All Posts in EIT Climate-KIC Alumni

15 September 2021 - No Comments!

New EIT Alumni President Appointed

Anca del Rio is set to become the EIT Alumni’s next President! She will represent over 14,000 alumni from all the Alumni Communities and lead the Alumni Board.

Anca del Rio was selected from a large pool of highly accomplished candidates, following a rigorous selection and evaluation process. Following lengthy applications, motivational videos, letters of support from respective Alumni Communities, interviews, and a final decision by the EIT’s Director, the EIT Health Alumna was appointed as the new President.

A welcome from the EIT Director, Martin Kern:

'A warm welcome to Anca del Rio, the new EIT Alumni President! As an experienced entrepreneur and health innovator herself, she is the ideal representative for the network of fellow entrepreneurs. The EIT highly values this very network and alumni community because it allows students and start-ups to stay connected long term and benefit from the EIT offer while strengthening the EIT community as a whole. I am convinced her leadership and systemic change management will help steer EIT Alumni towards our common vision of a greener, more sustainable Europe. I look forward to working together and see the EIT Alumni community grow under her leadership.' 

Anca del Rio is a passionate and experienced professional in governance, health economics and policy and public health strategy, and a leading innovator with entrepreneurial drive for digital transformation, development and progress.

Sho holds an international Masters of Science in Public Health and is pursuing a PhD in the same field. As a Graduate and then Mentor of the EIT Health Starship Programme in Biodesign, Health Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, she is a specialist in value-based healthcare and digital capacity building, healthcare governance, quality systems, and patient safety.

In March 202, Anca founded The Digital Aid Project, a global COVID-19 Resilience and Response initiative aiming to bring need-led innovation to the most vulnerable and to #LeaveNoOneBehind. The DAP provides capacity-building support on strategic initiatives for the identification and meaningful adoption of digital health solutions in mental health facilities, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes, during and beyond public health crises.

Alongside her diverse executive, advisory and technical roles in healthcare strategy and planning, Anca is involved with several international organisations holding honorary positions. She is the Country Representative at EIT Health Alumni Network, the Regional Network Chair at Patient Safety Movement Foundation, Young Forum Gastein Alumna, Member of the Quality Commission at SPIZE-Hospitals and Clinics of Central Switzerland. Anca is also engaged in several activities to advance effective innovations towards Sustainable Development Goals.

Her passion for societal change is evident through her involvement in events and programmes like the World Health Innovation Summit, MIT COVID-19 Challenge, EU vs. VIRUS, and EIT Health Summer Schools.

The EIT Alumni Community would like to thank the outgoing EIT Alumni President, Miguel Amador, for his committed and thorough work steering the ‘Network of Networks’ through an especially challenging period for the Community and the world at large. He will continue to lead the representation of EIT Health Alumni.

We warmly welcome Anca’s appointment and greatly look forward to her stewardship!

You can follow Anca del Rio on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

5 July 2021 - No Comments!

EIT Alumni join session at European R&I Days 2021

On the 24th of June, during European Research and Innovation Days, EIT Alumni joined a dedicated session: “The Role of Community and Mentoring in Driving Innovation – How to foster knowledge flows: examples from Marie Curie Alumni Association, Erasmus Mundus Association and EIT Alumni”, where Dr Katherina F Heil (President of the Erasmus Mundus Association), Dr Mostafa Moonir Sharaw (Chair of the Marie Curie Alumni Association) and Ilona Puskas (Member of the EIT Alumni Board) were invited to speak. Urszula Bogatynska, Project Support Officer of EIT moderated the session.  

The discussion focused on how student and alumni associations use community participation and mentors to drive their activities toward research and innovation. The speakers discussed how their communities encourage knowledge sharing across countries and industries. 

Here are two highlights from questions posed by Urszula Bogatynska: 

In view of the topic for today’s discussion, we would like to know how can we engage communities to participate in the creation of innovative ideas focusing on different objectives? 

Illona Puskas (EIT Alumni) stated “The most important is creating conditions so communities can share their ideas, to connect with people and resources, combine all of this into alliances”. 

Mostafa Moonir Shawrav (MCAA), shared that one important question that every community needs to ask is “What do we want to achieve with the community engagement?”. Is the engagement object-oriented or curiosity-driven? Once defined, they can use effective communication skills and bring stakeholders together to listen to the community and establish different ideas of co-creation. One good example from the MCAA Erasmus+ project is OEduverse. 

Katherina Heil (EMA) added that more tools should be given to empower the community to be innovative and to encourage the sharing of good examples. Lastly, she stated that there is a lot of room for innovation and the most important is to get information out there, to create opportunities for members to meet. A good example is a hackathon, where members can put their ideas into practice.  

How do you see the role of mentors and mentees in the facilitation of knowledge sharing across different sectors? Do you think that Alumni communities fulfil their potential? 

Mostafa Moonir Shawrav (MCAA) shared that in past surveys the intersectoral mobility is not as popular as interdisciplinary or international mobility and intersectoral collaboration is lower than in academic collaboration. When talking about mentoring, Dr. Shawrav encourages mentoring programmes that can be helpful for researchers to define and plan the next stage of their career. Regarding the last part of the question, he mentioned: “Are we utilizing our full potential? The honest answer is no, not yet.” 

Katherina Heil (EMA) highlighted “the benefits of a mentoring programme for mentors, but also for mentees.” She shared that these programmes are extremely beneficial to every person involved. EMA has had a mentoring programme for several years, designed to pair individuals to have a traditional mentoring relationship. This year they have tried to add lectures and interactive sessions to the mentoring programme, and create a safe space in which mentors and mentees could work together; for example, looking at a CV together or designing a future career plan. Regarding using the full potential of Alumni communities, she said: “we are not yet using our full potential, but we are working towards engaging as many people as possible and spreading the word about the success of smaller activities. This is how people move forward as well” 

Illona Puskas (EIT Alumni) finalized the discussion, adding “there are a lot of improvements to be made, but [there are] very positive tendencies as well.” In the EIT community, when individuals are still active participants in one of their programmes, most students already cultivate a relationship with the network coach, instructors, and invited experts. “There is a very healthy and quite organic mentor-mentee relationship,” she added, even if it not a formalized mentor-mentee relationship.  

The representatives from each community also debated the high demand of mentees, and the lack of mentors and incentives for them to use their free time to help people from their community. Mostafa Moonir Shawrav added that in an organization like MCAA, EMA or EIT Alumni, every member is a volunteer, so finding members and engaging them is always a challenge. Fortunately, there are a lot of members that are committed to the organization and want to share their free time and knowledge amongst the community.  

11 May 2021 - No Comments!

Year in Review: Read the EIT Alumni Impact Report 2020

A Year of Resilience and Growth for the EIT Alumni Community!

The EIT Alumni Impact Report 2020 presents the activities, results, and impact of the EIT Alumni Community over the course of a year. Even amidst the global pandemic, this year saw the community broaden its outreach, impact and swiftly respond to societal challenges.

In terms of governance, the board welcomed new representatives from EIT RawMaterials Alumni, EIT Climate-KIC Alumni, CommUnity by EIT InnoEnergy and EIT.

A few milestones from Impact Report 2020

The full report is available here.

17 December 2020 - No Comments!

EIT Alumni CONNECT 2020 – first time online!

Over 120 EIT Alumni came together on 28 and 29 November to connect, build partnerships, co-create projects, and work together to develop the EIT Alumni Community.

EIT Alumni CONNECT  is the annual big event and opportunity for EIT Alumni members to meet, discuss and debate on social, environmental and technological challenges.

The theme of the 2020 EIT Alumni CONNECT was 'Responsible Consumption and Production' and how EIT Alumni could address it. It was about how to do more and better with less, about decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation, increasing resource efficiency, and promoting sustainable lifestyles.

Alongside interactive networking session, a series of workshops allowed our members to get unique insights from external organisations, and from members of the EIT Alumni Communities: EIT Climate-KIC Alumni, EIT Digital Alumni, CommUnity by EIT InnoEnergy, EIT Health Alumni, EIT RawMaterials Alumni and representatives from EIT Food Alumni.

The first day started off with a welcoming speech by EIT Director Mr. Martin Kern who emphasized the role of the Alumni members to lead the change to a greener, sustainable and more digitalized Europe, before giving the floor to the EIT Alumni Communities representatives to introduce the main activities and plans for the current and upcoming year.

Wrap up video EIT Alumni CONNECT 2020. 

Panel discussions

Throughout the two days, two panel discussions took place on the theme of the event ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’, one focusing on the ‘Industry Perspective’ with Selah Li, ELLURE AB, Harrison Wavell, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Antoni Pijoan, EIT Manufacturing. The second panel discussion focused the ‘Consumer Perspective’ with Giulia Marzetti, EIT Climate-KIC Alumna, Mara De Pater, CollAction and Alessandra Schmidt, Fab Lab Barcelona IAAC.

Both panels touched upon the themes with very valuable insights including:

  • Idea of developing mass personalisation instead of mass consumption;
  • Importance of the distribution of infrastructure (idea of localism – localised production);
  • Emphasis on the need of documentation of product production;
  • Idea of prosumer (a person who both produces and consumes a particular commodity);
  • Importance of reusing, reducing and recycling;
  • The need for Doughnut economics ('economy exceeds within the boundaries of society');
  • Advocating for degrowth movement ('a really good believe system for both consumers and producers').

On top of that, a series of parallel workshops ran on the first day of the event with different topics and hosted by a group of industry experts:

  • 'Gender Databias in applied AI', led by Women@EIT;
  • 'Better life for farm animals', led by Matus Gasparik, EIT Food Alumni;
  • 'Towards sustainable food systems': Awareness and Action, led by Silvia Fernandez Gonzalez from EIT Climate-KIC Alumni, representing DESOS Opció Solidària;
  • 'Climate impact forecast', led by Bram van der Grinten and Gabi Brunazzo;
  • 'How to ExPlane your organisation', led by Symke Nieboer, Isabel Seeger and Peter Paul Vossepoel.
Networking and virtual party time

The second and last day of the event was more interactive, with an online networking session for the participants. They had the opportunity to connect, talk and overcome the space and virtual barrier.

The event ended with a virtual party time where participants enjoyed games, a quiz and other activities. For next year, we hope to see everyone again, in a better and more sustainable world.

Watch the welcome by EIT Director Martin Kern, the two panel discussion and presentations of the different EIT Alumni Communities.