Speakers - NAWA

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Łukasz Wojdyga, Director General, Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA)

Graduate of the Faculty of Law and Administration at the University of Warsaw. In the years 2008–2017, he cooperated with the Warsaw University of Technology, serving as Deputy Director and later Director of the Centre for International Cooperation. Wojdyga coordinated and directed international cooperation, including in particular the participation of the University in worldwide and European education and research projects, enrolment of international students and cooperation with foreign academic and business partners. In 2016, he was granted a fellowship of the United States Department of State under the EducationUSA Leadership Institutes’ project. He wrote several publications and held speeches at conferences and seminaries concerning internationalization of higher education and management of research and educational mobility of students, doctoral students and academic staff. In the beginning of 2017, he was appointed Deputy Director of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and thus Plenipotentiary of the Minister of Science and Higher Education for the establishment of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange NAWA.

Prof. Sebastian Kołodziejczyk, PhD, President of the Council of NAWA

Academic teacher at the Jagiellonian University. Chairman of the Council of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange since October 1, 2017. In 1994-1997 he studied philosophy and theology at the Jagiellonian University, the Pontifical Academy of Theology and at the University of Bristol (UK). From 2000 to 2002, he completed his doctoral studies at the University of Bristol, and then at the University of Oxford. In 2002 he defended his doctoral thesis, and in 2015 he obtained habilitation. From 2008 to 2011, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the City University of New York and Universite de Geneve. Since 2002, he has been employed at the Institute of Philosophy of the Jagiellonian University. Head of the Ontology Department of the Institute of Philosophy at the Jagiellonian University and coordinator of the Jagiellonian Interdisciplinary PhD Programme. He published several books and dozens of articles (among others, Conceptual boundaries of metaphysics (Monographs of the Foundation for Polish Science, two editions), Knowledge, Action, Pluralism. Contemporary Perspectives in Philosophy of Religion (with Janusz Salamon), Guide to metaphysics. Scientific editor of the series "Guides to philosophy" (Kraków: WAM). Editor-in-chief of the English-language magazine Polish Journal of Philosophy, deputy editor-in-chief of the Philosophical Quarterly. Member of the boards of scientific societies: Central European Society for Philosophy of Religion, Polish Philosophical Society, Polish Cognitive Science Society, and member and tutor within Collegium Invisibile and Artes Liberales Academy. Winner of many prizes and scholarships, including, among others, of Stanisław Estreicher Fund at Jagiellonian University, Adam Krzyżanowski Fund at Jagiellonian University, Foundation for Polish Science, Foundation of "Polityka" weekly magazine.


Prof. Małgorzata Kossowska, PhD, National Science Centre

Full professor in psychology, Head of the Social Psychology Unit and Center for Social Cognitive Studies in the Institute of Psychology at Jagiellonian University. Her areas of interest include the cognitive and motivational underpinnings of complex social phenomena (e.g. political beliefs, prejudice, stereotyping), cognitive rigidity and its relationships with problem solving and decision-making. She has authored over 80 papers published in Polish and international journals. She is the author and co-author of seven books about social cognition, closed-mindedness, stereotyping, prejudice and tolerance.

Vice-dean of the Philosophy faculty at Jagiellonian University (2012-2019), former head of the Institute of Psychology at Jagiellonian University (2008-2012); member of the NCN Council (2012-2020), between 2008-2014 President of the Polish Association of Social Psychology, from 2016 Member of the Polish Academy of Science, Member of the Executive Committee of the European Association of Social Psychology (European Liaison Officer).

She was an associated editor of the European Journal of Social Psychology and Journal of Social and Political Psychology. Currently she is a member of the editorial board of Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression and European Review of Social Psychology.


Prof. Jacek Jaworski, PhD, Deputy Director for Science of the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw

Head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology of the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw. Degrees: Professor of Biological Sciences, nomination by the President of the Republic of Poland (2014); DSc Habil in Molecular Biology, Warsaw University, Poland (2010); PhD in Molecular Neurobiology, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland (2001); MSc in Biology, Department of Genetics, Warsaw University, Poland (1996). He participated in many research trainings, e.g. Research visit with Dr. C. Sala, Instituto Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy (2011); Research visit with Dr. C.C. Hoogenraad, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, Holland (2006); Postdoctoral Associate with Prof. Morgan Sheng, Picower Center for Learning and Memory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Cambridge, MA, USA (2002-2005); Research training with Dr. J. Guzowski, ARL Division of Neural Systems, Memory and Aging, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA (2000). Laureate of numerous fellowships and awards, e.g. Prime Minister Award for habilitation thesis (2011); 2nd Division (Biological Sciences) of Polish Academy of Sciences Award for series of publications on MMP9 (together with teams of Prof. Kaczmarek and Dr. Wilczynski, 2009); Konorski Award for best publication of 2004 in the field of neuroscience (Kowalczyk et al., JCB, 2004, 167:209-213), Polish Neuroscience Society and Polish Academy of Sciences (2005).

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Prof. Kathrin Thedieck, PhD, Full Professor and Head of the Institute of Biochemistry, University of Innsbruck


Professor Dr. Kathrin Thedieck heads the Lab for Metabolic Signaling (metabolic-signaling.eu) and is professor and institute head for biochemistry at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. She is honorary professor at the University of Groningen (NL) and faculty member at the University of Oldenburg (DE). For more than 10 years she has been studying the kinase networks centered on phosphatidylinositide 3-kinases (PI3K) and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). In the frame of several European systems medicine projects, Thedieck and colleagues are developing systems approaches toward precision therapies for cancer and genetic diseases. Kathrin Thedieck holds a trinational diploma from the Ecole Superieure de Biotechnologie Strasbourg (ESBS, FR), jointly run by the Upper Rhine Universities. She did her postdoctoral training with Michael N. Hall (Basel University, CH), with whom she discovered mTOR interactors that control cancer cell survival. These efforts laid the foundation for her work done at Freiburg University (DE) where she started her own lab in 2008, and extended her efforts to develop systems approaches to the PI3K/mTOR network. From 2013 to 2019, Kathrin Thedieck was associate professor at the European Medical School (EMS), jointly run by the Universities of Oldenburg and Groningen, where she developed metabolic approaches to mTOR signaling.

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Prof. Bogumiła Kaniewska, Ph.D., D.Litt., Vice-President for Student Affairs at Adam Mickiewicz University

Professor of Polish Studies specialising in contemporary fiction. She was involved in research followed by several spectacular successes such as the acquisition and implementation of the POKL project called "Adjusting the model of education of Polish philology students to the challenges of the modern labour market". Between 2009-2012 prof. Kaniewska was responsible for modernizing the teaching process in this 15-million grant. She was also participating in international E-LOCAL project, co-created by universities from Belgium, Finland, Portugal and Hungary, and coordinated by the University of Bologna. Prof. Kaniewska represents AMU in EPICUR consortium, an assembly of universities from Poznan, Strasbourg, Freiburg, Amsterdam, Karlsruhe, Vienna, Saloniki and Mulhouse, which is one of 17. structures across European Union. Among others, Prof. Kaniewska has authored "First Person Narration in contemporary Polish Fiction", "Following Tristam Shandy's Steps" and "A Story Has Been Told". Moreover, she has written about works by Wiesław Myśliwski as well as authored popular scholarly works and co-authored a number of academic and school textbooks on literature and multilinguistic connections between literary works. As a literary critic, she publishes her articles in a magazine "Nowe Książki". Her scholarly interests include children fiction, which she also translates from English. Professor Kaniewska is the Head of the Department of Semiotics and Literature, a unit of the Institute of Polish Studies, AMU. Formerly she was the Dean of the Faculty of Polish Studies and Classical Languages. She participated in numerous conferences abroad, including the universities of Belgrad, Lund, Vilnius, Brno, Bologna, Coimbra, and Rovaniemi.


Prof. Juliane Besters-Dilger, PhD, Vice-President for Academic Affairs, University of Freiburg, EPICUR Consortium


Full professor of Slavic linguistics, Head of Department, Department of Slavonic studies, University of Freiburg, Germany, (2007 – 2014); Vice-president of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) (2003 – 2005), responsible for the Humanities and Social Sciences; Member of the Balkans Commission of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (1997 – 2007); Member of the Editorial Board of the scholarly journal “Wiener Slavistisches Jahrbuch” (1995 – 2014); Member of the Commission for Slavonic standard languages of the International Committee of Slavists (1995 – 2014);Full professor of Slavic linguistics, Head of Department, Department of Slavonic studies, University of Vienna, Austria (1994 – 2007);Lecturer for Slavonic linguistics at the University of Basel, Switzerland (1992 – 1994); Manager of the Centre of Interdisciplinary Studies and Research on Contemporary France, University of Freiburg, Germany (1990 – 1994); Scientific collaborator, then Head of the Scientific staff of the Academy of Sciences of Berlin in Berlin (West), now Academy of Sciences of Berlin and Brandenburg (1988 – 1990).


Dr. Joanna Kargul, Centre of New Technologies, University of Warsaw

Head of the Laboratory of Solar Fuels at the Centre of New Technologies of the University of Warsaw. She obtained a PhD in Biological sciences in 1999 from the University of Warwick, UK. Postdoctoral research conducted in the group of James Barber at Imperial College London, UK led to several discoveries of novel molecular mechanisms of photosynthetic adaptation to changing environment (e.g. dissecting the molecular components of state transitions) and refining the crystallographic structure of the PSII oxygen evolving complex. Habilitation in 2009 from the University of Warsaw (UW). Since 2011 Associate Professor having established an independent research group at the UW. In 2011 Prof. Kargul established a node for solar fuels research in Poland and has led several projects on application of robust natural light-harvesting molecular nanomachines for construction of biohybrid solar cells and solar-to-fuel devices. She has extensive experience and success in leading several national and international initiatives (e.g. Partner of ESF EuroSolarFuels and H2020 SUNRISE consortia) as well coordinating the bilateral Polish-Turkish consortium POLTUR/GraphESol which have all been focused on natural and semi-artificial solar energy conversion. She serves as the International Ambassador of the Biochemical Society and serves on several editorial and strategic boards of the funding bodies (e.g. IJBCB, J Nanotech, Grants Committee of the Biochemical Society, NAWA programme of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education). Prof. Kargul’s highly interdisciplinary research spans structural biology, biochemistry, plant physiology, electrochemistry, biophysics and material science. In her current research she focuses on structural and mechanistic aspects of the function and adaptation of the natural photosynthetic apparatus in extremophilic cyanobacteria and microalgae. She and her group apply this fundamental knowledge for construction of biohybrid solar-to-fuel devices incorporating photosystems and various conductive and semi-conductive materials (e.g. graphene, silicon, hematite etc.). Over 60 publications including papers in Plant Cell, JBC, Advanced Functional Materials, J Mat Chem A and C, RSC Adv, EMBO J, with the Google Scholar h-index: 17, >1990 citations w/o self-citations; >60 international invited talks including 4 plenary lectures.

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Dr. Stefan Baumann, Forschungszentrum Jülich

He is a team leader for oxygen-permeable membranes at the Institute of Energy and Climate Research – IEK-1 Materials Synthesis and Processing, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany. He received his diploma degree in metallurgy and materials engineering focussing on glass and ceramics at RWTH Aachen University in 1998. He then joined the Institute of Ceramic Components in Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University working on different topics in technical ceramics including thermal shock behaviour of novel refractories earning his Ph.D. in 2007. Since 2006, he is working at IEK-1 on materials synthesis and processing of gas separation membranes. From 2012 to 2015 he was appointed as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Chemical & Materials Engineering at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. The research focus lays on materials and components for energy efficient gas separation at elevated temperatures using ceramic membranes. These processes are of particular interest in the development of synthetic fuels and chemicals enabling a future circular economy based on renewable energy. In this context, Stefan Baumann is representing Forschungszentrum Jülich in the European consortium SUNRISE – solar energy for a circular economy.

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Prof. Maciej Żylicz, PhD, Foundation for Polish Science

President of the Executive Board of the Foundation for Polish Science. Professor of molecular biology and biochemistry. He worked as university teacher at the University of Gdańsk in the years 1980–1999 (and held the position of the vice-rector for research from 1990 until 1993) and at the University of Warsaw in the years 1999–2005. He was researcher at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw from 1999 until 2016. He has held the role of the President of the Executive Board of the Foundation for Polish Science since 2005. Member of numerous Polish and foreign academies of sciences and winner of a variety of scientific awards (including the Prize of the Foundation for Polish Science). He received honorary doctorates from the University of Wrocław, the University of Gdańsk and the Jagiellonian University. Ordinary member of the Polish Academy of Sciences and corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was voluntary advisor to President Bronisław Komorowski in the years 2010–2015. He was appointed chair of the team responsible for monitoring and implementing the reform of higher education and science by the minister of science and higher education in 2019.


Dr. Ewelina Knapska, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences

She obtained MSc degrees in biology and psychology from the University of Warsaw. In 2001 she started working with Tomasz Werka and Leszek Kaczmarek, studying the heterogeneity of the amygdala in control of positive and negative emotions. After obtaining her PhD from the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology PAS in 2006, Ewelina moved to Ann Arbor, USA for a postdoc in the laboratory of Prof. Stephen Maren at the University of Michigan. She moved back to Poland in 2008, getting a stipend from the Foundation for Polish Science and becoming an assistant professor at the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology PAS. In 2012, she obtained habilitation (DSc) and became an associate professor and the head of the newly created Laboratory of Neurobiology of Emotions. In 2016 she received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council for studying the role of the amygdala in control of socially transferred emotions. Since 2018 she is Vice-President of Centre of Excellence for Neural Plasticity and Brain Disorders (BRAINCITY) in the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology.

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Prof. Mikołaj Bojańczyk, PhD, University of Warsaw

Mikołaj Bojańczyk is a Polish computer scientist and logician, working at the University of Warsaw. He is interested in algorithms for logical problems, with a particular emphasis on questions that involve finite automata. He is the recipient of two European Research Council grants (Starting and Consolidator). 

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Dr. Mateusz Strzelecki, University of Wrocław

He is a paraglacial geomorphologist and polar scientist at the Institute of Geography and Regional Development, University of Wroclaw. He received his Ph.D. in Physical Geography at Durham University, UK and worked as a post-doctoral researcher in Norway, Germany and Poland. In 2016 he was appointed the head of the UWr Polar Station in Spitsbergen. His research interests focus around mechanisms controlling the development of polar coastal zones, paraglacial sediment cascades and extreme processes transforming cold region landscapes. He works in Svalbard, Greenland, Iceland, Canada, Scandinavia and Antarctic region.

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Prof. Agnieszka Zalewska, PhD, Henryk Niewodniczański Institute of Nuclear Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences

Professor Agnieszka Zalewska is a Polish physicist specialising in experimental particle physics. She obtained her master’s degree and her PhD at the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry of the Jagiellonian University. She joined Henryk Niewodniczański Institute of Nuclear Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences in Cracow in 1971, where she has since then completed all the stages of academic career, from assistant to professor. In addition, she worked at foreign particle physics laboratories in Europe, Japan and the United States for eight years altogether. She is an active member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences. Prof. Agnieszka Zalewska’s studies cover a wide range of issues in the area of particle physics and applied experimental methods. She has published her results in more than 400 articles. In particular, they concern hadron physics, e+e- interactions at high energies and neutrino physics, as well as pioneering work on silicon vertex detectors with VLSI electronics, which were carried out at CERN in the 1980s and 1990s. Agnieszka Zalewska has been responsible for a number of particle physics projects in Poland. She was the leader of Polish teams involved in major international experiments and in projects financed by the European Union. Moreover, she has been a member of several international scientific committees and advisory expert panels. She was the first female and the first non-founding state president of the CERN Council – she held that position from January 2013 until December 2015. She is currently a member of the Identification Committee at the ERC (European Research Council) Scientific Council and the Polish academic delegate to and member of the Executive Board of ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures).

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Izabela Żmudka, Deputy Director of the National Centre for Research and Development

Izabela Żmudka is a manager with diversified experience - in public companies, local government entities, private business and non-governmental organizations. She directly supervised the work of a few different public institutions, several research institutes, companies and foundations. She is currently the Deputy Director of the National Centre for Research and Development.

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Dr. Piotr Dardziński, President of Łukasiewicz Research Network

The creator of a revolutionary law about Applied PhDs and coordinator of the reform of the polish research institutes. Developed a new concept of their functioning and then carried out the process of creating the Łukasiewicz Research Network. Since April 1st  the president of the Łukasiewicz Research Network, the third largest research network in Europe, consisting of research institutes providing attractive, comprehensive and competitive business solutions in the fields of automation, chemicals, biomedicine, ICT, materials, and advanced manufacturing. In years 2015- 2019, undersecretary and then secretary of state at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, responsible for science and business cooperation. He supervised the government agencies: The Nation Center for Research and Development, The National Agency for Academic Exchange and the National Information Processing Institute. As a member of the Innovation Team, he supervised inter-ministerial works on the first and second innovation act, which resulted in rising R&D tax breaks from 30% up to 100% or 150%. The new laws significantly improved R&D expenditures in Poland. He graduated with honours from the Faculty of Law and Administration at the Jagiellonian University and studied at the University of Hamburg.  A scholarship holder at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland and  a graduate of the prestigious managerial program at IESE Business School in Barcelona.

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Prof. Magdalena Król, PhD, Warsaw University of Life Sciences

One of the youngest professors in Poland (37 years old), head of the Division of Physiology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. She specialises in experimental oncology. She obtained a prestigious grant of the European Research Council (ERC) in 2016. The purpose of the study was to develop an innovative method of delivering drugs to solid tumours. It was showcased by the ERC in 2017 among the ten best grant projects from among over 7000 that had been funded by the Council in the course of its ten years’ existence. Prof. Król has held numerous research fellowships in the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and the USA. She has received numerous awards, including the START Scholarship of the Foundation for Polish Science (2011 and 2012), the Scholarship of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for outstanding young researchers (2012), the Young Investigator Scholarship in Veterinary Medicine funded by Pfizer Animal Health (2012), Polityka weekly’s Scientific Award in ‘Science’ category (2013), and L’Oreal-UNESCO ‘For Women in Science’ postdoctoral fellowship (2013). She won the poll ‘Poles with Spirit’ in 2014 and became Gazeta Wyborcza daily’s ‘Person of the Year 2016’ in the Science category. In addition, she is the head of the biotechnology start-up Cellis.


Krzysztof Gulda, Member of the Board of UWRC Ltd.

Physicist, entrepreneur, strategist in public and privet sector, consultant for international organizations and top consulting companies, who has gained unique, multidisciplinary experience in all sectors of the knowledge triangle. Major player in innovation and research policy in Poland from 2003 to 2012 as a Director in the Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Science and Higher Education, responsible for strategy and support measures for innovation, research and higher education. Former vice-chair of the European Research Area and Innovation Committee (ERAC). Since 2016 Council Member of the National Centre for Research and Development in Poland. Since study in close relation with University of Warsaw, at present Board Member of the UWRC Ltd. – university SPV, established to support commercialization of research result, in particular through creation of spin-off companies.

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Dr. Maciej Wieczorek, President of the Management Board at Celon Pharma S.A.

He has many years of experience in the pharmaceutical sector. Maciej Wieczorek has held managerial positions in pharmaceutical companies, where his responsibilities included i.a. development of product strategies, as well as research and development of new formulations. In 2002 he created from scratch a modern and dynamically developing research and development company – Celon Pharma S.A. He is the author of several patents used in the pharmaceutical sector, as well as of successful implementations of drugs. He currently also holds managerial functions in other bio-pharmaceutical entities, e.g.: Mabion S.A., i.e. a Polish public company developing technologies for the creation of monoclonal antibodies. He graduated from the Department of Mechanical Technology at the Warsaw University of Technology, the Industry Organisation and Management faculty. In 1999 he graduated from management studies run under the Warsaw Executive MBO programme, organised jointly by the Warsaw School of Economics and the University of Minnesota (USA). In 2008 he received the title of Doctor of Medicine at the Medical University of Lodz (in the field of medical biology).


Prof. Jonathan Heddle, PhD, Malopolska Centre of Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University

Jonathan Heddle did his PhD in enzymology at Leicester University, UK working with Prof. Tony Maxwell on DNA topoisomerases. He moved with the lab to The John Innes Centre, UK where he worked for a short time as a Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellow. He was then awarded a prestigious Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Special Postdoctoral Fellowship to work in Japan where he was based in the X-ray crystallography lab of Prof, Jeremy Tame. He subsequently set up his own laboratory at Tokyo Institute of Technology where he started bionanoscience research, which he continued when he moved as a PI to RIKEN, Wako campus near Tokyo. He took up his current, full time position at Malopolska Centre of Biotechnology in January 2016 and has been successful in building a lab that aims to look at the structure and function of both natural and artificial nanomachines and structures. He retains an interest in DNA gyrase looking at unusual gyrases and their novel inhibitors. He is also working on several projects to build DNA-based nanorobotics. He also initiated a successful and ongoing project to build artificial protein cage structures. The most recent of these was published in “Nature”.
Prof. Daniel Mège, PhD, Space Research Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences He is a geologist active in the field of the evolution of the Earth and other planets. He received the MSc degree in geophysics and internal geodynamics in 1991 at University Paris-Sud, Orsay, then a PhD degree in planetary sciences in 1994. In charge of the NASA Regional Planetary Image Facility at University of Paris-Sud in 1995-96, he was also a postdoc at DLR and at University of Nevada, Reno. He was then appointed as assistant professor at Blaise-Pascal University, Clermont-Ferrand, before obtaining an associate professor position at Pierre and Marie Curie University in 1997. In 2001 he obtained his habilitation in comparative planetology, and moved to University of Nantes in 2004. In 2011 he was a Visiting Professor at Institute of Geological Sciences PAS, where he was in charge of developing a planetary geoscience research group supported by FNP until 2015. Since 2015 he is with the Space Research Centre PAS, where he is in charge of developing planetary geosciences in relation with space exploration missions. Appointed by the European Space Agency as a Guest Investigator of the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) mission, and again supported by FNP, he is  developing a new research group dedicated to the evolution of volcanic and tectonic regions of Mars, and their control on crustal degassing and ore resources using TGO data and other datasets.

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Tomasz Wojdacz, M.D., PhD, Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, Polish Returns scholarship holder

He received Master Degree in Biotechnology from Salesian University in Katowice and PhD in Medicine from faculty of Health Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark. He has been conducting research in internationally recognized institutions such as Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia, Institute of Biomedicine, Aarhus, Denmark, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden and Southampton University, UK. Before moving his research to Pomeranian Medical University, he held a position of Associate Professor and Maria Skłodowska-Curie fellow at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Denmark. Dr. Wojdacz main interest is translational cancer research, with focus on relatively young fields of clinical epigenetics and personalized medicine. He successfully commercialized the technology that he developed which now is entering diagnostic laboratories worldwide. Dr Wojdacz is also actively engaging in activities aiming to promote entrepreneurship in academic environment and support of the collaboration between academic research and medical industry.


Dr. Małgorzata Pilot, Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences/University of Lincoln, Polish Returns scholarship holder

Małgorzata Pilot is an evolutionary biologist specialising in mammalian evolutionary genomics. She received MSc degrees in environmental protection (1999) and mathematics (2004) at Warsaw University, and a PhD degree in population genetics (2005) at the Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences. Following her PhD, she worked as a visiting researcher at the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, the University of California, Los Angeles and the National Human Genome Research Institute of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, with the support from the "START" fellowship awarded by the Foundation for Polish Science. In 2007-2009 she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Durham University (UK), funded by the "KOLUMB" fellowship from the Foundation for Polish Science. In 2009, she has been awarded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellowship from the European Commission to carry out an independent research project at the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Durham University. In 2012-2019 she worked as an academic lecturer and research group leader at the School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, UK. In August 2019 she took up her current position as a research group leader at the Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences, funded by the "Polish Returns" fellowship from the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA). Dr Pilot's research is focused on reconstructing micro-evolutionary processes in mammalian species using genomic data. Her current projects are focused on the evolutionary consequences of inter-specific hybridisation and the identification of factors resulting in extinction or survival of mammalian populations and species.

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Prof. Tomasz Szapiro, PhD, Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland, Chairman of the Scientific Committee for International Promotion of Polish Science, NAWA

Chair of the Accreditation and Rankings Committee of the Conference of Rectors of Academic Schools in Poland. Full professor at Warsaw School of Economics; its rector in the years 2012–2016. Professor at the Institute of Contemporary Civilization Problems at Warsaw University of Technology and Adjunct Professor of International Business Studies at Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA. Member of the Board of the Main Council for Science and Tertiary Education and chair of the Council’s Education Committee. Member of the Council of the National Science Centre. Chair of the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange NAWA’s Scientific Committee for International Promotion of Polish Science. Chair of the jury of Polityka weekly’s scholarship programme. His studies are centred around methods of decision analysis in economics and management. He is the author or co-author of six monographs and more than 100 articles and conference papers published among others in Operations Research, IEEE Transactions on System Man and Cybernetics and the European Journal of Operations Research; he is also co-editor of the Annals of Operations Research.


Prof. Roman Cieślak, PhD, Rector of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities SWPS

Roman Cieślak, Professor of Psychology at the Faculty of Psychology of SWPS University, Poland. Between 2012-2016 Vice-Rector for Research, and from 2016 Rector of SWPS University. Served as visiting professor and Director for Research at the Trauma, Health, and Hazards Center of the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, USA. Director of numerous projects financed by the European Commission, National Science Center, and the National Center for Research and Development of Poland. At SWPS University he has founded the StresLab, whose team of researchers create, implement and evaluate the effectiveness of Internet psychological interventions in the areas of health and wellbeing. He is member of several editorial boards of international periodicals, and boards of international scientific societies. Member of the Committee Psychological of the Polish Academy of Sciences, and Vice-President of the Polish Educational Union. Board member of the European Association of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Treatment.

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Dr. Justyna Pielecka-Fortuna, CEO of the Polonium Foundation

She is an experienced neuroscientist and manager with international and managerial experience attained both in academia, industry and non-profit sector. Currently, she works as chief executive officer at Polonium Foundation. She holds a Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience awarded from the Neuroscience Graduate Program, University of Virginia (UVa), Charlottesville, USA and a Master Engineer degree obtained from Technical University of Lódź, Poland. She initially trained in the field of Biotechnology in Poland and in her fourth year she received a fellowship to conduct the research part of her master thesis at UVa, USA. After a fruitful year at in Charlottesville, UVa, she got admitted to Neuroscience Graduate Program at UVa for a PhD position. Following completion of her dissertation, she was granted prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship to convey her research project at the University of Göttingen, Germany. During her scientific career, she received numerous awards, published 14 manuscripts and presented her original research findings at many international conferences. Her graduate and postgraduate research made a significant contribution to the field of neuroendocrinology, brain plasticity and stroke. Before joining Polonium Foundation, she worked for Charles River Laboratories, where she led cross-functional project teams to carry out multiple pre-clinical studies, crucial for the drug development of novel treatments for various central nervous system disorders.

Anna Ślązak, Head of the Science Department, Polish Press Agency

 Anna Ślązak has a degree in philosophy and journalism. Currently she is an editor and a science writer for the Polish Press Agency (PAP) and for PAP’s news service Science in Poland. For the last few years she has been the head of PAP’s Science Department. She has authored numerous news stories in the field of science and scientific research as well as its financial, legal and organizational aspects. She specializes in environment issues, climate change, anthropology and bioethics. She is interested in international science news, but she also keeps up with Polish science institutions and laboratories. She follows the science itself as well as related topics such as the scientists' attitude to science popularization or changes in media coverage of science-related topics.

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Prof. Aleksandra Ziembińska-Buczyńska, PhD, Director of the Centre for Science Popularization, Silesian University of Technology

Professor Silesian University of Technology – microbiologist, academic teacher, science communicator. Since 2004 she has worked in Environmental Biotechnology Department at Silesian University of Technology.  She performs research in the field of microbial communities relationships in natural and engineered environments using classical microbiology and molecular biology tools. She is also interested in microorganisms usage in bioremediation processes and biotechnological production. Since 2017 director of the Science Popularization Center of the Silesian University of Technology, the first academic unit focused on science popularization in Poland. Awarded with Popularizer of Science 2018 (category: scientist) by Polish Press Agency and The Ministry of Science and Higher Education. A member of The Society of Spokesmen of Science and the Science Popularization Board Polish Academy of Science.
Christian Müller, Deputy Secretary General, DAAD He works at the German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD) since January 2002. Currently, he is Deputy Secretary General and oversees, as well, the DAAD Berlin Office. From 2014 until June 2018, he was Director of the newly created department of strategy at DAAD head office. He served at DAAD Brazil from 2009 to 2014, as director of the DAAD branch office in Rio de Janeiro. Simultaneously, he was President of the Board of the German Center for Science and Innovation (DWIH), São Paulo. Prior to this appointment, he was head of the Division “Communication and Marketing” at the DAAD in Bonn, leading the secretariat of the consortium GATE-Germany. In former years, he worked as university lecturer for German Language and Literature in Portugal (Aveiro) and Brazil (Campinas, Rio de Janeiro) as well as in the training of experts in development cooperation. His academic background is in Social Sciences and German Studies at the Universities of Göttingen and Bonn.

Vivienne 3 bio 

Vivienne Stern, Director, Universities UK International


Vivienne Stern is the Director of Universities UK International (UUKi) which represents UK universities around the world and works to enable them to flourish internationally. Prior to her role in UUKi, Vivienne was Head of Political Affairs at Universities UK. In this role she led the sector’s response to several major pieces of legislation relating to universities, including the Higher Education Act 2004. She previously worked in the UK Parliament for the Chair of the Education and Skills Select Committee, and as a higher education policy specialist working on topics including quality, student experience, innovation and university-business links. She is a Director of Universities UK; a member of the Board of the UK India Research and Innovation Initiative and the Strategic Partnerships in Higher Education Fund; she is a member of the British Council’s Education Advisory Group and a number of other Boards and Committees. She is a graduate in English Literature from the University of Cambridge.

Irina Ferencz, Deputy Director, ACA Irina Ferencz (née Lungu) works for the Brussels-based Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) since 2008, currently as Deputy Director, having served in various roles previously. Through her research, publications and project management at ACA, Irina has developed a specific interest and expertise in the area of international student and staff mobility in the European context (data collections, trends, policies), as well as in planning, monitoring and assessing internationalisation activities at institutional and national level (strategic development and enhancement, KPIs, benchmarking, etc.). Currently, she is also: a PhD candidate at Ghent University, Center for Higher Education Governance Ghent (CHEGG), researching internationalisation and organisational identity in higher education; an occasional reviewer for two higher education journals; and a member of the Publications Committee of the European Association for International Education (EAIE). Irina holds an MSc degree in European Politics and Policies (KU Leuven, Belgium) and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and European Studies (Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai, Romania). She is a Romanian national, speaks several languages, including the less known ‘Larish’ (a language of the under-two-year-olds), and calls Belgium ‘home’.

uwe brandenberg

Dr. Uwe Brandenburg, Managing Director, Global Impact Institute, Associate Professor, Rovira i Virgili University in Tarragona, EAIE expert

He holds a PhD from the University of Bristol in Globalisation Studies, an MscEcon from the University of Wales at Swansea and an M.A. in Islamic Sciences from the WWU Münster. He is currently the Managing Director of the Global Impact Institute in Prague and Associate Professor for Regional Cooperation and Impact of Higher Education at the University Rovira I Virgili in Tarragona, Spain. Prior to that he was Managing Partner of CHE Consult and CHE Consult Prague. He was also Director International at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin for eight years. Uwe has published widely on the topic of internationalization such as the much debated article with Hans de Wit on the end of internationalization in 2011 in the Boston IHE. He was the head author and team leader for both the Erasmus Impact Study (EIS, 2014) and the follow-up EIS Regional Analysis (EIS RA, 2016), the European Voluntary Service Impact Study (2017). He frequently presents on international conferences around the globe. He also frequently coaches individuals in leadership positions, teaches at different universities and conducts research. Uwe currently focuses his work on impact and Internationalisation in Higher Education for Society (IHES).Uwe gave a TEDx talk on the Magic of Change in March 2019 which is also on his youtube channel. Uwe is a fervent believer in the value of change based on his personal experience as well as professional and academic insights. His research interests are internationalisation for society, the influence of technological developments on internationalisation and the assessment of impact.

Agnieszka Stefaniak-Hrycko, Deputy Director, NAWA

Graduate of the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences and Resocialisation and the Faculty of Polish Studies of the University of Warsaw as well as of postgraduate studies in administration and management at the University of Warsaw, Kozminski University in Warsaw and Collegium Civitas. In the years 2003-2017 she worked at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, first in expert and later in managerial positions. She was responsible for matters related to the ministry’s cooperation with scholarly and academic circles, the Sejm and the Senate as well as to the promotion of research and higher education in Poland and abroad. In subsequent years, as Deputy Director of the Department of Science at the Ministry, she dealt with funding international cooperation projects as well as programmes and undertakings of the Minister of Science. She has authored or co-authored the Minister’s programmes supporting young scientists and scholars in the areas of humanities and social sciences as well as devoted to international cooperation and social responsibility of science. She was granted scholarship in the programme International Visitor Leadership Program of the US Department of State. At NAWA, she has been responsible for creating programmes for PhD candidates and researchers since the Agency’s foundation.