social inclusion’ at the Athena Institute, VU University, Amsterdam. She holds a master’s in Biomedical Sciences (cum laude) and obtained her doctorate in 1998 at the VU University with a thesis on participatory approaches to research priority setting in developing countries. Her research is focused on methodology development for realizing a science-society dialogue in new and emerging (system) innovations in the health and life sciences. She has developed methodologies to facilitate patient participation in health research and to realize multi-stakeholder participation in national health policy.
She is a member of the board of the national research school Science, Technology and Modern Culture (WTMC). She coordinates, and lectures in, various courses on health policy and health communication. In addition, she is a member/chair of several educational boards of the School of Life Sciences at the VU University. Furthermore, she has been appointed Principle Investigator at the national Centre for Society and Life Sciences.



Foto Adrian Curaj Adrian Curaj is a professor of Higher Education and Research Management and Director of the Centre for Strategic Management and Quality Assurance in Higher Education at the POLITEHNICA University of Bucharest. He is the General Director of the Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation since September 2010. He was acting as the Director of the Executive Agency for Higher Education and Research Funding in Romania, 2000-2007 and 2008-2009. During 2007-2008 he was acting as the Advisor on Science, Technology as well as ICT and e-Governance of the Romanian Prime Minister, and during 2009-2010 he was acting as the President of the National Authority for Scientific Research, the State Secretary for Research, Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sport in Romania. He was w orking as a consultant with World Bank, UNESCO, UNIDO and EC for studies in Tertiary Education, Science and Innovation, and Foresight. He has been a member of the External Advisory Board PEOPLE, General Directorate for Research, European Commission since 2007.
He was acting as the project leader of the first National Foresight in S&T, in Romania, (2005-2006); coordinated the “Quality and Leadership for Higher Education-the Romanian Higher Education in 2025” a forward-looking project (2009-2011). He has been the director or country coordinator of 25 international research projects, most of them financed by the European Research Framework Programme (FP6 and FP7).
Adrian Curaj has published in reputed scientific journals as well as many books, most of them in research management and foresight. Most recently, he was one of the editors of the book: European Higher Education at the Crossroads – Between the Bologna Process and National Reform (Part 1 and Part 2, 2012).
One of the inventions he is co-author received a gold medal at the Geneva Invention Salon
Adrian Curaj was twice awarded with Romanian National Distinctions, For Merits-Cavalier in 1999, and For Merits-Officer in 2008 for his contributions to Science and Innovation.



Foto Michael Cuthill Professor Michael Cuthill has just taken up a new position as Chair, Regional Community Development at the University of Southern Queensland. For seven years prior to this he was Director of the UQ Boilerhouse Community Engagement Centre, at the University of Queensland. He has also worked in local government as head of Social Policy and Research at the Gold Coast City Council, serving a resident population of 500,000 people. Michael has published extensively on topics such as community capacity building, social sustainability, community engaged research, andsocial resilience.

His work has been recognised through recent invitations to speak at the United Nations 7th Global Forum on Re-Inventing Democracy in Vienna, and as a keynote presenter at both the International University Civic Engagement Conference in Dublin and the University Community Engagement Conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He is Vice-President of the Asia Pacific University Community Engagement Network, and was the University of Queensland delegate to the Australian University Community Engagement Alliance for six years. Michael is a passionate believer that universities have an important role to play in helping build just and sustainable communities.



Foto Sophie Duncan Sophie Duncan is the Deputy Director of the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement. She manages the overall work of the centre including communications, partnerships and NCCPE projects. Sophie has over 15 years experience of working in public engagement, primarily managing national projects. Initially trained as a physicist, she started her career at the Science Museum in London where her work included exhibition development and public programmes. She then became a programme manager with Science Year, a UK campaign to inspire and support young people to engage with science. Following this she joined the BBC, where she managed the creation and delivery of national learning campaigns, including Breathing Places – a campaign to inspire people to do one thing to help wildlife.  Sophie is a passionate advocate of public engagement, and is committed to supporting others to get involved.



Foto Willem Foorthuis Willem Foorthuis was educated in history and geography and worked as a teacher and researcher. Since ever, his main interest was regional identity, quality and innovation connected with education and research. He initiated and carried out numerous rural innovation projects in the Netherlands and abroad. In addition, he is winner of various innovation awards mostly connected with the concept of the Kenniswerkplaats  ( He is Professor Regional Transition UAS (University of applied sciences) Van Hall Larenstein / Wageningen University and Research Centre and initiated the national Network for Regional Transition Laboratories (Kenniswerkplaatsen) and the Program director Regional Transition GKC/Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation.



Foto Budd Hall Budd Hall is the Co-Director of the UNESCO Chair in Community-Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, Secretary of the Global Alliance on Community Engaged Research and a Professor of Community Development in the Faculty of Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria in Canada.  He has been working on issues of participatory and community based research since the early 1970s.  He is a grandfather of two, Father of a teacher and a blues musician and is married to a terrific academic, Darlene Clover. He is also a poet.



Foto Thierry Gissinger Thierry Gissinger, manager of the Environment programme of the Fondation de France which prefers a citizen-based approach to preserve the environment. The Foundation provides funding to local projects that help citizens to interact and engage in actions to protect their own environment. This program has existed since 1997. Moreover the Foundation funds scientific research projects that involve multidisciplinary research teams to study interactions between human activities and ecosystem changes in identified territories. Two approaches are developed:

  • a territorial approach, with multi-disciplinary research on the coastline with the involvement of users and results that can be used by managers
  • a thematic approach, with multi-disciplinary research seeking to understand the effects of agriculture on the local environment in order to propose ways to lower production impacting ecosystems


Foto Tim Göbel Tim Goebel is vice president of marketing, strategic projects and training at the Zeppelin University (ZU) in Friedrichshafen. Zeppelin University is positioning itself as a college of business, culture and politics as a socially responsive university that implemented a variety of demand-driven projects in the context of community outreach activities and community-based research. Tim Göbel is responsible among other things, for the winst of the competition as a “university in society” in 2011 by the Association for German Science and the Mercator Foundation for the ZU-concept of the “University Social Responsibility”. With this the ZU establishes an integrated system of socially-oriented science-based project implementation with businesses, social organizations, municipalities, political parties, cultural institutions and to all who are interested in working with the ZU.



Foto Dr. Volker Meyer Guckel Dr. Volker Meyer-Guckel joined in 1999 the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany) as Senior Manager for programmes focussing on Higher Education Reform as well as Change Management in Science and Research. In 2005 he was promoted to Head of the Programmes and Funding Department and Deputy Secretary General. The Stifterverband acts as private industry’s joint initiative for supporting research and higher education and we are advisor for political decision-making. It represents more than 3,500 companies, business associations and individuals. Stifterverband together with Mercator Foundation and in cooperation with the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Foundation in Germany has initiated a competition amongst HEI in Germany to promote their Third Mission activities. The aim is to get them to engage in campus community partnerships, community service and service learning. Whereas in many other countries, campus community partnerships are common ways of collaboration between universities and their larger communities, in Germany universities are just about to begin with adopting this idea. With the competition, Stifterverband and Mercator Foundation have found six good practice-examples of German universities (chosen from 78 applications) that have successfully started to get involved with service learning, outreach activities, and civic engagement.



Eva Nourney, Science Analyses, Science Communication; research Coordination, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany



Foto Ching Mey See Ching Mey See is a Professor at the University Sains Malaysia. She is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Division of Industry and Community Network. Professionally she is an educational and counselling psychologist. Nationally, she sits on the Lembaga Kaunselor (Board for Counsellors) in Malaysia since 2000.  She is the founding President of the Penang Counselling and Psychology Association (PACP). On the international front, Prof. See is currently the President of the Association of Psychological and Educational Counsellors of Asia-Pacific (APECA), a Board Member of the Asia-Pacific Association of Psychotherapists (APAP), a Council Member of the National Board of Certified Counsellors International (NBCC-I) and its Regional Director for NBCC Malaysia, an Executive Council Member of the International Association for Counselling (IAC), and Regional Vice-President for Asia of the International Play Association (IPA). Prof. See believes in the spirit of community engagement and works hard to make a difference in the community. Her areas of interest grew from her passion for helping the less unfortunate and the disadvantaged. She has been involved, since its founding in 1987, with a Centre (Lions REACh), run by the Association of Resource and Education for Autistic Children where she remains as the Volunteer Principal to this day.



Foto Rajesh Tandon Rajesh Tandon is the founder Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), a voluntary organization that provides support to grassroots initiatives in South Asia. He remains the organisation’s chief official. In the last twenty-five years, he has conducted research, training and educational work on a wide variety of topics in order to strengthen the capacities and institutional mechanisms of voluntary development organizations in India and other developing countries.


Foto Irene Vallentinuzzi Irene Vallentinuzzi started working as a Project Assistant in the Unit ‘Ethics and Gender’, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission, in January 2012. She is in charge of the management of Science in Society projects, in particular with respect to public engagement with science and science communication dealing directly with civil society representatives. Prior to joining the European Commission Ms Vallentinuzzi gained working experience in the private and public sector in the United Stated, Italy and Belgium. In 2010, she worked as a Programme Manager for a centre of expertise on the EU’s external policies in Brussels. Thereafter, she worked as a Coordination Assistant for an Italian NGO in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ms Vallentinuzzi holds an M.A. in EU International Relations and Diplomacy from the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium, a M.A. in International Relations and European Integration from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan, Italy, and she studied also for one year at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques, Toulouse, France.




Foto Saskia Visser SaskiaVisser is the co-ordinator of the Science Shop Language, Culture and Communication, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. In various research and outreach projects in the field of language, culture and communication this Science shop tries to establish contact between research and public to be able to share knowledge and work together towards solutions.  Multilangualism, language learning, readers and literature, communicating issues of health and wellbeing to various groups are important themes. Last summer the Science Shops of Groningen together reached out to the public in a social event involving a quiz and bookcrossing session. A fun evening led to good conversations and new contacts. That’s an experience worth sharing with you all!


Foto Arjen Wals Arjen Wals is a Professor of Social Learning and Sustainable Development. He also is a UNESCO Chair in the same field. Wals has worked at Wageningen University since 1992. His teaching and research focuses on learning processes that contribute to a more sustainable world. A central question is how to create conditions that support new forms of learning that take full advantage of the diversity, creativity and resourcefulness that is all around us, but so far remains largely untapped in our search for a world that is more sustainable than the one currently in prospect. Ever since he co-designed “Action Research & Community Problem Solving” in inner-city Detroit schools, while a student himself at the University of Michigan (1987-1991), he has been interested in community-engaged research and research as activism. Popular books he (co)edited include: ‘Higher Education and the Challenge of Sustainability (Kluwer Academic, 2004), Creating Sustainable Environments in our Schools (Trentham, 2006)  and Social Learning towards a Sustainable World (Wageningen Academic, 2007). He is also a co-editor of “Learning for Sustainability in Times of Accelerating Change” which will be available in the June of 2012.


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