Keynote Speakers on EO trends and transformative Tech
Josef Aschbacher is the Director of Earth Observation Programmes (D/EOP) at ESA since 2016. Born in Austria, Josef studied at the University of Innsbruck, graduating with a Master’s and a Doctoral Degree in Natural Sciences. He then worked as Research Scientist at the University Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics (1985–89). Josef started his career in ESA in 1990 as a Young Graduate at ESRIN and was then seconded as ESA Representative to the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok in Thailand (1991-1993). He then worked at the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra, Italy (1994-2001), where he was, in his last post, the Scientific Assistant to the Director of the Space Applications Institute. He then returned to ESA working on a wide variety of EO and Copernicus initiatives, heading the Copernicus Space Office (2006) and then the Programme Planning and Coordination at ESRIN (2014).
Alison combines technical and theoretical computer science with a physics background and over 20 years of experience in international project management, entrepreneurial activities and the Internet. After spending her first year with NVIDIA as a Deep Learning Solutions Architect, she is now responsible for NVIDIA's Artificial Intelligence Developer Relations in the EMEA region and continues to oversee the community of AI & Machine Learning researchers around the world, staying knowledgeable in state of the art across all areas of research. She also travels and advises, teaches NVIDIA’s capability around the globe. She consults on a wide range of AI applications, and helped establish the Frontier Development Laboratory, originally with NASA & the SETI Institute, now also with ESA.
Pekka is the Chief Financial Officer and co-founder of ICEYE. ICEYE aims to launch and operate a constellation of micro-SAR satellites providing access to timely and reliable Earth observation data. ICEYE is the first company that has successfully miniaturized a SAR satellite, creating a unit that is 100x more cost-efficient than the closest counterpart. With the 18 satellite constellation, ICEYE will offer its partners a set of unprecedented surveillance capabilities, accessing an area or interest faster, more frequently and at lower cost. As CFO, Pekka has been instrumental in establishing company-wide financial procedures and raising funds for ICEYE, which has now received over $15M in recent capital infusions. As a nordic native from Finland watching the Arctic ice caps melt, Pekka joined forces with Rafal Modrzewski to create synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) microsatellites in hopes of ensuring the sustainability of global warming research. Prior to co-founding ICEYE, Pekka played an instrumental role in Finland’s Aalto University Nanosatellite Program, where he studied as a student of the Engineering and Geoinformation Systems program. Using this engineering and entrepreneurial experience, he helped to co-found a spin-out company of Aalto University, which would later become ICEYE.
Sanna is a Research Manager at the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and the Coordinator of Aerosols, Clouds, and Trace gases Research Infrastructure (ACTRIS) implementation in Europe, and project coordinator of EC-funded ACTRIS preparatory phase project. Her scientific background is in climate and Arctic research, paleoecology and limnology, and she has more than 20 years of experience in climate and environmental change research including a broad experience in coordination and implementation of research and research infrastructure activities at the international, European and national levels. Recently Sanna has worked particularly with ESFRI Environmental Research Infrastructures, e.g. setting-up ICOS RI and ICOS ERIC, leading the implementation of ACTRIS, chairing the Board of European Environmental Research Infrastructures (BEERi) and contributing EC-funded research infrastructure projects (ENVRIplus, COOPEUS, COOP+, RISCAPE). Sanna is also working with research data issues and data infrastructure collaboration, e.g. as scientific committee member of ICSU-WDS, co-chaired the OECD Expert Group on International Data Infrastructures, and participated in development of EOSC (EOSCpilot).
Maria has a Degree with honors in Physics, PhD in Geodesy. She is Professor of “Geographic Information Systems”, “Digital Mapping” and “Geospatial Web, GEO Big Data and Citizen.Generated Geographic Information”at the Politecnico di Milano (PoliMI). From 2006 to 2011 she lectured GIS at the ETH of Zurich. From 2001 to 2011 she was the Head of the Geomatics Laboratory of PoliMI and from 2011 to 2016 she was Vice Rector of PoliMI for the Como Campus. She is the chair of ISPRS WG IV/4 “Collaborative crowdsourced cloud mapping (C3M)”, Associate Editor of Applied Geomatics Journal (Springer); member of the Board of the Italian Photogrammetric and Topography Society (SIFET); one of the Directors of OSGeo; member of the Advisory Board of GeoForAll, chair of the “Capacity Building WG” of the UN Open GIS Initiative, Deputy-Chair of the UN-GGIM Academic Network and Member of the ESA Advisory Committee for Earth Observation (ACEO). Her research interests have been various, starting from geodesy, radar-altimetry and moving later to GIS, webGIS and Citizen Science. She is participating and leading research on these topics within the frameworks of both national and international projects and scientific networks. One of her main interest is in Open Source GIS, where she is playing a worldwide leading role.
René Schulte is Director of Global Innovation, Research & Incubation at Valorem creating and leading teams across the globe working on emerging technologies.
He has more than 10 years experience with VR, AR/MR technology and 3D programming, developing for the Microsoft HoloLens since 2015 and was featured on Forbes. He also coded AI deep learning neural networks before it was cool and is an advocate of Blockchain technology. He also created and maintains popular open source libraries like WriteableBitmapEx or the AR library SLARToolKit. He was honored several times for his dev community work with the Microsoft MVP award.
Margaret Project Officer at the European Citizen Science Association on the WeObserve project, which is building an Ecosystem of Citizen Observatories for Environmental Monitoring. ECSA is a non-profit association set up to encourage the growth of the Citizen Science movement in Europe in order to enhance the participation of the general public in scientific processes, mainly by initiating and supporting citizen science projects as well as performing research on citizen science. Margaret combines 10 years in the mobile & web technology sector with 5 years of community building in Citizen Science - engaging the public in the transcription of digitally imaged specimen labels at the Natural History Museum in London, and in scientific research within the Citizen Cyberlab project. Margaret has an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, and an Honours BA in International Relations from the University of Windsor in Canada.
Richard is the founder and CEO of Earth-i, one of the world’s leading ‘new space’ pioneers in the related fields of Earth Observation imagery, analytics and insights. Previously, Richard was the founder and CEO of Aerospace Resources Ltd (ARL), an aerospace services and consulting company with an extensive track record in the defence and security sectors. Prior to ARL, Richard was the Commercial Director and Chief Pilot for Farnborough Aircraft Corporation Ltd, which developed and built an advanced turboprop aircraft for corporate and air taxi use. A pilot for over 30 years, Richard holds US and European Commercial Pilot's Licences with Instrument Ratings, a Seaplane Rating and an Air Display Licence In addition to his aerospace interests, Richard owns a healthcare company which he established in 1993, that now facilitates and manages the healthcare needs of over 95% of all professional footballers and cricketers in England and Wales, including the national squads. With decades of experience in the aviation and aerospace industries Richard is now focussed on bringing commercial success, rapid growth and new high-tech jobs to the UK space industry.
Candace Johnson is a serial satellite entrepreneur and angel investor. She is the Founder/Co-Founder of SES ASTRA and the chief architect of SES Global. She is also the Founder/Co-Founder of Loral-Teleport Europe, Europe's first private satellite telecommunications company and Europe Online, the world's first online Internet Service Provider and the world's first Satellite Broadband Internet company. She was also Vice President World wide of Iridium. Currently she is founder and Member of the Board of Oceania Women's Network Satellite, which is a large shareholder in KAcific, where Ms. Johnson has also been a Member of the Board as well as Vice Chair Europe of NorthStar, and a strategic investor in Planetary Resources and Laser Light as well as being a founding member of EBAN Space and President Emeritus of EBAN. Ms. Johnson has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women in Aerospace Europe and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Global Telecommunications Awards, as well as being decorated as a Commander of Merit from Luxembourg, Officer of the Order of Merit of Germany and Officer of the Oak Leaf Crown of Luxembourg. She holds an honorary doctorate from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Masters degrees from Stanford University an the Sorbonne and Bachelors degree from Vassar College.
Claire is the CEO of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, heading up a global team based in five countries. She was previously Managing Director of the Overseas Development Institute, and in 2014, she worked in the office of the UN Secretary General, writing the report of the Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution, “A World That Counts”. Claire is based in London, has worked for a number of international NGOs and taught at the University of London and the Open University.
Robbert Mica is the Commercial Director and co-founder of VanderSat. Robbert studied at the University of Amsterdam, graduating with a Master’s degree in Economics. His passion for technology lead to his full time occupation of growing tech companies for love and living. He founded residential solar company Sungevity International in 2011 using earth observation as key differentiator (grew to 100 employees -exit in 2014 - acquired by Engie in 2017). He then co-founded ATG Europe’s corporate venture arm in 2014, an international aerospace engineering firm, investing in space technology related spin-offs. After investing seed funding Robbert lead portfolio company VanderSat to successful investment rounds >3 million. He joined as the company's commercial director in 2017. VanderSat's satellite data currently powers applications at some of the world's biggest players in agriculture and insurance with its unique ability to observe water and temperature at field scale across the globe using satellites.
Adina is Earth-i’s Institutional Strategist. She is responsible for delivering strategic advice and guidance to institutional stakeholders and customers in the application of Earth Observation (EO) technology and supporting business units across Earth-i in delivering effective programmes designed to meet their needs. Adina has worked in EO and New Space in the UK for more than 10 years. Before joining Earth-i, she was Head of EO and Science Applications for Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), where she was responsible for liaising with institutional customers on their applications needs and identifying service providers. She was also responsible for liaising with multiple UK Government Departments to ensure compliance with UK EO regulations, and for product development at SSTL subsidiary, DMC International Imaging. Adina has also been a long-standing advocate for the uptake of EO data and services within UK Government and institutions through her academic work and her previous role as EO specialist in Defra. She has managed various international capacity building initiatives in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Europe. Before joining SSTL, she was responsible for the UK’s operational contributions to the International Charter for Space and Major Disasters. She previously served 5 years on the EO Advisory Committee to the UK Space Agency and chaired the Industrial Advisory Group on Commercial EO Regulations for the UK. She is currently serving on the Satellite Applications Catapult Advisory Group and the Regional Catapult Advisory Board.
Christopher Fabian is a technologist who co-founded UNICEF's Innovation Unit in 2006. He currently leads UNICEF Ventures, and is a Principal Advisor in UNICEF’s Office of Innovation. Chris led the launch of the 11M$ UNICEF Venture Fund in 2015, creating the first fund of its kind in the United Nations. The Fund uses a venture capital approach to invest in startups working on frontier technology like virtual reality, machine learning, and crypto-currency that can have a positive impact on humanity. The Ventures team also makes larger secondary investments in platforms like two drone testing corridors (in Malawi and Vanuatu) launched in 2017, as well as the Magic Box, an open source analytics platform that combines data and engineering from companies like Amadeus, IBM, Google, and Telefonica to produce insights that help the organization make better real-time decisions. Previously, Chris's teams have worked on technology for low infrastructure environments including award winning work on RapidPro, an SMS-based information system with more than 3.5M active users in 35 countries. Chris’s academic roles have included teaching at NYU, Tsinghua University and IIT Delhi, and he has recently been an invited speaker at Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the US Congress, exploring how to create fairness in a world of rapid technological change. In 2013 he was recognized as one of TIME Magazine's "100 Most Influential People."
Damian is the Director of the Deep Learning Competence Center at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Kaiserslautern, the Principle Investigator of the NVIDIA AI Lab at the DFKI, and founding co-director of Sociovestix Labs, a social enterprise in the area of financial data science. Damian‘s research focuses on large-scale machine learning and in particular deep learning to mine insights from data streams. His work has been awarded by NVIDIA at GTC Europe 2016, the Best Paper Award at ACM ICMR 2012 and the McKinsey Business Technology Award 2011. Damian currently serves as a member of the steering group at the VolkswagenStiftung and the review committee at the Baden-Wurttemberg Stiftung. Damian did his postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley and the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) in Berkeley, where he was involved in big data projects at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He received his PhD from the University of Kaiserslautern and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). During that time, Damian stayed as a visiting researcher at the Digital Video and Multimedia Lab at Columbia University. Starting from September 2018,Damian will be responsible for the chair in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at the University of St. Gallen (HSG). Damian will be responsible to build up a new data and computer science faculty at the University of St. Gallen.
James is the founder and CEO of Trillium Technologies - a technology contractor that specializes in the application of emerging technologies to grand challenges, such as climate change, prevention strategies for cancer and obesity, deforestation mitigation, climate resilience and planetary defense from asteroids. He is also Director of FDL Europe an AI research accelerator running in partnership with ESA and also founder of the Open Space Agency (OSA) - which is dedicated to democratization of space exploration though citizen science and open hardware.
Jaan works as a professor at Aalto University, Finland. His background is in microwave Earth Observation and small satellites. His expertise areas are advanced SAR technologies such as interferometry ad polarimetry and also CubeSats. With his students he built the first Finnish satellite missions and works already on several new missions. He leads research team which is part of Finnish Centre of Excellence in Research of Sustainable Space Science and Technology. Several New Space start-ups have started from his group. Jaan Praks is also known as an inspiring public speaker who promotes small satellite technology and sustainable space utilization.
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Born in 1980 in Slovenia, he studied Physics and co-founded Cosylab inc. at age 21, a company developing control systems for particle accelerators and large experiments in physics. In 2008 Grega moved to become CEO and co-founder of Sinergise, specialising in software for advanced geospatial applications, helping Europe to efficiently manage and control agriculture policy and introducing land administration systems to developing countries in Africa. With his colleagues they have recognised the potential of open Copernicus earth observation data early but soon hit a wall trying to use existing technologies to work with these large datasets. Deciding to do something about it, Sentinel Hub was born. A Copernicus Masters award winning service for processing and distribution of satellite data is exploiting AWS Open Public Datasets. After working with governmental clients in Balkan, Western Europe, Asia and Africa, Grega is now engulfed in building a global Internet business.
Bianca is the Cluster Manager of iTech Transilvania by ARIES T, Executive Director of the Romanian Association of Software and Electronic Industry and founder and vice-president of Transilvania Creative Cluster. Bianca specialized in cluster policies and cluster management and in 2016 she successfully presented her doctoral thesis in Management at the Babeş-Bolyai University, entitled "Excellence in Cluster Management in IT". Since 2002, Bianca has been involved in the elaboration of various development regional and sectorial strategies: Transylvania 2007-2013 Development Strategy, Public Sector Recommendation Policy Papers, thus contributing to the Strategy of Development for the ICT Sector in Romania, promotion and SME Mobilization for FP7. Bianca is operating as a “bridger” in the Cluj ICT ecosystem and was awarded the Innovation Luminary Award in 2017 as the young innovation during the Open Innovation event of the European Commission.
Javier is CEO of CARTO. Over the past 10 years, he has been working on the field of biodiversity Informatics. During this time he gained strong experience in the social and technical aspects of data sharing while mobilizing vast amounts of Biodiversity on Internet. He is a recognized expert on biodiversity standards, and is well known on the geospatial community, and in particular on Open Source. He is frequently invited to speak on topics including biodiversity, data visualization, conservation, citizen science, open data and web GIS and has presented at Geoweb, FOSS4G and TDWG. Javier has a strong interest in the distribution and conservation of species on Earth and how we can help to conserve them through the use of technology and collaboration over Internet. Javier studied Agriculture Engineer in the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and the Freie Universität Berlin. He is a professor at the Master on Global Environmental Change at the IE University on Data Analysis and Data Visualization.
Monica Valli is Program management Director at D-Orbit. She holds a MsC degree in Space Engineering and a PhD in Aerospace Engineering and has spent several years working as researcher and specialist consultant with the most important space companies in Europe, such as Arianespace, Deimos Imaging, Altran Italia and ELV. After having followed the development of the Company from the very beginning as a consultant, in 2015 Monica joined D-Orbit to start working full-time as Program Director, performing budget management and strategic analysis for all Company programs while ensuring project activities aligned with business objectives
Arnaud Guérin, CEO & cofounder, Earthcube, has been working for 15 years in the energy industry leading various business and technology development functions.He worked 5 years for the Boston Consulting strategy group where he specialized in the energy market economics and operational performance. He then joined AREVA as VP of R&D and business development of the Nuclear Maintenance business unit (2 Bn€ turnover, 10 000 employees) before creating and managing several subsidiaries in Asia. Since 2016, Arnaud founded Earthcube with a former Airbus DS Earth Observation engineer. He is now CEO, in charge of sales and operations.
Sarah is Managing Director at Hello Tomorrow non-profit, an organisation aimed at accelerating the transfer of breakthrough technologies to solve the world’s toughest challenges. After helping social business grow at The Boston Consulting Group, she joined Hello Tomorrow to support the transfer of deep technologies all the way from the lab to the market and help turning scientific and technological breakthroughs into real solutions.
Pascal is currently Head of Rapid Prototyping and AI for Telefonica’s Moonshot Factory, Alpha, and spends his time diving deep into computational neuroscience and machine-learning to solve global challenges. Before, he successfully built his own companies in the fields of AI, AgriTech and CyberSecurity (one with a successful exit), worked with Google's Brain Project, and is now also actively investing and advising Startups, and is a leader for kairossociety.com and endeavor.org.
Genevieve is an innovative and agile Fintech executive with a deep understanding of identity, technology transformation and treasury management. Having held senior roles across established businesses – JPM Chase, HP, GE and RBS – Genevieve ventures in the start-up realm as CEO of an innovative crypto-currency and blockchain toolkit company that builds simple solutions for customers. She has more than 25 years’ experience in banking & financial supply chain dealing with large corporations and banks. Possesses a deep understanding of the moving parts and pain points in the financial sector.
Petr is an entrepreneur, consultant and software architect. As the CEO of Klokan Technologies GmbH in Switzerland, he drives a team of programmers towards innovation in the mapping applications and he disrupts the world of cartography. He and his team work on the MapTiler mapping platform and have developed software tools and online services such as OpenMapTiles, GDAL2Tiles, EPSG.io, OldMapsOnline or Georeferencer used by millions of people around the planet.