Discover the team


Mostafa Moonir Shawrav

Candidate as Chair

As the vice-chair of MCAA executive board, I am the person you blame when something goes wrong. But from evidence, I am also the person you go to when you need something get done yesterday, so that nothing goes wrong today, and you know exactly what you will have tomorrow. I am also the person who believe in ‘learning by doing’, ‘understanding by listening’ and ‘leading by showing’. I hope this is visible from all that I have done till date to improve the internal governance (process and outcome) and sponsorship.

Coming from a developing Asian country and then surviving three very different European countries, I learned directly from my struggles, problems that most young researchers face, and applied that knowledge to identify the gaps and innovate solutions for a sound research career. Because that is what I am passionate about.

Along with career development, my passions include organizational development and strategic management mostly, and inopportune moments, diet, exercise and singing terribly slightly.

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Fernanda Bajanca

Candidate as Vice-Chair

Originally from Portugal, I currently manage clinical research at a children’s hospital in France. I have a large experience on fundamental research, in the field of Developmental Biology, but after my MSCA Individual Fellowship in London focusing on muscular dystrophies I felt the need to move towards clinical. I’m a people person and a creative problem solver, features that led me to my current job but also important for my engagement with the MCAA. I have been for two years, and until recently, chair of the Policy WG. I am the MCAA representative at ISE (Initiative for Science in Europe), Policy leader at the Research Funding WG, and member of the MSCA advisory group. I like hiking, I love travelling, and I enjoy learning and exchanging ideas.

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Valentina Ferro

Candidate as Vice-Chair

I am a scientist and an illustrator, with a background in physics and passion for science communication and public engagement. I completed a BSc and a MSc in Physics from the University of Catania (IT), and obtained a PhD in Physics and Biophysics from the University of Dundee (UK) as part of the ITN Phoqus. I am currently working as an instrumentation scientist at UC Berkeley, where I “play” with lasers and explore new frontiers in microscopy. When I am not in the lab, I contribute to MCAA or draw with ink on paper looking for creative ways to communicate science. If any time is left, I would spend it travelling to meet interesting people and experience new cultures. Or just discussing crazy ideas with friends over a beer.

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Renaud Jolivet

Candidate as Treasurer

I am a Group Leader at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. My research focuses on the heterocellular complexity and energetic requirements of the brain, and to a lesser extent on brain imaging technologies. My team is supported by various national and European competitive grants. Prior to that, I was a student and a postdoc in Lausanne and Zürich, Switzerland, and then a fellow in London, UK. I have also worked briefly in Japan on two occasions. I am active within MCAA since its inception, having participated in various working groups since 2014. In 2017, I was the founding Chair of the Swiss Chapter, and I was elected to the Board in 2018, where I have served since. I am also an elected Member of the Board of Directors at the Organization for Computational Neurosciences, and a Policy Advisor at the Initiative for Science in Europe since 2019.

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Marina Rantanen Modeer

Candidate as Secretary

I am a Swedish/Finnish researcher doing my PhD on Cyber-Physical Systems at the Technical University of Dortmund. Before moving to Germany, I worked at the European Space Agency (ESA) in the Netherlands on several robotics projects (see this video on Meteron). I also worked as a research engineer and team leader at the Smart Mobility Lab at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. I have long been interested in research policy and improving conditions for early-career researchers across Europe. This is the reason I joined the MCAA in 2018 and became Chair of the German Chapter. I have really enjoyed the community spirit and collaboration as well as the exchange of ideas in the MCAA. The MCAA has played an important social role for me and given me a unique chance to get to know new people both in and outside my field. As secretary, I aim to further support the activities of MCAA and develop the communication and outreach to our members.

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Karen Stroobants

Candidate as Ordinary Board Member

I am a policy adviser at the Royal Society of Chemistry, and advise on regulation related to research environments, researcher careers and environmental policy. I previously worked on the research culture programme of the Royal Society, including research integrity, research evaluation, inclusion and diversity and researcher careers. I took up my Marie Sklodowska-Curie post-doctoral Fellowship at the Centre for Misfolding Diseases, Chemistry Department, University of Cambridge, where I studied membrane protein aggregates and their potential role in neurodegenerative diseases. Before moving to the UK, I completed my PhD at KU Leuven in Belgium. I became an active member of MCAA over three years ago and am vice-chair of the MCAA Policy Working Group since 2018. My biggest accomplishments in this capacity have been professionalising MCAA's policy writing and representing MCAA at European Research Area Committee meetings. My favourite topics are research culture, gender equality and transitioning from a research to a policy career, do engage with me at events, especially on these topics. Other interests include Belgian beers, ethical/philosophical dilemmas and travel stories, happy to touch on those as well!

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Sara Ricardo

Candidate as Ordinary Board Member

I am based in Barcelona since moving here from Portugal after the award of a Career-Track Principal Investigator position in Cell and Development Biology in 2012. Prior to that, I did my PhD at UCL in London and had postdoc and research positions in NY, at the NYU Medical Center. I left academia in early 2019 and I am currently working in healthtech as a business developer in an AI in medical imaging company, where I develop and advise on partnerships, collaborations and client relationships and increase the overall business. I also independently consult and coach on academic issues, working with foundations and academic institutions. I started my involvement with MCAA as a founding member of the Portugal-Spain Chapter, served on its Board from 2015-2017 and have been elected and serve the board since 2018, being active and leader of several initiatives. I love hiking and the outdoors.

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Esther Volz

Candidate as Ordinary Board Member

After four years of research within a Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN, I am currently wrapping up my PhD in the field of molecular biotechnology, which I conducted at the University of Groningen and the DSM Biotechnology Center Delft. From January onwards I will be managing research projects in the field of bioeconomy and biotechnology at DECHEMA – a German expert network for biotechnology in science, industry, politics and the general public. In my free time, I am chairing the MCAA Benelux Chapter since almost two years. Beside that I enjoy traveling, yoga and being in nature.

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Pavlo Bazilinskyy

Candidate as Ordinary Board Member

I come from Ukraine, and now I live in Delft, Netherlands. I am a head of data research at a startup SD-Insights and postdoctoral researcher at TU Delft. I finished my ITN PhD at TU Delft in automated driving. I received my Erasmus Mundus MSc in Dependable Software Systems from University of St Andrews and Maynooth University. Oh, and my BEng I finished in Finland, so I try to be quite international. I have been a chair of the Bridging Science and Business working group of MCAA for 2 years. I am now also a vice-chair of the BeNeLux chapter, and I used to be its chair. I am also active in EMA (Erasmus Mundus Association), where I help to outline the agenda for research and innovation of the association.

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Gian Maria

Gian Maria Greco

Candidate as Ordinary Board Member

I am a MSCA Individual Fellow at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain) and a Research Associate at the University of Vigo (Spain). My research focuses on the theoretical foundation and practical applications of accessibility studies, with a focus on human rights, the media, translation, and information technologies. I published extensively in these areas and participated in many national and European research projects. I held various university positions; most notably, in 2003-7 I was a Junior Research Associate at the University of Oxford (UK). I have over a decade of experience in the not-for-profit sector as a board member in many organisations specialised in social inclusion, human rights, and culture. Over the years, I have been working as accessibility consultant for public institutions and private companies. Within the MCAA, I am a member of the Communication Working Group and the Genders, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Working Group. I am editor-in-chief of both the MCAA Newsletter and the MCAA magazine IRRADIUM.

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Donata Iandolo

Candidate as Ordinary Board Member

I am currently based in France where I work as a senior postdoctoral fellow. So far, I have been living in various different countries. My first experience abroad was in Sweden, I then moved to Singapore and then back to Europe to start my IF first in France and then in the UK. Here I worked at the University of Cambridge and I got increasingly involved with the MCAA. I have been involved in the activities of the UK Chapter, having organized a workshop on mental health in Cambridge in 2019, with a follow-up event to be held soon. The connection between research culture, policy and researchers’ wellbeing and mental health is my major interest and the reason for getting more and more involved with MCAA.

Read more about Donata's prior experience and motivations