Meet the Governing Board

This page presents the current members of the EIT Governing Board. It lists each member’s biography, as well as their declaration of interests and confidentiality undertaking.

Chairman of the EIT Governing Board


Current position: Chair of the Sanquin Board

Currently Dirk Jan holds the Chair of the Sanquin Foundation. Sanquin operates the national blood supply system in the Netherlands, houses a world leading research institute on immunology, hematology and transfusion healthcare and owns and manages several businesses in products and services in the area of plasma based pharmaceuticals, reagents and diagnostics. Sanquin stimulates innovations through its Sanquinnovate Inc

Since July 2018, Dirk Jan has been the chair of the Governing Board of the EIT. Dirk Jan has several supervisory roles, in Gasunie BV (gas transport services in the Netherlands), FMO (the Dutchdevelopment bank), CPB (Dutch Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis) and TRADESPARENT BV (a startup/scaleup in data management software). 

In his previous career, Dirk Jan held high-level positions in the Dutch diplomatic and civil service, as secretary general of the MFA, permanent representative to the UN in New York and ambassador to the People's Republic of China. In academia, he served as the (executive) president of Delft University of Technology.

Term of office: 2016-2020

Annual Declaration of Interests and Independence

Declaration of Interests on the evaluation of the 2018 Innovation Communities Business Plans

Members of the EIT Governing Board Executive Committee


Current position: Chair of Group Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane

Born in Italy, Gioia Ghezzi obtained a degree in theoretical physics at the University of Milan and later an MBA at London Business School. She has been Chair of Group Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane, based in Rome, Italy, since 2015 after being appointed as member of the Board in 2014. 

She was previously CEO of International Group Risk Solutions for the Zurich Insurance Group, based in Zurich, Switzerland; served as Chief Operating Officer for Willis Group based in London, UK, spent over 11 years with McKinsey & Company as Partner in their London Office and held various positions at Academic Press in London and IBM Research in Rome and Milan.

She also holds other current appointments such as Member of the General Council, Confindustria, Italy, Vice President for Sustainable Development and Smart Cities, Assolombarda, Italy, Member of the Executive Board, Assonime, Italy, Member of the Board of Group Humanitas S.p.A., Italy, Member of the Trilateral Commission.

Term of office: 2018-2022

Annual Declaration of Interests and Independence


Current position: Director of Biocenter Finland

Marja Makarow is Director of Biocenter Finland since July 2016. She is former Vice-President of the Academy of Finland - the Finnish Research Council (2012-2016), Chief Executive of the European Science Foundation in France in 2008-2011, and Vice-Rector for Research and Innovation of the University of Helsinki in 2003-2007. She is Professor of Applied Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She chairs from 2015 the board of Technology Academy Finland that awards one of the world’s most prestigious innovation prizes, the Millennium Technology Prize.  

Marja Makarow advised the EU Commissioner of Research and Innovation in the European Research Area Board on Horizon 2020, and the Finnish Government in the Prime Minister’s Research and Innovation Council on development of the Finnish R&I system and the university renovation in 2008-2011. She was Vice Chair of the founding board of the newly established Aalto University in 2008-2012 and Chair of the founding board of the new Tampere University in 2017-2018. She is member of the strategic board of the University of Geneva, the international advisory board of the Heidelberg University and the board of the University of Arts Finland.

Marja Makarow has steered research assessment exercises of several universities and research institutes, and evaluated the performance of national R&I systems and research funding agencies, as well as EU programmes such as Eurostars and the Joint Research Centre. She was Panel Chair for the European Research Council ERC till 2012 and Vice-Chair of the Advisory Group of EU’s Future and Emerging Technologies program in 2014-2016.

She is Appointed Member of the Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology EIT since 2012 and Executive GB Member since 2019. In June 2019, she was appointed to the European European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot Advisory Board. She is member of Academia Europaea and the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, Commander of the Order of the White Lion, Finland, and Chevalier de l’Ordre de Legion d’Honneur, France, and Doctor Honoris Causa of Tampere University and Aalto University.  

Term of office: 2012-2020

Annual Declaration of Interests and Independence

Declaration of Interests on the evaluation of the 2018 Innovation Communities Business Plans

Ana S. Trbović

Current position: Full Professor at FEFA, Belgrade and Co-Founder of Grid Singularity and Energy Web Foundation

Dr Ana S. Trbovich is an academic, a policy advisor, civic activist and an entrepreneur. She is co-founder of Grid Singularity and the Energy Web Foundation, energy blockchain technology venture. Actively engaged in Serbia’s economic reforms as a nonpolitical high government official and advisor, she is proud to have been the first official to coordinate Serbia’s EU accession process.  She has consulted private and international organisations including the EU, USAID and the World Bank in areas of economic development and innovation and taught in Belgrade on topics of i Entrepreneurship, Strategic and Public Administration Management, Good Governance and European Integration. 

She holds a PhD from the Fletcher School (Tufts and Harvard University) and Master Degrees from the Fletcher School and Harvard Kennedy School. She is the author of “A Legal Geography of Yugoslavia’s Disintegration” (Oxford University Press) and other publications on good governance and competitiveness policy. 

Term of Office: 2016-2020

Annual Declaration of Interests and Independence

Declaration of Interests on the evaluation of the 2018 Innovation Communities Business Plans

EIT Governing Board members


Current position: Founder and Chairperson, MOVE.BG

Sasha Bezuhanova is a senior executive, angel investor and philanthropist with a 20-year executive business career in HP and a multi-dimensional track record of service to society. Her long list of business achievements and social development engagements throughout the years involves positioning Bulgaria as an ICT centre of global significance, boosting the entrepreneurial culture and women empowerment in her home country, Bulgaria, and at European level.

In 2013, she left her business career and devoted herself to supporting social prosperity through innovation, education and collaboration. Sasha is the founder of MOVE.BG – a think&do tank for sustainable solutions for the state, economy and society through innovation, participation and co-creation. She is also the initiator of EDIT.BG – an open network initiative for digital innovation, and the Pan-Balkan digital cooperation network.

Sasha is Chair of the Boards of the Bulgarian Centre of Women in Technologies, Technical University Sofia, co-founder of DIH DigiTecH 4.0, and founder of Entrepregirl Award. Sasha was named Digital Woman of Europe for 2013, was one of the Top 100 Challengers in New Europe for 2015, and holds many national and European awards for her contribution to societal development. 

Term of office: 2018 -2020

Annual Declaration of Interests and Independence


Current position: Advisor to the director of Jožef Stefan Institute

Dr Romana Jordan is the advisor to the director of Jožef Stefan Institute. She holds a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Currently, she is chair of the Administrative Board of Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators; member of the Management Board of the Financial Fund for Decommissioning of the Nuclear Power Plant Krško and member of the Steering Committee at the Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia. She worked for 14 years as a researcher at the Reactor Engineering Division of the Jožef Stefan Institute.

For 10 years, she served as a Member of the European Parliament holding various positions and responsibilities. She was vice-chair of the Committee on Development; EPP coordinator in the Temporary Committee on Climate Change and deputy EPP coordinator in the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. She was also vice-president of the European Energy Forum and member of the Editorial Board of the Parliament Magazine. In 2007, she received the MEP of the Year Award in the field of energy.

Term of office: 2018-2022

Annual Declaration of Interests and Independence


Current position: CEO, Sunrise Valley Science and Technology Park

Laima Kauspadiene is an entrepreneurship, innovation ecosystem, knowledge and technology transfer expert. In 2000, she obtained a degree in electronics and automation, and later an MBA in industrial engineering and management.

For eight years she served as the head of the Business Science Cooperation Division in the Ministry of Economy, where she was responsible for knowledge-driven innovation ecosystem creation, entrepreneurship, tech transfer policies, and clusterisation. Earlier, she obtained experience in nourishing the investment environment at regional level, and in the marketing and branding of cities and regions. Currently, she is the CEO of Sunrise Valley Science and Technology Park, one of the main actors in the biggest knowledge triangle in the Baltic region.

During her professional career she has been appointed to the boards of R&D and innovation at national level, and often serves as a board or jury member on project evaluation committees, steering committees and start-up pitch battles.

Term of office: 2018 -2022

Annual Declaration of Interests and Independence


Current position: Co-CEO and board member, Videoton Holding

Peter Lakatos is Hungarian and was born in Budapest in 1961. He graduated from the Technical University of Budapest as an electrical engineer in 1983 and went on to perform scientific work as a Ph.D. student in computer science on "Man-Machine Interaction".

He began his professional career at Műszertechnika Zrt. in 1986, and was a Member of the Board of Müszertechnika Zrt. from 1991 till 2013. In 1991, he joined Videoton Holding Zrt as a shareholder, where he is today a co-CEO and a member of the Board of Directors. Since 2007, he has been the joint owner and honorary president of Bravogroup Holding. Founded in 1992, Bravogroup Holding is one of the largest info communicational enterprises in Hungary. From 1999, the corporation has worked under the holding structure, representing the company on the business market through separate firms.

Together with his wife, Peter established and operates a charity website (ad6kap6) that has been online since 2008.

Peter is also the Vice President of MGYOSZ (Confederation of Hungarian Employers and Industrialists), which is a member federation of BUSINESSEUROPE. Here, his objective is to increase the number of successful Hungarian companies on the world market. Peter  was selected as a Global Leader for tomorrow in 1995 by the World Economic Forum, and received the civilian Hungarian Order of Merit in 2015. 

Term of office: 2016-2020

Annual Declaration of Interests and Independence

Declaration of Interests on the evaluation of the 2018 Innovation Communities Business Plans


Current position: Managing Partner, Munich Venture Partners

Dr Rolf P. Nagel is German and was born in 1965. He holds a Ph.D. in Business Economics from the University of Cologne and a Master’s Degree (Diplom-Kfm.) from the WHU Koblenz, Germany. While completing his Ph.D., he was awarded a research scholarship at the MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, USA.

Dr Nagel is Managing Partner of Munich Venture Partners, which he co-founded in 2004. Munich Venture Partners is a leading high-technology, research-to-business-transfer venture fund investing in innovative start-up companies in the European Union, with a focus on IT and Energy-Clean Tech. Munich Venture Partners has secured financial commitments from a wide range of institutional, private and philanthropic investors in the EU and the USA.

Currently, Dr Nagel is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Novihum Technologies GmbH, a Director of Shopwell, and an Observer of Harvest Power and Kebony, in addition to serving as Managing Partner of Munich Venture Partners.

Prior to founding Munich Venture Partners, he was an Investment Manager and Partner of SVM Star Ventures Management from 1994 to 2004 in the Munich office. He managed international investments in IT (e.g. Ciena, RF Micro Devices), energy (e.g. Capstone) and medical companies (e.g. Medigene), many of which were successfully taken public. 

Term of office: 2016-2020

Annual Declaration of Interests and Independence

Declaration of Interests on the evaluation of the 2018 Innovation Communities Business Plans


Current position: Managing Director, Polish Private Equity and Venture Capital Association

Barbara Nowakowska is Managing Director of PSIK, the Polish Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. She has managed PSIK for 15 years, working on the development and promotion of private equity/venture capital industry in Poland to investors, entrepreneurs, innovators, and academics, as well as representing the interests of the Polish private equity community vis a vis policy makers, legislative bodies, government institutions, and the media at national and EU levels.

Barbara served as a member of the High Level Group appointed by the EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport for the strategic evaluation of the EIT. She served as an expert on private equity and venture capital to the Polish government and the European Commission and gained experience in private equity at Enterprise Investors. At the beginning of Poland’s transformation to a market economy, she worked at the Ministry of Privatisation.

Barbara holds an MA in economics from SGH – the Warsaw School of Economics.

Term of office: 2018 -2020

Annual Declaration of Interests and Independence


Current position: President of the Board of Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle

Ms Paillard graduated from the Ecole Supérieure de Physique et Chimie Industrielle de Paris. Thanks to her diverse experience, she is recognised for her participation in what is known as the knowledge triangle: business, education and research.

She served as Member of Airbus R&T direction (Vice-President) and CEO of Voltair, subsidiary of Airbus Group in charge of the development of an electric aircraft. She  served as President of the competitiveness cluster AEROSPACE VALLEY from 2011 to 2017 representing Airbus Group.

She has been President of the Board of INPI ( Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle) since 2013; Member of the Board of CNRS (Centre National de la Recheche Scientifique) since 2013 and Member of the Board of INRIA (Institut National de la Recherche en Informatique et Automatique) since 2015.

She was previously Deputy General Manager in charge of economic development, research and technology transfer at Aquitaine Regional Council; Managing Director and co-founder of Serma Technologies, an SME born from the spin-off of IBM laboratory for qualification of components; Manufacturing Engineering Manager in the IBM electronics factory in Corbeil Essonnes, then in the purchasing department in charge of the qualification of electronic component suppliers.

Term of office: 2018-2022

Annual Declaration of Interests and Independence


Current position: President & Provost of Trinity College Dublin

Patrick Prendergast is the President of Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin. Trinity is Ireland’s highest-ranked and oldest university, founded in 1592, and is a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU).  Under his leadership Trinity has developed a Global Relations Strategy which has doubled international student enrolments and student mobility, has engaged with industry through a new Innovation & Entrepreneurship Strategy, and has restructured the university's administration into three divisions, including a significant focus on commercial revenue generation through the Commercial Revenue Unit (CRU). Projects under development include the new Trinity School of Business co-located with an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub ‘Tangent’, the development of E3: the Engineering, Energy, and the Environment Institute, and the planning of a new Technology Campus at Grand Canal Dock. In September 2016 a “Provost's Council” consisting of alumni and benefactors of the university was created to advice the Provost on how to advance Trinity's position in the world by financing new projects and initiatives. Prior to his appointment as President in 2011, he was Professor of Bioengineering. 

Term of office: 2012-2020

Annual Declaration of Interests and Independence

Declaration of Interests on the evaluation of the 2018 Innovation Communities Business Plans

European Commission Observer

Themis Christophidou

Director-General for 'Education, Youth, Sport and Culture', European Commission

Themis Christophidou is a European public servant who became Director-General for education, youth, sport and culture of the European Commission, in March 2018.

She is a civil engineer with 32 years of experience in private and public sector management. 

She joined the European Commission in 2001.  Having held various positions in the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban policy, she worked as Deputy Head of Cabinet of Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism, youth and sport in 2010-2011.  From 2011 to 2014, Themis Christophidou worked as Head of Cabinet of Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, and from 2014 to 2018, she was Head of Cabinet of Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management. 

Themis Christophidou is an alumna of the civil engineering school of the Athens Polytechnic Metsovio, specialised in transport infrastructure and urban transport. Born in Famagusta, Cyprus, she is trilingual Greek, French, English.