Speakers 20.05.2021


Rach Colling is Head of Communications at the European Forest Institute. Rach joined EFI in 2011, and has been responsible for the development of EFI’s policy support communications, as well as managing and developing digital communications tools. She has over 20 years’ experience in science communication, and prior to joining EFI ran a successful communications business working with UK government agencies and universities. Before that, Rach worked for BBC News Online as a journalist, as well as in communications/marketing for various UK universities. She has a masters’ degree in international relations from Cambridge University and trained as a journalist in the UK. 
Senator Pippa Hackett is Minister of State for Agriculture with responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity. She was appointed to this role in June 2020, only the third senator in the history of the state to be elevated to Cabinet. Senator Hackett was elected to the Agricultural Panel of Seanad Éireann in a by-election on 1 November 2019 and was re-elected in 2020.  She is also a former member of Offaly County Council. She holds a BSc in Agriculture from the University of Essex, a postgraduate diploma from University College Dublin, and a PhD from the University of Limerick. Minister Hackett has four children, and along with her husband Mark, she runs a farm (Moat House Farm) near Tullamore in Co Offaly.  They produce organic beef and sheep, while they also have some bloodstock and forestry. Moat House Farm is situated on the site of a 12th century Norman motte and bailey identified on the ordnance survey map as "The Moat of Down", hence the business name.


Lauri Hetemäki is the Assistant Director at the European Forest Institute (EFI), and is responsible for managing the institute’s science-policy work. He is also Professor of Practice at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Helsinki. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Helsinki. He is the author of 200 scientific and popular publications. Previously Hetemäki worked as a part-time Professor in Forest Sector Foresight at the University of Eastern Finland; Head of Programme at EFI, and as a Senior Researcher at the Finnish Forest Research Institute. He is a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry.
Tuula Packalen is Director-General of Natural Resources Department at Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland, and prior to that research professor in forest planning at Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). She has 25 years of experience in policy relevant research projects. In Finland, she has represented forest research in the Finnish Forest Council and Climate Panel. Internationally, she has coordinated Forest Resources and Information Programme at the European Forest Institute (EFI), a IUFRO Working Group, the COST Action ORCHESTRA and the Horizon2020 project DIABOLO. She holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Geography, University of Edinburgh.


Marc Palahí is the Director of the European Forest Institute and responsible for leading the organisation towards an acknowledged pan-European science-policy platform. Previously he led EFI’s policy support activities and during this time was instrumental in launching ThinkForest, a European high-level science forum on the future of forests. He has also worked as Head of EFI’s Mediterranean Facility, EFIMED. He has a PhD in forestry and economics and an MSc in forestry engineering.
Gillian Petrokofsky is a Research Fellow in the Oxford Long-term Ecology lab at the University of Oxford. She researches the science-policy-practice nexus in forestry and land use, with a particular focus on methods that engage stakeholders in the co-production of evidence for policy. In 2019 she co-founded Oxford Systematic Reviews to conduct systematic evidence evaluations for policy support on questions of contemporary relevance, with high levels of contestation. Before returning to academic research in Oxford, she was Head of the forestry section of CAB International. She has a PhD in evidence-based forestry from the University of Oxford.
Janez Potočnik is the current ThinkForest president. He is also Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel and Partner at SYSTEMIQ. He is an economist and former politician from Slovenia. He worked in the Government of the Republic of Slovenia as the Head of Negotiating Team for Accession of the Republic of Slovenia to the European Union and then as Minister without portfolio responsible for European Affairs. Mr. Potočnik was a Member of the European Commission from 2004 to 2014, initially responsible for the Science and Research and later responsible for the Environment. He was appointed as a Co-Chair of the IRP hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme in 2014. In 2013, he received the United Nations Champions of the Earth Award.
Stephen Quest is the Director-General of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) as of 1 May 2020. Prior to this, he was the Director-General of the Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union (TAXUD) and the Director-General for Informatics (DIGIT), driving the digital transformation of the Commission.  His career spans more than 25 years in the European civil service, and has included work on the EU budget, social and environmental policy and four years as Assistant to the Secretary-General. As Director-General, Stephen is particularly focused on modernising organisational culture and promoting innovation within the Commission, both as regards the use of technology and empowering and involving staff in decision-making. He is particularly passionate about communication and the interface between policy and technology.
Virginijus Sinkevičius is the present Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, at the European Commission. Mr Sinkevičius was from 2017 to 2019 Minister of Economy, and before he was leading the Committee of Economy at the Parliament of Lithuania. Mr. Sinkevičius was elected to the Parliament in October 2016. Prior, he was a Team Lead for Regulatory Affairs at Invest Lithuania. Mr. Sinkevičius holds BA in International Relations and Affairs from Aberystwyth University and Master‘s degree in European International Affairs from Maastricht University.
Jim Skea is Professor of Sustainable Energy at Imperial College London with research interests in energy, climate change and technological innovation. His current main role is as Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III for the 6th assessment cycle. He was Research Director of the UK Energy Research Centre 2004-12 and Director of the Policy Studies Institute 1998-2004. He has operated at the interface between research, policy-making and business throughout his career. He was a member of the UK Committee on Climate Change from its inception in 2008 until 2018. He is currently chairing Scotland’s Just Transition Commission. Until June 2017, he was President of the UK Energy Institute. He was awarded a CBE for services to sustainable energy in 2013 and an OBE for services to sustainable transport in 2004.
  Photo credits: VS- Â© European Union 2019