Meet our Expert and Advisory Board

Dr. Levent Gürgen


Dr Levent Gürgen is the founder and president of Kentyou, a technological startup focusing on open innovation for smarter cities. Before creating Kentyou, he was R&D project manager in CEA-LETI for about 10 years. He was involved in more than 15 collaborative projects from various domains such as smart farming, smart living, smart mobility, smart home and smart ski resort, in which he played different roles (coordinator, technical coordinator, WP leader, IoT manager, etc.). His involvement in European collaborative projects has been awarded in 2016 by the French Ministry of Research and Education as one of the 12 “Stars of Europe”. Mr Gürgen is also the president of the Urban Technology Alliance, a global smart city initiative.

Anke Heijsman


Anke Heijsman has a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy (1980), and a master’s degree in Health Education and in Health Sciences, both from the University of Maastricht (1985; 2012). Her interest are on education, professional development and research in the field of healthy ageing. She works currently as a teacher-researcher at the University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam on the topics active and healthy ageing, health technology and care, participation and environment, and as a coordinator on Active and Healthy Ageing at the Amsterdam Economic Board for the Reference Site of the EIP-AHA network.

Sabina van der Veen


Sabina van der Veen has a bachelor degree in pediatric physical therapy from the school of Applied Science in Amsterdam. In 2015, she obtained a Master’s degree in Public Health from the Dutch School of Public and Occupational Health. She was an advisor to The Committee on Innovation Health Care Professions & Education, resulting in ‘the paradigm shift in perception, learning and action’ presented to the Ministry of Health, well-being and sports and the Ministry of Education in 2016. She currently works as a researcher at the Amsterdam UMC, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Medical Humanities and as a coordinator on Active and Healthy Ageing at the Amsterdam Economic Board for the Reference Site of the EIP-AHA network.

Lacramioara Stoicu-Tivadar


Lacramioara Stoicu-Tivadar is a professor (2005-) at the University Politehnica Timisoara, Faculty of Automation and Computers, Department of Automation and Applied Informatics and a PhD Coordinator in Computers and Information Technology (2007 -). Mrs Stoicu-Tivadar gives lectures in computer programming, digital healthcare and human-computer interaction.  Her current research domains are Virtual Reality applications in medicine, healthcare informatics in emergency medicine, AI in diagnosis and treatment in obstetrics-neonatology-pediatrics and Big Data & smart analytics & Cloud Computing for better doctor-patient team results. Mrs Stoicu-Tivadar participated as invited speaker or reviewer in various national and international projects. Some of them are: MC Romania in COST Action CA19136, NET4AGE-FRIENDLY (2020-), MC Romania in COST – Action CA15120 – Open Multiscale and Systems Medicine (OpenMultiMed)

Klaus Niederländer


Klaus Niederländer is currently the Director of the Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) Association, an international public-public partnership of national and regional Health, Innovation & Research Ministries/Funding Agencies from 19 countries in Europe and beyond. Since 2016 his work focuses on demographic challenges and opportunities through ageing well based on autonomy, self-help and solidarity. With a double bachelor’s degree in European Business in Germany and the UK and a master’s degree in European Economics from the College of Europe in Belgium, Mr. Niederlander started his professional career in 1995 in investment banking and in management consulting for the pharmaceutical/chemical/logistics industry as well as for city development. In 2002, he joined EU-ACP agency as programme manager before becoming Director of Cooperatives Europe. He eventually was appointed Director of the AAL Association in 2017.

Filippo Cavallo


Prof. Filippo Cavallo is Associate Professor in Biomedical Robotics at the University of Florence, Department of Industrial Engineering, Florence, Italy. He received a Master Degree in Electronics Engineering, Curriculum Bioengineering, from the University of Pisa, Italy, and a PhD degree in Bioengineering at the BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy. From 2013 to 2019, he was assistant professor and head and scientific responsible of the Assistive Robotics Lab at the BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, leading a group of 16 people, among which PhD students, Post-doctorate and assistant researchers.

From 2008 to 2014, prof. Cavallo led the development of Ambient Assisted Living roadmap and strategic research agenda within the AALIANCE coordination action and in 2018 he was expert member at the European Economic Social Committee for the INT/852 communication on Digital transformation in health and care. He participated in various national and European projects, and he is currently the principal investigator of the Olimpia Project about Parkinson disease, Pharaon project on pilots for active and healthy ageing, and scientific responsible of ACCRA, Capsula, Corsa, CloudIA, Si-Robotics, Intride and Metrics projects.

Valentina Tageo


Valentina graduated in Economics at the Catholic University of Milan, obtained a Master in European Project Management and she is currently a MSc candidate in Population Health Sciences at the University of Glasgow. Valentina has experience in international project management and proposal writing under several funding programmes (e.g. FP7, H2020, URBACT, INTERREG, among others). She has been working as Research Project Manager at different healthcare, research and industry organizations (e.g. Technical University of Milan, IESE Business School, Badalona Serveis Assistencials, Ab.Acus srl and Open Evidence). She authored the grant proposal which led to the implementation of the ICTUSnet project led by AQuAS, devoted to exploiting big data and innovative technologies to improve stroke care processes, and the URBACT Implementation Network “URBINCLUSION” project led by Barcelona City Council. Currently, she is the project manager of the RRI MULTI-ACT project and Lead Expert for the Urban Innovation Actions (UIA) project GAVIUS.

In 2018 Valentina founded the research and consultancy company Wise Angle which has been recently awarded a contract by the European Economic and Social Committee to carry out a study on “How the Digital Transformation can put humans at the centre of robotics and automation”.

Elisabeth de Vries


Elisabeth de Vries is an experienced strategic advisor both in (local) policy and health care as well. Currently, she is working as such at Saffier in The Hague Netherlands, a main care-institute for the elderly. Elisabeth de Vries is a former policy advisor for The city of The Hague, in that capacity securing the The Hague connection with the World Health Organisation program of Age-friendly cities. She is strongly participating in the European Network on Intercultural Elderly Care. Ms de Vries is a board member of the foundation ‘Woonservicewijken and a skilled community former, coach, publisher, consultant and strategic policy advisor. Her personal motto is: ‘It is already there. You don’t have to invent it, you only have to discover it!’

Sonja Hansen


Ms Sonja Hansen is a European Project Officer at the Municipality of Aarhus. She has a BA in languages and a Diploma in Public Administration and Economics as well as a certified project manager education. She has worked with project development, coordination and fundraising since 2007, and has been engaged in several EU-networks and EU-projects. Sonja has experience in collaborating international, in both Triple and Quadruplo Helix cooperation and is member of both national and international networks and has close cooperation with the EU-system and Danish EU-offices in Brussels and their networks as ERRIN – European Regions regional international network and CORAL-network (Community of regions for assisted living) as well as to the Commission’s DG Connect and DG Sante and she is member of the EIP on AHA network (European international partnership on active and healthy ageing), Age-friendly cities, Smart City etc.

Saied Tazari


Graduated in Informatics from Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany, Saied Tazari was 1993-99 a technical consultant, and later a manager, in a large-scale project for Tehran municipality automation. In 2000, he joined the department “Mobile Information Visualization” at the Computer Graphics Center in Darmstadt. Since January 2007, he is working at Fraunhofer IGD as associate head in the department “Smart Living & Biometric Technologies”. Benefiting from several years of research on context awareness, service brokerage, semantic interoperability and user interaction in Digital Intelligent Spaces, he eventually acted as the principal designer of the software platform universAAL, now being a leading promoter of He has recently finished successfully the coordination of ReAAL, the large-scale piloting for universAAL, and is now the Risk & Quality Manager for, the new large-scale IoT piloting project in the field of “Smart Living”.

Dr. Elizabeth Mestheneos


Dr. Elizabeth Mestheneos, a UK trained sociologist, moved to Greece in 1983 where she worked as an independent social researcher from 1988,  undertaking many projects on ageing. She has published widely on these subjects. She co-founded the NGO “50+ Hellas” in 2005 (see, acted as CEO until 2014 and continues as a Board member. She is also a board member of the Hellenic Gerontological and Geriatric Association where she still supports the Greek e-library of Gerontology and Geriatrics (see ) She served from 2003 on the Board of AGE-Platform Europe, and as its President 2008-2011; she was a member of the Board of IFA 2008-14.  She is active as an advisor, juror, and evaluator on various EU funded projects concerning new technologies, accessibility, and the human rights of older people.

Dr. Konstantinos Votis


Dr Konstantinos Votis is a computer engineer and a senior researcher (Researcher Grade B’) at Information Technologies Institute/Centre for Research and Technologies Hellas (CERTH/ITI) and Director of the Visual Analytics Laboratory of CERTH/ITI. He is a visiting professor at the University of Nicosia, Institute of the Future, regarding Blockchain and AI technologies (since October 2019). He received an MSc and a PhD degree in computer science and service-oriented architectures from the Computer Engineering and Informatics Department, University of Patras, Greece. In addition, he holds an MBA from the Business School department at the University of Patras.

Since 2001, Dr Votis has participated in more than 30 Research and Innovation projects in the fields of HCI, IoT, information Visualisation and data analytics, personal health systems, cybersecurity, blockchain. He is also a member of the EU Blockchain Observatory and forum where he has contributed to standardization activities like CEN/CENELEC Blockchain technologies, European Cybersecurity Organisation (ECSO), European Blockchain Partnership (EBP) for the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure implementation (EBSI).

PU EAB Thomas Karopka

Thomas Karopka, BioCon Valley GmbH®


Thomas Karopka is Senior Projekt Manager, at BioCon Valley GmbH®. His main role involves the coordination of the project-related work and the management of the strategic working group for active and healthy ageing of the board of trustees for health economy in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. His work focuses primarily on health IT, telemedicine and digitalisation.

Thomas Karopka

Thomas Karopka has actively worked in the international health IT community since 2002. He has acquired extensive knowledge in the use of free and open source software in health care. He works in German and English and has basic knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese.

Bart Degryse


Mr Degreyse has a bachelor degree in electronics since 1989 and worked 18 years as a test engineer and later as electrical designer for Bombardier Transportation, one of the global leaders in rail technology . By the age of 40 he made a career as a technical advisor for an innovation center for assistive technologies (In-HAM).  In 2018 Mr Degryse had the opportunity to start as innovation manager at the White-Yellow Cross (WYC), one of the biggest home care organizations in Flanders (White and Yellow Cross | Wit-Gele Kruis). At WYC he is responsible for all innovation projects for the region of East Flanders and works in collaboration with his  colleges of the other 4 divisions in Flanders.