speakers 6th edition in Krakow

Meet the speakers

Circular Economy

Marzena Smol

Mineral and Energy Economy Research Institute

Prof. Marzena Smol is the Head of the Division of Biogenic Raw Materials at the Mineral and Energy Economy Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences (IGSMiE PAN). She completed a master’s degree in Environmental Protection (2010) and International Project Management (2013). She completed the PhD (2015)  and post-doctoral degree (2021) in technical sciences – Environmental Engineering. Manager and contractor in national and international projects in the field of raw materials management in the context of the implementation of the principles of sustainable development (SD), circular economy (CE) and the strategies for the Green Deal in the water and sewage, fertilizer and agri-food sectors. Founder of the Division of Biogenic Raw Materials at IGSMiE PAN, member of the Scientific Council of IGSMiE PAN. She participated in the work on the preparation of the Roadmap Transformation towards circular economy in Poland (Ministry of Development). Holder of the Minister’s Scholarship for Outstanding Young Scientists. Member of Polish Young Academy PAS.

Value creation: From idea to business

Anas Abdelrazeq

RWTH Aachen University

Dr. Anas Abdelrazeq is head of the Data Intelligence department at the Institute for Information Management in Mechanical Engineering (WZL-MQ/IMA) at RWTH Aachen University. Anas is an expert in the field of digital transformation. In 2020, he received his PhD in the field of 3D vision (augmented reality) and cloud computing. He led several international research projects on applying cutting-end and innovative technologies to different use cases in production, construction and education. Anas has been teaching for more than seven years and has held several workshops on design thinking, pitch trainings and digital competences.

Raw Materials, Resources and Criticality

Eric Pirard

Université de Liège

Eric Pirard is "ingenieur geologue" and professor of georesources at ULiège. Specialised in developing computer-assisted imaging techniques in geology, particle science and geometallurgy, he is heading a group of about 30 researchers.

Circular Business Models

Karel Van Acker

KU Leuven

Karel Van Acker is full professor in Circular Economy at KU Leuven with a joint mandate at the department of Materials Engineering (faculty of Engineering Sciences) and at the Centre for Economics and Corporate Sustainability (faculty of Business and Economics). His research is on developing strategies to realize the circular economy (CE) and on sustainability assessments of these CE strategies, including amongst others recycling, materials substitution, sharing economy and circular business models.  He leads the policy research centre “Circular economy” for the Flemish government and currently is the chairman of the Sustainability Council of KU Leuven.”

Industrial symbiosis

Michal Preisner


Michal Preisner is an Assistant Professor at the Mineral and Energy Economy Research Institute (MEERI) of the Polish Academy of Sciences. His research focuses on the biogenic compounds of nitrogen and phosphorus removal from wastewater and on the possibilities for phosphorus recovery. He was also a regional coordinator of the project "SYMBI - Industrial Symbiosis for Regional Sustainable Growth and a Resource Efficient Circular Economy" (https://www.interregeurope.eu/symbi/). 

Life Cycle Assessments

Jutta Hildenbrand

RISE Research Institute of Sweden

Jutta Hildenbrand is research scientist and project manager at RISE. Her research fields are life cycle assessment and system analysis for product systems including a focus on chemicals assessment.

Sustainability and social aspects

Andrea di Maria

KU Leuven

Andrea Di Maria is a postdoctoral researcher at the materials engineering department at KU Leuven in Belgium. He has a master's degree in environmental engineering at the University of Padua (Italy), and he obtained a PhD in “environmental and economic modelling for the circular economy” at KU Leuven. Andrea is currently work-package coordinator for several European projects, on the development of new technologies to increase the sustainability of the mining and metallurgical sectors. Andrea’s research is currently focused on the environmental, economic and social impact assessment of materials’ life cycles, with a specific interest in metals recycling and inert waste valorisation.