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Ecsite board

Executive committee

Herbert Muender
Herbert Muender
General Manager
I am the Managing Director of Universum® Bremen. Before that, I was the Managing Director of Wissenschaft im Dialog (2002-2011) and developed this initiative towards a center of competence for science communication in Germany. I was responsible for annual projects like MS Wissenschaft (exhibition ship) and Wissenschaftssommer (German national science week) and coordinated research activities on participation formats like student parliaments. I organised the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) 2006 and initiated the Forum Wissenschaftskommunikation (German conference on science communication). I am a Board member of MINTaktiv, the German network of science centers and technical museums, and was the President of Eusea in 2010-2011. I have been sitting on the Ecsite Board since 2014, served as Vice-President in 2016-2017 and was elected President in June 2017.
Past Presidency
Michiel Buchel
I have been the General Director and Chair of the Board of NEMO since 2003. I'm convinced that the role and impact of science centres and museums will grow and I'm committed to working on public engagement for a better world. As an experienced cultural entrepreneur I have a special interest in finding sustainable business models for science centres and museums of different sizes. I am an alumni of the Noyce Leadership Fellows Programme and a board member of several cultural and scientific institutions and networks in the Netherlands. I served as Ecsite's Treasurer before being elected Ecsite President for two years in 2015. I am currently serving as Past President.
Vice Presidency
Anna Omedes
I am a biologist and a doctor in acoustic behaviour of animals. During my entire career I have been designing and managing natural sciences museology and museography projects. I have been the project manager of the Museum’s new site, the “Museu Blau”, and co-curator and coordinator of the 3,000 sqm permanent exhibition Planet Life. I work with my team to make the Natural Sciences Museum of Barcelona a truly inclusive one, both scientifically and socially. I believe that powerful projects are only possible through collaboration, both local and International. I have been sitting on the Ecsite Board since June 2016 and was elected Vice President by the Board in June 2017.
Tapio Koivu
Tapio Koivu
I have been Heureka's CEO since August 2014. I have been leading the restructuring of Heureka’s organisation, renewal of the content and strategy as well as the expansion of the facility. I have extensive international experience in building collaborative platforms between industry and academia. I have sat on the Boards of directors of numerous start-up companies, innovation and research organisations as well as foundations and non-profits. My research background gives me a solid basis for science communication. I have been sitting on the Ecsite Board since June 2016 and started as a Treasurer in November 2017.
Catherine Franche
Executive Director
I am the Executive Director of Ecsite. Under my leadership, the Ecsite Conference has grown to become the largest science engagement event in Europe and Ecsite has firmly established itself as a trend setting platform and as a key stakeholder on the European stage. Before I joined Ecsite in 2006, I was working for the Office de Coopération et d’Information Muséographiques (OCIM, France) as a Training coordinator. From 1992 to 1994, I was Professional development coordinator and then Executive director of the Société des Musées Québécois. I have also worked in architecture and art museums in Canada and managed cultural events such as jazz festivals. I hold an MBA in cultural management from HEC Montréal (Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales).


Jean Baptiste Desbois
Jean Baptiste DESBOIS
I have been the CEO of La Cité de l’espace since June 2011. After 9 years of professional experience in the industry, I have managed large facilities and events for business and cultural tourism in France during 22 years, such as a Congress Centre, the Château des Ducs de Bretagne (Nantes), an History Museum, Street Theatre, as well as coordinated large events venues and run international festivals. My career path stands at the crossroads of education, culture, science, tourism and economy. I joined the Ecsite Board in 2013 and was the Ecsite Treasurer between 2014 and 2017.
Robert Firmhofer
Robert Firmhofer
I am the founding director and the Chief Executive Officer of the Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw. Since its opening in 2010, Copernicus has been welcoming over one million visitors every year. I am also the co-founder and organizer of the Science Picnic, Europe’s largest outdoor science communication event. Before working at the Copernicus Science Centre, I was a long-time editor in chief for science and education at the Polish Radio, where I also hosted science and educational programmes. On the international level, I am the member of the International Programme Committee for the Science Centres World Summit, serve as the European Commission expert and sit on the Advisory Board of Science in Society, USA, as well as the Strategic Planning Committee of the International Planetarium Society. I believe that the success of social projects can only be built through collaboration and partnership on the strong foundations of trust, creativity and a bold vision. I joined Ecsite in 2004 and served as its Board Member between 2008 and 2015. In 2011 I was elected the President of Ecsite for a two year term. I am now serving a new Board mandate, started in June 2017.
Kim Gladstone Herlev
Kim Gladstone Herlev
Executive Director,
I am an educated teacher and have more than 14 years of experience as a science center leader - since 1 July 2014 as the CEO of Experimentarium. I first joined Experimentarium in January 2003 when I was asked to establish its Department of Science Communication. Since then I have been through lots of challenges - huge and small - including the construction of a new science centre, going from small to bigger, reorganizing the staff, surviving crucial economic situations and fighting to keep a high level of science communication. Before Experimentarium I led the school departments of Denmark's largest consumer organisation Coop Denmark and of the Danish Society for the Conservation of Nature – Denmark's largest NGO. I love sharing my experience with people and I love learning from others. I am an alumni of the Noyce Leadership Fellows and I currently serve as the co-chair of the CPPC (ASTC planning committee). I served a first mandate on the Board of Ecsite in 2014-2016 and I was elected for a new period in June 2017.
Ulrike Kastrup
Museum director
As first director of focusTerra, the Earth Science Research and Information Centre and museum at one of the world's leading universities, ETH Zurich, I had the opportunity to develop its vision and strategy and to create a lively, today well-established museum that informs about the wonders of the Earth. The focus of my work lies on promoting the understanding, discovery, and enjoyment of our planet and by informing our visitors of the role and relevance of the Earth's natural resources. Already in my previous positions I have been working on establishing a stronger bridge between science and the public. Trained as a natural scientist I have been working in the field of natural risk management and how good communication can prevent or mitigate adverse effects in case of an event. For eight years I have also been a member of the European Environment Agency’s Scientific Committee, advising on communication and natural risks. I was elected to sit on the Ecsite Board in June 2017.
Luigi Amodio
Luigi Amodio
Director of the Science Centre
I am the Director of the Science Centre of Città della Scienza in Naples, a city where I was born in 1962. In 1990, since its beginnings, I started to work with Città della Scienza and I am currently member of the Partners Founders Meeting. I have been member of the Ecsite Annual Conference Programme Committee and, am currently an elected member of the Kuratorium of the Deutsches Museum in Munich. I am lecturer in Master Courses of Science museology at the Universities of Roma 3 and Milan-Bicocca and have been Adjunct lecturer of Museum Communication and of Sociology at the University of Naples “Federico II”. Finally, I'm a member of the Editorial board of "Museologia scientifica", journal of the Italian association of science museums (ANMS). My main hobby is classical music and opera. I succeeded Vincenzo Lipardi as the Città della Scienza representative on the Ecsite Board in June 2017.
Thanassis Kontonikolaou
Thanassis Kontonikolaou
General Manager
I have been the Director General as well as Technical Director of NOESIS – The Thessaloniki Science Center and Technology Museum since 2012. Besides the administration and custody on the construction of new infrastructures of NOESIS, I’m responsible for new projects, I oversee competitions, the evaluation of tenders, the composition and checking of projects, services and supplies contracts. In 2002-2008 I worked for EFTA (the European Investment Bank), in charge of “Competitiveness” and “Culture”: as the Head of surveillance I oversaw project funding and was in charge of finding new sources of funding. I have a degree from the School of Electrical Engineers of the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki and I’m also member of the Experts Committee of the Technical Chamber. I was elected to sit on the Ecsite Board in June 2018.
Helen Jones
Helen Jones
Director of Strategy and International
United Kingdom
One of my key responsibilities as the Science Museum Group's Head of Strategy and International is to lead on national and international working and partnerships. Before joining the Science Museum Group in 2008 I was Head of Planning at the Victoria and Albert Museum. My background is in archaeological conservation, which I practiced and taught before turning to museum management positions. I have been on the Ecsite Board since 2014.
Stephane Berghmans
Stephane Berghmans
I am an experienced innovator and intrapreneur. My goal is to make innovation happen in organisations. I have a background in chemical engineering and before joining Technopolis in 2016 I worked in R&D an innovation in several technology fields (materials, pharmaceuticals, connectivity). Technopolis has been holding a Trustee’s position on the Ecsite Board since June 2017 and I started representing our organisation on it early 2018.
Bruno Maquart, Universcience President © Ph Levy_EPPDCSI
Bruno Maquart
Chairman and CEO
Since July 2015, I have been the chairman and CEO of Universcience, the first French public institution devoted to communicating scientific and technical culture. It comprises two venues in Paris, Palais de la découverte (founded in 1937) and the Cité des sciences et de l'industrie (founded in 1986). For the last twenty-five years of my career, I've been working in two different fields, both in the public sector: culture and social affairs. In 2001, I took over as managing director of Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou in Paris. Then, I was appointed head of Agence France-Museums, owned by French major cultural institutions, which I ran from 2007 to 2010. This company is in charge of the Louvre Abu Dhabi project, in the United Arab Emirates. My last position with the Ministry for Social Affairs and Health was chief of Minister Marisol Touraine's staff. I was appointed by the French government Officer of the Ordre des Arts et Lettres and Knight of the Order of the Legion of Honour. I was elected to sit on the Ecsite Board in June 2017.
Jan Alfred Andersson
Head of Science Center Department
I have been the Head of Oslo Science Centre since 1999. Oslo Science Centre is part of the Norsk Teknisk Museum. The Norsk Teknisk Museum was the proud winner of the 2015 Mariano Gago Ecsite Awards for TING, our participatory immersive exhibition exploring the complex relationships between technology and democracy. TING subsequently also won the 2015 ASTC Leading Edge award. I played a central part in the building of the National board of Norwegian Association of Science Centres, where I also served two periods. I also served as Board member of the Nordic Science Center Association. I have been sitting on the Ecsite Board since 2013.