Ruben Eiras is currently Director General for Maritime Policy of the Ministry of the Sea of Portugal. He was advisor for industry, innovation and energy of the Minister of Sea of Portugal. He was a Science and Technology manager at Galp Energia. He holds a Phd in energy security policy in the area of History, Defense and International Relations, by the Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e Empresa – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa and the Military Academy. He also holds a Master Degree in Sustainable Energy Systems from the MIT-Portugal Program. He was a member of the Group of Experts on Natural Gas from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and a SAS Technical Member Energy Security from NATO Science and Technology Organization.
Minerva Elias works at the European Investment Fund managing the equity financial instruments part of the Horizon 2020 programme and EFSI –, and developing innovation and alternative financing programmes in the Mandate Management Department (including blended finance, the EIC-Accelerator, Thematic Investments and crowdfunding).
She has worked in both private and public research organisations including universities, technological start-ups, technological centres and governmental institutions, acting as a project, research manager. She gained valuable experience on EU policy and financial programs as a R&D and Innovation Liaison Officer at the Delegation of the Catalan business agency to the EU.
Minerva graduated from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona with a degree in Biology and Postgraduate degree in Forensic Sciences from the same university. She holds an Executive MBA from Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management.
She is fluent in English, Spanish, Catalan and French and devoted to outdoor, sports, horticulture, and spending time with friends and a glass of wine.
Since January 2017, Bernhard Friess has been the Director of the Directorate "Maritime Policy and Blue Economy" of the European Commission's Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Directorate-General.
Mr Friess studied Law at Munich University. His career with the European Commission included assignments in the areas Internal Market Policy, Competition Policy, Maritime Policy and Fisheries, and Education and Training.
Martin Poulsen – Mr. Poulsen has been active in sustainable private equity, SME finance and emerging markets for over 20 years. He has a particular focus on natural assets, particularly agriculture, forestry and the blue economy. He founded Acacia Sustainable Business Advisors Sarl in 2016. Acacia works with clients to develop investment strategies and marketing materials, to identify investors and gain their support through to pipeline development, closing investments and on general governance.
He was a partner in the Moringa Partnership between 2012 and 2016, a ground-breaking EUR85m sustainable fund investing in agroforestry companies in Africa and Latin America.
Mr. Poulsen worked as a development banker and investor in funds with EIB and AfDB between 2003 and 2012 and as an investment manager with Kennet Capital between 1997 and 2002.
In his early career, Mr. Poulsen was a business process re-engineering consultant with CSC and project engineer with CDC in Africa.
Rita Marques holds a degree (1998) and Master’s Degree (2000) in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Porto’s School of Engineering and has an MBA (2007) from the University of Southern California. She has also completed several executive leadership programmes held at the Instituto de Empresa Business School (2018), London Business School (2017) and the University of Texas at Austin (2016). She was the Executive Director of Porto Business School’s MBA and Post Graduate programmes (2016-2018), Coordinator of the University of Porto’s Project Unit (2008-2016) and Manager of the Asia-Pacific Market and of the Technology and Tourism sectors at Agência Portuguesa para o Investimento (2003-2006). She was also Senior Consultant at Microsoft Corporation (2006-2007), in the United States, and specialist at ANACOM (2001-2003). She provides consultancy services to several public and private entities related to innovation, public financing, internationalisation and foreign direct investment.