Anant Agarwal is chief executive of the online learning destination edX. He taught the first edX course on circuits and electronics, which drew 155,000 students from 162 countries. He previously served as director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the same institution. Professor Agarwal is also a successful serial entrepreneur, having co-founded several companies, including Tilera Corporation and Virtual Machine Works. He is a recipient of the Maurice Wilkes award for computer architecture, and MIT’s Smullin and Jamieson prizes for teaching. He was also awarded the Harold W. McGraw, Jr Prize for Higher Education for his work in advancing the massive open online courses movement.
Vice-president of product management, funding and content analytics
M'hamed el Aisati has held his current position in the research management unit of Elsevier since 2012. He leads a team that looks after content and analytical services, supporting large research performance evaluation programmes and rankings. After joining the company in 1998, he contributed to the realisation of its first digital journals platform, which preceded ScienceDirect, and in 2004 he helped launch Scopus. El Aisati was granted a master’s in computer sciences from the University of Amsterdam. He has published several papers in peer-reviewed journals and holds two patents.
Trevor Barratt is the chief executive of THE World Universities Insights, home of Times Higher Education (THE), the THE World University Rankings and the THE World Summit Series of events. He joined THE in 2014, having previously run his own consultancy firm. Prior to that he served as chief executive of Ocean Media Group and also spent time as managing director of United Business Media and Aprovia UK.
Phil Baty is a leading international authority on university performance and strategy, with more than 22 years of experience in global higher education, including a decade as editor of the prestigious Times Higher Education World University Rankings and its derivative analyses. He is an award-winning journalist, a sought-after speaker and commentator, and the creator of the THE World Academic Summits.
Jean Chambaz was president of Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC) from 2012-17, prior to which he was vice-president of research and vice-president of ways and means. He was also head of endocrine biochemistry at La Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital. In 1999, he created a joint UPMC–INSERM (French National Institute of Health and Medical Research) research unit in the field of metabolism and intestinal differentiation. Other roles include member of the European University Association board (2015-18), president of the Coordination of French Research-Intensive Universities (2014-18) and head of the League of European Research Universities (2018).
Youngsuk 'YS' Chi currently serves as the Chairman of Elsevier and Director of Corporate Affairs of RELX Group. In addition, Chi is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Yonsei University and is involved in numerous educational, artistic and charitable organizations including Princeton University, the Ban Ki-Moon Foundation and the Korea Society. Chi has also served terms as the Chair of the Association of American Publishers as well as the President of the International Publishers Association.
Moustapha Cissé is a research scientist at Google and head of the Google AI Centre in Accra, Ghana, where he leads research efforts in foundational machine learning and its applications to solving complex societal challenges. He is also a professor of machine learning at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, where he is the founder and director of the African master’s of machine intelligence programme. He was previously a research scientist at Facebook AI Research. Before that, he completed his PhD at Pierre and Marie Curie University in France.
Sara Custer is digital editor at THE. She has covered global higher education as a journalist for more than five years. Before joining THE in 2017, she was editor of international education website and magazine, The PIE News.
Luc de Brabandere is a Boston Consulting Group fellow and a senior adviser in the strategy practice of the firm. With a focus on constructing new intellectual frameworks or models and changing “how people think”, he leads strategic seminars with boards, executive committees and management, and helps people looking to develop new strategic visions. Based in Brussels, he is co-author of Thinking in New Boxes: A New Paradigm for Business Creativity (2013). He is also a faculty member of various universities and the founder of Cartoonbase, a communication agency focused on design thinking.
Maria de Kleijn-Lloyd has responsibility for bespoke analytical services to universities, funding bodies and governments worldwide, advising them on research performance, international collaboration and research impact. Prior to joining Elsevier, she worked for McKinsey & Company, the Dutch government, and in the power and gas sector, in various analytical roles combining big data to inform decisions. She holds a master’s degree with distinction in applied physics from Delft University of Technology, and an MBA with distinction from the University of Oxford.
In his current role since 2009, Kurt Deketelaere was awarded a doctorate honoris causa by the University of Edinburgh and the Scaliger Medal by Leiden University in 2017 for his leadership in EU research, innovation and education policy. Before joining LERU, he was chief legal adviser (2004-07) and chief of staff (2007-09) for the Flemish minister for public works, energy, environment and nature. He sits on several advisory boards and, upon invitation of the European Commission, is a member of the Open Science Policy Platform and the ABS Consultation Forum.
Professor Figalli joined the department of mathematics at ETH Zurich in 2016. Prior to that, he spent seven years in senior academic roles at the University of Texas at Austin, including R. L. Moore Chair holder in 2013. In 2008, he spent a year at Ecole Polytechnique as a Hadamard professor and, before that, was a senior researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). Alessio Figalli was awarded for his contributions to optimal transportation theory. He is the winner of the Fields Medal 2018 for his contributions to optimal transportation theory.
Sophie-Charlotte Fischer holds a master’s in international security studies from Sciences Po, Paris, and a BA in liberal arts and sciences from University College Maastricht. She previously held a Mercator fellowship in international affairs, during which time she worked at the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs’ Asia and Pacific Office, the Governance of Artificial Intelligence Program (Yale University and the University of Oxford) and at the CSS. Her research interests include the governance of emerging dual-use technologies, the determinants of technology innovation and diffusion, artificial intelligence and international cooperation, and the strategic implications of new weapons systems.
Prior to being appointed provost in 2016, Dr Fleming was deputy provost (since 2013) and vice-chancellor (Europe) (since 2007), which involved working with the deans, directors and schools on academic planning and overseeing the provost’s Global Research Initiatives programme, which she created in 2011. A historian, she is the Alexander S. Onassis professor of Hellenic culture and civilisation in the Faculty of Arts and Science, and served for many years as the associate director and then director of NYU’s Remarque Institute.
Professor Freshwater took on her current role in 2017. She contributes to many national and international boards including as chair and director of the Group of Eight, board director of the Perth USAsia Centre and member of the partnership board of the Worldwide Universities Network. She led the development of the UWA Public Policy Institute in 2018, to create a bridge between academic research and government, public and business needs. An experienced supporter of translational research and research-led teaching, her contributions in public health and in researching leadership practices won her the highest honour in her field – fellowship of the Royal College of Nursing.
Howard Gardner is the Hobbs professor of cognition and education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Trained in developmental psychology and neuropsychology, he is the author of many books on intelligence, creativity, leadership, the arts and K-12 education. Recently he has completed a large national study of non-vocational higher education in the United States.
In his current role since 2013, Professor Gertler was previously dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science for five years. An expert in the geography of innovative activity and the economies of city regions, he has advised governments in Canada, the US and Europe, as well as international agencies such as the OECD. He chairs the Working Group on Higher Education-Business Research Partnerships of the Business-Higher Education Roundtable and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2015, he was appointed to the Order of Canada.
John Gill has been editor of Times Higher Education since March, 2012. He has previously held roles as news editor, deputy news editor and reporter with the magazine. John has been closely involved in the development of THE’s World University Rankings portfolio over the last eight years, and was called to give evidence to the recent parliamentary inquiry into teaching metrics.
Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She previously attended the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. Sabrina is currently a graduate student at Harvard University pursuing a PhD in physics.
Markus Gross is a professor of computer science at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), head of the Computer Graphics Laboratory, vice-president research, Walt Disney Studios and the director of DisneyResearch|Studios. His research interests include physically based modeling, computer animation, immersive displays, and video technology. In 2013 he received the Konrad Zuse Medal of GI, the Karl Heinz Beckurts price. In 2013 and 2019 he received a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Feridun Hamdullahpur was appointed to his current role at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, in March 2011. A professor of mechanical engineering, in 2015 he was made chair of the new Leadership Council for Digital Infrastructure, an initiative to build a world-leading digital infrastructure ecosystem for Canada. He is also vice-chair of the Waterloo Global Science Initiative.
Senior vice-president of global research solutions
In her role as senior vice-president of global research solutions, Gemma Hersh regularly meets with institutions, funders and researchers to discuss emerging and evolving trends in open science, specialising in open access and journal business models. She works closely with Elsevier’s executive leadership team on business strategy, policy and communications and was previously the publisher’s head of global policy, a position she held for five years. Prior to joining Elsevier, she was head of public affairs for the UK Publishers Association.
Professor Kapur is a full professor in the department of humanities, social and political sciences. Prior to joining ETH Zurich, he was professor of psychological studies at the Education University of Hong Kong and held leadership roles at the National Institute of Education in Singapore. With an engineering degree, master’s degrees in applied statistics and education, and a doctorate in instructional technology and media, he conceptualised the notion of, and has done extensive work in the field of, “productive failure”.
Senior executive vice-president of research and IT promotion
In addition to his role at Waseda, Professor Kasahara was the 2018 president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society. He is also an IEEE fellow, IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu professional member, and fellow of the Information Processing Society of Japan. He has led three national Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry/New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation projects on multicores and parallelising compilers. His numerous awards include the IEEE Computer Society Golden Core Award, and the Science and Technology Prize from the Japanese minister of education, science and technology.
President and Lee Kong Chian chair professor of social sciences
Singapore Management University
Professor Lily Kong is the fifth president of Singapore Management University (SMU) and the first Singaporean to lead the 19-year-old institution. She is also Lee Kong Chian chair professor of social sciences.
Professor Kong has previously served as provost of SMU, vice-provost and vice-president of the National University of Singapore, and executive vice-president (academic) of Yale-NUS College.
She is widely known for her research on religion, cultural policy and creative economy, urban heritage and conservation, and national identity. She has received five international fellowship awards and has also won the Association of American Geographers’ Robert Stoddard Award for Distinguished Service.
Gordana Landen, a Swedish national, joined Adecco Group in January 2019 from Signify (formerly Philips Lighting) where she was chief human resources officer. She has extensive leadership experience and a broad range of industry expertise, having previously worked in senior human resources and project management positions at telecoms company Ericsson and global hygiene and forest products company SCA (Svenska Cellulosa AB). Ms Landen holds a bachelor’s degree in human resource development and labour relations from Stockholm University. She is based in Zurich at the group’s global headquarters.
Director, Saudi Aramco-KAIST CO2 Management Centre
Professor Lee joined KAIST in 2010 and was head of the chemical and biomolecular engineering department for five years. He is also associate vice-president of the international office at KAIST. Prior to moving to Korea, he held various academic positions in the US after completing his PhD at California Institute of Technology in 1991. He was a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Young Investigator Award in 1993 and is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the International Federation of Automatic Control and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
President of the human resources management department
Jack Lu joined Huawei in 1993 and prior to his current roles, he was executive secretary of the human resources committee, vice-director of the intelligent service department in the R&D department, director of the corporate technical cooperation department, chief operating officer of Huawei India Research Centre, and HR director of R&D. He holds a master’s degree in information and electronics engineering from Zhejiang University and an EMBA from China Europe International Business School.
Chris Luebkeman pursued a multifaceted education, beginning with engineering and culminating in a doctorate in architecture from ETH Zurich. He gained valuable experience as the protégé of Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava, but then changed his career course to education and taught at several universities. In 1999, he joined Arup as co-director for research and development and, in 2002, formed the Foresight, Innovation and Incubation team, which has evolved into its present form as Research + Foresight + Innovation.
Roya Mahboob was one of the first female tech CEOs in Afghanistan. A serial entrepreneur who uses technology to transform the futures of women and girls, she is CEO of software company Afghan Citadel and the Digital Citizen Fund, which supports digital and financial literacy for women and children in developing countries. She is developing plans to build STEM schools in remote places and to use blockchain technology to unlock new opportunities for entrepreneurs. She is a champion of the award-winning Afghan girls’ robotics team, The Afghan Dreamers.
Mayor of Zurich since March 2009, Corine Mauch is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (SP). She was a member of the City Parliament from 1999 to 2009, including as vice-president and president of the SP municipal parliamentary party (2002-09) and as president of the Parliament’s Audit Committee (2006-08). She holds a diploma in agricultural engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, has studied Chinese studies at the University of Zurich and completed a postgraduate master’s in political and administrative sciences at the University of Lausanne/IDHEAP.
Joël Mesot holds a joint professorship in physics at ETH Zurich and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne; he became president of ETH Zurich on 1 January 2019. He studied physics at ETH Zurich, worked in France and the US and then returned to ETH Zurich, joining the Paul Scherrer Institute, where he became head of the laboratory for neutron scattering in 2004. He was director of PSI from 2008 to 2018. He was awarded the Swiss Physical Society’s IBM prize in 1995 for his research work and ETH Zurich’s Latsis prize in 2002.
Principal and vice-chancellor, University of Glasgow
Chair, Russell Group
Professor Muscatelli, an expert in economics, has been in his current appointment since 2009 and fulfilled the same role at Heriot-Watt University from 2007-09. He chairs the Scottish Government’s Standing Council on Europe, is a member of the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisers and a board member of the Scottish Funding Council. He chairs the Russell Group of British research universities and is a director of the Universities Superannuation Scheme.
Abel Olayinka is vice-chancellor of the University of Ibadan and a member of council, Association of Commonwealth Universities. Other appointments have included chairman and, later, foundation president of the West African Research and Innovation Management Association from 2006 to 2015. He holds a BSc in geology from the University of Ibadan, an MSc in geophysics from Imperial College London and a PhD from the University of Birmingham.
Professor Opoku-Agyeman was minister for education from 2013-17. In 2008, she became the first woman to lead a state university in Ghana, when she was appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Coast. In 2009, she was elected Ghana’s representative to Unesco’s executive board – a position she still holds – and in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the development and promotion of quality education in Ghana, she is a recipient of the Ghana Women of Excellence Award.
Dr Patry, a civil and environmental engineer, studied at the University of Ottawa and University of California, Davis, then rose through academic positions at other institutions before returning to Ottawa as dean of engineering in 1993. He became vice-president (academic), then president and vice-chancellor, and is now professor and president emeriti. From 2010-17, he was also president and chief executive officer of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. He is a Member of the Order of Canada, a recipient of the Order of Ontario and a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering.
Duncan Ross has been a data miner since the mid-1990s. As director of data and analytics at THE, he oversees a team that generates university rankings and related data products. Prior to this, he led Teradata’s data science team in Europe and Asia, where he was responsible for developing analytical solutions across a number of industries, including warranty and root-cause analysis in manufacturing and social network analysis in telecommunications.
Before taking up his current role in 2016, Professor Schmidt, winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, was an astrophysicist at the ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory and Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Under his leadership, the High-Z Supernova Search Team discovered that the expansion rate of the universe is accelerating. He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2013.
Prior to his current role as senior adviser to the president of the European Commission, Michel Servoz was director-general for employment in the EC (2014-18) and deputy secretary-general of the EC (2010-14). He served in the Secretariat of the EC from 2001 to 2010, and from 1991 to 2000, he fulfilled various posts in the Directorate-General for Trade, dealing with WTO negotiations on services, transatlantic trade negotiations and other bilateral negotiations on services. Prior to joining the EC, he served as a judge in France.
Sarah Springman has been full professor for geotechnical engineering at ETH Zurich since 1997 and rector of the university since 2015. After graduating from the University of Cambridge, she spent five years in industry before returning to academia. Previous roles have included director of the ETH Zurich Network for Natural Hazards. She is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and works to inspire young women to embark on engineering degrees.
Professor Tan took up his post in January 2018. He is the university’s fifth president and the 23rd leader to head Singapore’s oldest higher education institution. A pioneer architect of the current academic system in NUS, Professor Tan has seeded many initiatives such as the Special Programme in Science, University Scholars Programme, University Town Residential College Programme, Grade-free Year and Technology-enhanced Education.
Vicki Thomson was appointed chief executive of the Group of Eight – Australia’s eight leading research-intensive universities – in January 2015. Prior to this, she was executive director of the Australian Technology Network of Universities. Ms Thomson’s diverse media, political and policy background includes print and electronic journalism, politics, issue management and the higher education sector. She has also been chief of staff to a South Australian Premier. She is a board member of the European Australian Business Council and is a member of the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan Reference Group.
Shalini Trefzer expands the business and reach of young and emerging companies of the future, from start-up to scale-up; most of whom are applying artificial intelligence to solve problems in various market segments. Originally from the US, she spent more than a decade working in San Francisco for companies such as Cisco Systems, before moving to Switzerland in 2008. There, she worked for six years as a corporate finance and operations professional in drug development, before branching off on her own into the field of AI-driven business applications.
Senior Counsellor, Directorate for education and Skills
At the OECD, Dirk Van Damme has served as head of the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, and as head of the OECD’s work on skills. He holds a PhD in educational sciences from Ghent University and has served in various academic and government positions. He has published on higher education policy, international quality assurance and the impact of globalisation on higher education. Before joining the OECD, he was general director of the Flemish Rectors’ Conference VLIR (2000-03) and chief of staff of Flemish education minister Frank Vandenbroucke (2004-08).
ThinkLab provides a forum for decision-makers from industry, politics and academia to reflect, together with experts and scientists, on emerging societal and technological trends. Karin Vey speaks on topics ranging from artificial intelligence and the future of work and education to innovation trends, entrepreneurship, organisational culture and transformation. She is also an active researcher in the area of the implications of AI for business and society, and a university lecturer. Her academic background comprises physics and psychology.
Vice-president of global strategic networks (Germany, Austria and Switzerland)
Before joining Elsevier in 2017, Dr Voegler worked at Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), most recently as director of its North America office based in Washington DC. His interest in academic publishing started as a graduate student when he worked at Humboldt University in Berlin as coordinator of the internet history portal “Clio-online” and then at the DFG, where he began as a programme officer in the libraries and information systems division. He holds a PhD in modern European history from Columbia University in New York.
Head of the Department of Health Sciences and Technology
Professor Vogel is chair of the department of health science and technology (D-HEST) and heads the Laboratory of Applied Mechanobiology at ETH Zurich. She joined the department of bioengineering at the University of Washington in 1990 and moved up through the ranks to full professor, acting as founding director of its Center for Nanotechnology (1997-2003), prior to joining the department of materials (2004) and then the newly founded D-HEST (2012) at ETH. To accelerate clinical translation, she has been an Einstein visiting fellow, Berlin Institute of Health at university hospital Charité since 2017.
Christer Windeløv-Lidzélius is principal at the Denmark-based design school, KaosPilot, which has been recognised by, among others, Unesco and BusinessWeek for its innovative educational approach to fostering leadership and entrepreneurship. For more than 15 years, Dr Windeløv-Lidzélius has been working in the fields of leadership, strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship, and has worked in more than 25 countries for private companies, NGOs and public organisations. He is also a guest professor at Stockholm University of the Arts.
Professor Xue is dean of Schwarzman Scholars, a highly selective international scholarship programme based at Tsinghua University. He is also Cheung Kong chair distinguished professor and dean of the School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University. His teaching and research interests include science, technology and innovation policy, crisis management and global governance. He serves as an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University and is a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is a recipient of the Fudan Distinguished Contribution Award for Management Science.
Managing director and head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society
World Economic Forum
In addition to her managing director role at the World Economic Forum, Saadia Zahidi heads the Forum’s Centre for the New Economy and Society. Her teams work to understand and shape the new economy, advance competitiveness, drive social mobility and inclusion, close skills gaps, prepare for the future of work and foster gender equality and diversity. She founded and co-authors the Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, Global Gender Gap Report and Human Capital Report. She has been selected as one of the BBC’s 100 Women and won the inaugural FT/McKinsey Bracken Bower Prize for prospective authors under 35.
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