Advisory Council

The Advisory Council supports EUTOPIA in developing its strategy by advising the alliance, through the Board of Presidents, on all aspects of EUTOPIA activities including but not limited to activities in education, research, governance, and external engagement, and on how EUTOPIA can make these activities sustainable in the long term.

Advisory Council members are nominated by EUTOPIA member universities and have a breadth of experience and knowledge, including of both leadership in the university sector and of the policy agenda relevant to higher education in Europe and internationally.

Nominated By

  • Babeș-Bolyai University: Dragos AnastasiuMircea Dumitru
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel: Lieve Van den BrandeJean-Claude Burgelman
  • Ca’ Foscari University of Venice: Carlo CarraroFabio Trincardi
  • CY Cergy Paris University: Grace NevilleManuel Tuñón de Lara
  • Technische Universität Dresden: Babette SimonHans Mueller-Steinhagen
  • University of Gothenburg: Pam Fredman
  • University of Ljubljana: Boštjan ZalarMark Pleško
  • NOVA University Lisbon:  Maria Luísa Ferreira
  • Pompeu Fabra University-Barcelona: Vicente Ortún
  • University of Warwick: John Higgins (Chair), Nikki Muckle


Dragos Anastasiu
Dragos Anastasiu

Dragos Anastasiu began his entrepreneurial journey in 1995 when he founded his first company, a coach passenger line from Romania to Germany, which in only two years would become a member of the most important international passenger transport network: Eurolines. After that first company, many more followed, around 20, that formed the Eurolines Romania Group, which developed continuously until it became a reference group in transport and tourism in Romania. Outside the country, he has developed business in Germany and the Republic of Moldova. In 2017 Dragos Anastasiu finalized the partnership with FlixBus, one of the first important business lines of Eurolines Group (international lines of transport). Today, after these two successful exits from transport and tourism, Eurolines Group is specialized in hospitality (Green Village Resort in Danube Delta 4*, Valea Verde Retreat in Transylvania), rent-a-car (Enterprise franchise) and support services.
Dragos Anastasiu was the President of the Romanian-German Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Advisory Board of Romanian Business Leaders for almost 10 years. He is passionate about sports and education. He likes new projects, and he strongly believes in the urge to change the mindset and adjust to new frames. Besides business, an important part of his time is dedicated to education programs (, contributing to a better future for Romania (, consultancy to Romanian entrepreneurs ( and to bringing Romanians back home ( Dragos is a member of the Strategic Advisory Council of the Rector for UBB.

Mircea Dumitru
Mircea Dumitru

Mircea Dumitru is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bucharest (since 2004), Vice-president of the Romanian Academy (since 2022), and Executive Director of Romanian-US Fulbright Commission (since 2020). He has been Rector of the University of Bucharest (2011-2019), President of the European Society of Analytic Philosophy (2011 - 2014), President of the International Institute of Philosophy (2017 - 2021), Fellow of Academia Europaea (since 2019) and the Chair of the Philosophy, Theology, and Religious Studies of Academia Europaea (since 2023), Corresponding Fellow of the Romanian Academy (2014-2021), Fellow of the Romanian Academy (since 2021), Minister of Education and Scientific Research (July 2016 - January 2017), Visiting Professor at Beijing Normal University (2017 - 2022), President of Balkan Universities Association (2019 - 2022).

He holds a PhD in Philosophy at Tulane University (1998) with a topic in modal logic and philosophy of mathematics, and another PhD in Philosophy at the University of Bucharest (1998) with a topic in philosophy of language. He has been invited Professor at Tulsa University (USA), CUNY (USA), NYU (USA), Lyon 3 (France), ENS Lyon (France), University of Helsinki (Finland), Pekin University (China), Renmin University  (China), CUPL (China), Xi’an University (China). His main area of research are philosophical logic, philosophy of logic, metaphysics, and philosophy of language.

Lieve Van den Brande
Lieve Van den Brande

Lieve Van den Brande graduated as Master in educational sciences and Master Aggregate Higher Secondary Education at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). After having been a Research Assistant at the Faculty of Psychology and Education (VUB) from 1980 to 1988, she completed her PhD in the educational sciences at Université de Liège in 1992 while having started working at the European Commission. Her main research fields are decision-making in complex environments, ICT and education, competencies development for educators, development of transversal skills such as entrepreneurship, digital competencies, collaboration, creativity and innovation, EU-wide approaches to modernising education and training through innovative teaching and learning. Lieve has been visiting lecturer at the College of Europe, Université libre de Bruxelles, Hoger Instituut voor Sociale Readaptatiewetenschappen (Higher Institute of Social Re-adaptation sciences), pedagogical tutor and course developer for the Open University Heerlen. She is an active member of editorial research journals and boards and evaluator of multiple research projects and surveys.

Van den Brande was Principal Administrator at the Directorate-General (DG) for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion of the European Commission, working in digital and entrepreneurial skills and competencies. She has been working for more than 25 years at the European Commission - in DG Information Society around 'Telematics for Education and Training'; DG Research around social sciences research, DG Education and Culture around ‘ICT and education’ and ‘Opening up education’ and most recently DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion working on digital literacy and competences.

Jean-Claude Burgelman
Jean-Claude Burgelman
Jean-Claude Burgelman is Emeritus Professor of Open Science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He retired in 2020 from the European Commission where he was in charge from 2014 onwards, of Open Science at the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD). His team developed the European Commission’s polices on Open Science, the European Open Science Cloud, Open Data and Open Access. He joined the European Commission in 1999 as a Visiting Scientist in the Joint Research Centre where he was in charge of socio-economic research on digital technologies. In January 2008, he moved to the Bureau of European Policy Advisers (attached to the president of the European Commission) and one year later joined DG RTD, where he created top level advisory boards like the European Research and Innovation Area Board, the Innovation for Growth Group, and the European Forum for Forward Looking Activities. All these groups contributed to the design of the Framework programs for research and innovation of the European Union.
Until 2000 he was Full Professor of Communication Technology Policy at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, as well as 1st director of the research Centre for Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication. He has been Visiting Professor at the University of Antwerp, the European College of Bruges and the University of South Africa and sits on several academic journals. He chaired the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Innovation and was a member of its Science Advisory Committee.
Carlo Carraro
Carlo Carraro

Carlo Carraro is President Emeritus and Professor of Economics at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. He holds a PhD from Princeton University. He was President of the University of Venice from 2009 to 2014 and President of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE) from 2018-2019. Previously, he was Director of the Department of Economics from 2006 to 2008 and Vice-Provost for Research Management and Policy from 2001 to 2005. From 2008 to 2023, Professor Carraro was Vice-Chair of the Working Group III and a Member of the Bureau of the Nobel Laureate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He was also President of the National Committee on Climate Change Impacts on Infrastructures and Mobility and a member of Directorate-General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) High-Level Advisory Group in Brussels.
Presently, he belongs to the Strategic Advisory Board of the Euro Mediterranean Centre for Climate Change (CMCC) and he is also a Fellow of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE) and of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE).
He is a World Economic Forum (WEF) Expert Network member and a Research Fellow of CEPR, London, CESifo, Munich and CEPS, Brussels.

Fabio Trincardi  ​​​​​
Fabio Trincardi

Fabio Trincardi has been the Director of the Department of Earth System Sciences and Environmental Technologies of CNR, Rome, since June 2017 after directing for 8 years the Institute of Marine Sciences (ISMAR) in Venice.
He is a marine geologist studying continental margins, from the shore to the abyss and from mid-latitudes to polar regions, including geohazards, and the evolution of marine and coastal systems (deltas and lagoons) in the Anthropocene (the current geological epoch when humans are the dominant agent of transformation at planetary scale).
Fabio Trincardi has participated in numerous EU projects acting as coordinator of Bluemed, Eurodelta and several projects on the geological mapping of Italian seas, blue economy (RITMARE), and sedimentological modelling and marine geohazard (also funded by Industry: EXXON, ENI, Shell, Snamprogetti, Edison).
He is the author of about 200 articles and served on the boards of Geology, Marine Geology and Geo-Marine Letters. He held a course on Marine Geology at the University of Bologna, advising PhD students in Bologna and other European Universities.

Grace Neville
Grace Neville

Grace Neville is Emeritus Professor in the French Department, University College Cork (UCC) and Adjunct Professor of French at University College Dublin (UCD), having retired from UCC in 2012 after a career of 35 years. In 2008 she was appointed as UCC's first Vice President for Teaching and Learning, a position she held until 2012.
Grace Neville has been involved in Teaching and Learning initiatives since the early 1980s, from the UCC Teaching Development Unit to more recent initiatives inspired by the Teaching and Learning Scholarship at Harvard and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. She served for many years on the board of directors of the Glucksman Gallery and was Chair of Cork University Press publishing committee.
Grace Neville was also Director of NAIRTL (National Academy for Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning) as well as overseeing the operation of UCC's Centre for Adult Continuing Education. In France, Neville is an invited member of the international jury of the IDEX/ I-SITE initiative (a major part of the French government's Investissements d'avenir programme at the ANR). From 2014-19, she was Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee of Sorbonne-Universités, Paris (a multi-institution cluster which includes Paris-Sorbonne Université), and is an invited member of the International Scientific Advisory Board of le CRI (Centre de Recherche Interdisciplinaire, Paris).
In 2012, she was appointed Chair of a national initiative on innovative teaching in French higher education, and in 2015 was appointed Chair of an initiative on innovative technology in French higher education. Both of these initiatives are part of the French government's Investissements d'avenir programme. Neville was awarded the highest distinction bestowed by the French state, the Légion d'Honneur, as well as the Palmes Académiques, and is an invited member of the Irish Board of the Légion d'Honneur (French Embassy, Dublin), as well as Vice-President of AMOPA Irlande (the Irish branch of l'Association des Membres de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques (French Embassy, Dublin).

Manuel Tunon de Lara
Manuel Tunon de Lara
Manuel Tunon de Lara is Professor of Medicine (pulmonology) at the University of Bordeaux and Medical Doctor at the teaching hospital.
Manuel Tunon de Lara was the President of France Universités, the conference of French universities rectors until 2023. He previously conducted the merge of three universities in Bordeaux and served as the first President of unified University of Bordeaux, from January 2014 to January 2022.
At University of Bordeaux, Manuel Tunon de Lara championed the values of a large, multidisciplinary, internationally recognized university and led his institution to be one of the very first excellence initiatives in France.
Babette Simon
Babette Simon
Babette Simon is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Health of the University of Paris and member of the Expert Advisory Group One Sustainable Health Forum. She has wide national and international experience across the healthcare system in private and non-private organizations with a strong focus on innovation, sustainability and value creation.
Prof. Simon has held the position of Regional Vice President Medtronic Germany, served as Medical Director and Chair of the Board of the University Medical Center Mainz and is former President of the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg. Her expertise is sought after in numerous scientific committees.
She was a member of the scientific commission and medical committee of the German Council of Science and Humanities, of the supervisory boards of the University Hospital Düsseldorf and the TRON Translational Oncology Mainz gGmbH. She served as senator of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers. She is a member of the University Council of the Technical University Dresden and of the board of governors of the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research GEOMAR.
Hans Mueller-Steinhagen
Hans Müller-Steinhagen

Hans Müller-Steinhagen was the Rector of Technische Universität Dresden and the Chairman of the Board of DRESDEN-concept from 2010 until 2020. This was followed by two years as President of Dresden International University and Member of the Executive Board of TU Dresden Stock Company.
Before moving to Dresden, he was the Director of the Institute for Thermodynamics and Thermal Engineering at the University of Stuttgart and the Director of the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics of the German Aerospace Center. Prior appointments include a Professorship for Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Surrey in Guildford, and an Associate-Professorship for Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Auckland.
Prof. Müller-Steinhagen is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in the United Kingdom, a member of the German Academy of Science and Technology, and he serves in the Innovation Council of the Prime Minister of Saxony, Germany. For his services to Engineering, Higher Education and International Collaboration he was awarded honorary doctorates from universities in the Czech Republic, South Korea and Iran. In 2020, he received Germany’s Federal Cross of Merit for his outstanding contribution to twice achieving excellence status for the TU Dresden and his exceptional social commitment to Dresden’s urban society.

Pam Fredman
Pam Fredman
Pam Fredman is Professor Emerita in Neurochemistry at University of Gothenburg. She has >170 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals and during the last 10 years articles related to Higher education on global level. She has been board member of national and international scientific organisations and academies and served review committees including research project, higher education institutions and for scientific journals.
Among pending assignments, she is a board member of the Wallenberg foundations, the largest private research funding agency in Sweden and chair of several international and interdisciplinary centres at Karolinska institute and University of Gothenburg. She is board member of the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC).
For more than ten years she has been involved as vice president and president, in the leadership of the International Association of Universities, the global network of universities and official partner with UNESCO. Currently immediate past president and board member.
She has extensive experience from academic leadership and served as Vice chancellor (2006-2017) at University of Gothenburg. During the period she was the elected chair of the Swedish Rectors Conference for 6 years and in that position also member of the European University Association, EUA, council, and the EUA Research Policy Working Group. For more than ten years she is acting as chair of the Swedish national leadership programs for incoming rectors and deans. Pam Fredman has participated in political initiatives and policy development in Sweden and internationally. On behalf of the Swedish government, she led the investigation (reported 2019) on governmental steering and resource allocation to Swedish higher education institutions.
Mark Pleško
Mark Pleško

Mark Pleško is a world renown expert for nuclear accelerators and particle cancer therapy. He is the founder and managing director of Cosylab, a spin-off, which he has grown to 200+ employees, present on 3 continents. 
Mark Pleško is President of the Engineering Academy of Slovenia, President of the Management Board of the Jožef Stefan Institute, Vice-President of the Science and Technology Council of the Government of Slovenia, member of Programme Councils at Faculties for Mathematics & Physics and Computer Science at the University of Ljubljana, and member of the EU-Japan Business Round Table.
He is an angel investor in 15+ startups. He received the Award of the European Physics Society 2001, was nominated for Slovenian Entrepreneur of 2014, received the Award of the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce for exceptional business and entrepreneurial achievements 2018 and received the Alumni of the Year 2018 Award of IEDC. BSc, MSc and PhD in elementary particle physics at University of Ljubljana in 1983, 1985 and 1987, respectively; received an MBA at IEDC Bled in 1996.

Boštjan Zalar
Boštjan Zalar

Boštjan Zalar is the Director of Jožef Stefan Institute, the largest public research institute in Slovenia. He holds a Ph.D. degree in physical sciences from the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. His main research tool is nuclear magnetic resonance, applied to solid and soft materials, among them disordered ferroelectrics and liquid crystal elastomers.
In addition to studying atomic-level processes and dynamics, leading to spontaneous order, he is also involved in developing automated signal acquisition equipment.
Boštjan Zalar is also a full professor at the Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School in Ljubljana.

Maria Luísa Ferreira
Maria Luísa Ferreira

Maria Luísa Ferreira is passionate about impact entrepreneurship and social innovation and the benefits they can bring to society and the environment. She is herself an entrepreneur at heart having throughout her career developed many projects and initiatives that she believes will create a better world. She is regularly invited to speak at events on Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, to be a member of the Jury or resource boards of competitions on charity or social entrepreneurship, and to be a mentor or to join networks of experts. Luísa seats on the board of various organizations: She is the President of the Management Board of Jos et Mimieke Foundation, a member of Strategic Board of Iris since 2017, of the Advisory Board of Konexio, an NGO, since 2020, of the WorldPlaces Project since 2022 and a member of the Strategic Advisory board of Global Shapers Luxembourg since 2015. Luisa is since May 2022 the President of the General Council of the NOVA University Lisbon.
Luísa joined the European Investment Bank in 1999. She is currently the Head of the Institute’s Social Programme where she notably created and developed the Social Innovation Tournament, a reference in the European Innovation eco-system. She started at the Institute when it was founded in 2012 and was responsible for the development and management of the Knowledge and Social Programmes.
From 1999 to 2012 she was first a senior education economist, then an economic advisor in the Projects Directorate of the Bank, where she was responsible for the economic appraisal of projects and research work in the education (with special emphasis on the financing aspects of higher education) and social sectors. She was also Head of the EIB-Universities Research Action Programme. Between 2003 and 2004 she was a senior education analyst in the Education Directorate of the OECD, where she was responsible for a project on the role of education and training policy in promoting equity and social cohesion.
Prior to joining the European Investment Bank, she worked as a Senior Human Resources Economist at the World Bank (1992-1999), mainly involved in project and research work on education and social protection issues in Eastern Africa and Latin America. She also held teaching positions in Portugal at the Portuguese Catholic University and at the NOVA University Lisbon and research positions in the USA. Luisa holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA).

Vicente Ortún
Vicente Ortún

Vicente Ortún is Emeritus Professor of Economics and Business, on active service, and former Dean of the School of Economics at the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF). Founder, former director and principal researcher of the Center for Research in Economics and Health (CRES-UPF), knowledge transfer award. Member of the Governing Boards of the UPF and of the MAR HealthCare Consortium. Author of >500 publications, responsible for a collection of books on Health Economics and Health Management, with 31 titles published by Elsevier and Springer, and director of 12 doctoral dissertations.
MBA ESADE, Research Assistant and MSc Purdue University, doctoral studies in Public Health and Fulbright Scholar at Johns Hopkins, PhD in Economics by the University of Barcelona, and Visiting Scholar in the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Consulting experience at Arthur Andersen &Co, Financial Analyst at Geseco-Banco Urquijo and different management responsibilities at Hospital de Sant Pau. Head of Technical Cabinet in the Generalitat of Catalonia, deputy director in the Ministry of Health, and self-employed professional consulting for international organizations in different countries until his incorporation as a professor at UPF at its inaugural moment in 1990. Ex-president of the Spanish Society of Public Health and Health Administration (SESPAS), ex-president of the Asociación de Economía de la Salud (AES), ex-secretary of the European Public Health Association, meritorious member of CAMFiC, Josep Trueta Medal for Health Merit, elected corresponding academic of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Catalonia, and recognized as an Honorary Member of the Health Economics Association.

John Higgins
John Higgins

John Higgins is Chair of Global Digital Foundation. He is a recent former President of the British Computer Society (BCS), the UK’s Chartered Institute of IT. He became the public face of the digital sector in Europe in November 2011 speaking regularly on platforms and at conferences throughout Europe and beyond as Director General of DIGITALEUROPE, the association for the digital technology industry in Europe.
John was President of the European Commission’s Strategic Policy Forum (SPF) on Digital Entrepreneurship. He led DIGITALEUROPE until April 2017, following nine years as head of its UK member, Intellect, now TechUK. In spring of 2017 he became a Senior Advisor to global communications company, Burson, Cohn & Wolfe for Digital and Artificial Intelligence.
John is an advisor to the European Commission’s Intelligent Cities Challenge. In 2021 he was appointed Chair of Sardina Systems - a global cloud software company. The Queen appointed him a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2005 for his services to the UK IT industry. John lives in Bath in the UK with his wife Ailsa. They have three adult daughters.

Nikki Muckle
Nikki Muckle

Nikki Muckle is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Warwick. Her primary focus is on the ‘Social Sciences Grand Challenge’ – a programme of transformational change across education, research, and professional services, and supported by a significant capital building programme. Nikki also has responsibility for external relations for the Faculty, leading the Faculty’s engagement with regional, national and international partners and stakeholders.
Nikki Muckle was previously Secretary-General at EUTOPIA, leading the development and implementation of EUTOPIA’s vision and strategy both to deliver its strategic objectives in education and research, and to secure funding for these activities. She also fronted EUTOPIA’s external engagement, working to ensure the participation of key stakeholders and raising the external profile of EUTOPIA across Europe and internationally.
Having spent a short time as a researcher in European and international trade economics, Nikki first moved to university administration supporting research funding applications and was then the lead on institutional research strategy. Subsequently, Nikki instigated the development of Warwick’s policy engagement strategies, managing the University’s partnerships in both Westminster and Brussels, and then moved to lead the creation and development of the EUTOPIA alliance.