Dr Conor O’Carroll is  currently an independent Consultant on Research and Higher Education Policy and Funding Chair of European Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility. He specialities in European and International Research Policy, Researcher Career Development and Mobility.European R&D and Higher Education Funding (FP7, H2020) and Development of research funding programmes and fellowships. Chair of the European Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility focusing on researcher career development as part of the European Research Area (ERA). He has led the development of the European Framework for Research Careers (EFRC) and the Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training (PIDT).
A physicist by training with a B.Sc., M.Sc. in Mathematical Physics and PhD in Physics from University College Dublin. He has extensive experience of policy formulation as well as  of the operations of funding agencies through his time with the Marie Sklodowska Curie Programme, Enterprise Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland. He established the Irish Universities Association (IUA) Research Office that now acts as a hub for the development and furthering of university policy and practice in all research related matters.He has been coordinating national projects on structured PhD programmes in the Irish universities; representing Ireland on the FP7 and Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska Curie Programme; running the EURAXESS Network in Ireland. He acts as a peer review panel chair and is a regular commentator on research and researcher policy issues in the international media.



Julie Sainz , currently the policy officer responsible for the COFUND co-funding scheme within the unit in charge of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) at the European Commission. She is also responsible for coordinating studies that aim to analyse specific aspects of the MSCA and to explore potential future policy developments for the programme.

Julie holds a PhD in physiology and physiopathology from the University Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris, France. Before joining the Commission at the end of 2013, she worked as a researcher in the academic sector in France and in Japan. She also worked in Belgium as an R&D team leader, both in the public sector and in industry. Her main fields of research were stem cells and cell therapy, in the context of regenerative medicine and different pathologies (ranging from cardiovascular diseases to joint and liver diseases). At the time Julie also participated in the evaluations of FP7 Marie Curie applications as an independent expert.


As Pro-Vice-Provost of the University College London (UCL) Doctoral School my role is to provide training and support for students beyond their disciplinary boundaries, to oversee the standards and regulations of research degree qualifications, and to develop strategy for research training at UCL.  UCL has 5,547 research students. I have overseen a significant increase of training provision for doctoral students to over 700 courses with approximately 11,000 individual registrations in 2014/15.  I chair the Bloomsbury Postgraduate Skills Network to share training between research intensive institutions in Bloomsbury.  To promote improved doctoral submission and completion rates we developed an on-line log for all research students which aids project management and monitoring. I chair the League of European Universities (LERU) Doctoral Studies Community. I was lead author in the LERU position paper ‘Doctoral degrees beyond 2010: Training talented researchers for society’ and recently ‘Good Practice Elements in Doctoral Training’ which have strongly influenced the development of new schemes for supporting doctoral education by the European Commission.  I am the UK representative on the European Research Area Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility working group on doctoral education. I am on advisory boards at the University of Zurich, RWTH Aachen and the Luxembourg National Research Agency. I am a professor of Chemical Engineering with research interests in Process Systems Engineering and Systems Biology.  I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2005.


Dr. Roumen Nikolov is a professor, Head of Computer Science Department at University of Library Studies and IT, and UNESCO Chairholder of ICT in Library Studies, Education and Cultural Heritage, Sofia, Bulgaria. He works in the area of Future Internet Technologies and applications (e.g. Smart Cities), e-learning, digital archives and services, innovation and entrepreneurship. He has specialised in USA, UK, the Netherlands, and other countries. Prof. Nikolov has been involved as an expert and evaluator of projects at EC level. He is also an Associated Member of the ERA Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility (SGHRM), Member of Expert Groups: European – “The role of Universities and Research Organisations as Drivers for Smart Specialisation at Regional Level” (DG Research, Brussels, 23 January 2014); national – “Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation”, “National Strategy for Development of Research 2020”; and regional – “Sofia Smart Specialisation Strategy”. During the last 25 years he has been involved in more than 100 European and international projects. Prof. Nikolov used to be coordinator of the EC FP7 REGPOT SISTER (Strengthening the IST Research Capacity of Sofia University) Project and got a dedicated award from Ministry of Education and Science for 2014. He has more than 100 research papers.



Dr. Luc Siebenaller is a Luxembourgish researcher who accomplished his PhD at the University of Lorraine (Nancy) in 2008 in the domain of Geosciences. He continued his research and taught at the University of Lausanne during a 2-years’ post-doc position before leaving for a 3-year post doc to Toulouse at the Institute for Research and Development (IRD). The first two years of this post-doc, with a focus on the West African geology, had been funded by the COFUND AFR Scheme of the FNR. Concomitant to his studies and research activities he co-founded in 2002 a Luxemburgish NGO (Le Soleil dans la Main). He was president of the NGO from 2005-2012 and in 2014, he became the executive director.

Both activities converged since he works now partly for his research activities in West-Africa and partly manages the NGO. As the head of the Capacity Building module designed for geoscientists and geologists from West-Africa within the framework of an international private-public consortium ( including more than 50 researchers and experts from various countries as well as 12 industry partners and 10 West-African governments, he organizes training courses, meetings, conferences and summer schools. Currently, he is setting up a project to support bursaries for West-African students in the domain of Geosciences.



Dr. Shiva Nejati has been leading in recent years several applied and industry-driven research projects related to improving the quality, safety and reliability of software-intensive systems. Since 2012, she has been working as a Research Scientist at the SnT Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust, University of Luxembourg. Dr. Nejati received her Bachelor’s degree from Sharif University of Technology (Iran) in 2000, and her MSc (2003) and PhD (2008) degrees from the Computer Science Department of the University of Toronto, Canada. From 2009 to 2012, she was a Research Scientist at Simula Research Laboratory, Norway. In 2008-2009, she was a visiting researcher at University College London, UK. Dr. Nejati’s main research area is Software Engineering with interests in both empirical and formal research methods. She has been the recipient of several awards, including three ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Awards at top software engineering conferences.