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Meet our speakers

We have some of the best experts lined up for you with keynote speakers from the European Commission and industry, academia and NGO representatives.

Chris Burns - Conference moderator

Multilingual Journalist, Moderator, Video producer, Media trainer - Burnstorm Communications

​​​I'm a highly versatile broadcast and print journalist, multilingual moderator, voice, media trainer and video producer based in Brussels with more than 30 years' experience and five European languages.

A fast writer, video editor and cameraman, I have great on-camera presence, voice and appearance, with solid grounding in print, radio and TV. Full range from news packages to corporate videos, to hard talk debate.

Reported across America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Hosted numerous panels for WEF, OECD, European Union, World Bank, BOZAR, Google and others.

See my work on my company website.



09:00 - 10:20 (EET)


Juhani Damski

Permanent Secretary - Ministry of the Environment of Finland

I am a Doctor of Philosophy and served as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Environment since June 2020.

Before starting my work in the position of Permanent Secretary, I worked in various expert and leader positions, such as Director General of the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

I have also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the University of Oulu in 2020–2021 and as the Chair of the Board of Directors in 2022–2023.

I hold and have held numerous domestic and international positions of trust.


Sharon McGuinness

Executive Director - European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)

​As the Executive Director of the European Chemicals Agency, I oversee its daily operations.

Formerly, I led Ireland's Health and Safety Authority and chaired ECHA's Management Board.

I have a background in chemical regulation, having worked at Hewlett-Packard and the European Chemicals Bureau in Italy.


Virginijus Sinkevičius

European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries

From 2017 to 2019 I was the Minister of Economy, and before I lead the Committee of Economy at the Parliament of Lithuania.

I was elected to the Parliament in October 2016. Prior, I was a Team Lead for Regulatory Affairs at Invest Lithuania.

I hold a BA in Economics and Social Sciences from Aberystwyth University and Master‘s degree in European Studies from Maastricht University.


Mercedes Viñas

Director of Submissions and Interaction - European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)

I have been the Director of Submissions and Interactions since May 2022. I am responsible for ECHA’s communication and stakeholder engagement activities, enforcement and support to industry, and the Registration process under REACH. I also coordinate the international activities of the agency.

I am a Chemical Engineer with a postgraduate in European legislation.

I have been working on the implementation of the European Union's chemicals regulation, REACH since 2004 in different positions in the European Commission and industry associations.



This session navigates the critical components in tomorrow's chemical landscape: green and digital transition and regulatory coherence.

10:50 - 12:25 (EET)


Martin Hojsík

Vice President of the European Parliament
Member of ENVI Committee
Renew Europe Group

I am a politician and environmentalist, pursuing liberal and progressive values.

I've been a Slovak Member of the European Parliament since 2019 and as of 2023, I am serving as the Vice-President.

Before that, I held key roles in international charities, worked on global campaigns for ActionAid and Greenpeace, and have an academic background in genetics


Bob Diderich

Head of the Environment, Health and Safety Division - Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Since 2012, I've served as the head of the Environment, Health, and Safety Division at OECD.

I've been dedicated to environmental hazard and risk assessment of chemical substances since 1992. I began this journey at the German Federal Environmental Agency.


Dorothee Arns

Director General - European Association of Chemical Distributors (FECC)

I have profound regulatory affairs and business experience in the chemical industry.

Since 2019 I am the Director General of FECC and from 2013 to 2019 I have served as Executive Director of Petrochemicals Europe at Cefic.

Beforehand, I held several senior management positions at BASF in marketing, sales, eBusiness and controlling.

Fecc represents more than 1,600 companies from all parts of Europe via direct membership and 14 national associations. Most of our members are SMEs, many are family-owned.

Our association covers all chemical segments from petrochemicals up to life-sciences including pharmaceuticals and our members fulfil all chemical supply chain functions.


frida_hök 2

Frida Hök

Deputy Director - International Chemical Secretariat (ChemSec)

I have a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science. I have a solid background in the field of environmental NGOs.

I joined ChemSec in 2009 and I am responsible for ChemSec's strategic policy work as well as coordinating all ChemSec projects.

During the years at ChemSec, my work focused mainly on the implementation of REACH, the benefits of a strict regulation also for business, the need to strengthen the voice of alternative providers and more lately the need for an ambitious chemical strategy.


Marko Mensink

Director General - European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) 

Together with the Cefic Board of 30 industry CEO’s, I shape the strategy and direction of the European chemical industry, uniting 30 national federations and 650 members and affiliates from all over Europe.

Cefic hosts over 70 different sector groups focusing on different chemistries. Virtually all large global and local chemical companies with production facilities in Europe are Cefic members.

Alternating in 2-year rotations with the American Chemistry Council CEO, I also held the role of Council Secretary of the International Council of Chemical Industries (ICCA) from 2020-2022, uniting 95% of global chemical production. For this I actively engage with the US, Chinese, Japanese, Brazilian counterparts of Cefic and the CEOs of the global companies.


Kristin Schreiber

Director, Chemicals, Food, Retail - European Commission, Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Before my current role, I served as Director for Governance of the Single Market and International Affairs in DG MARKT until 2015, and as Director for SME policy in DG GROW until March 2021.

Previously, I held the position of Head of Cabinet for Employment Commissioner Vladimir Špidla, Deputy Head of Cabinet for Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier, and was a member of the Cabinets of Enlargement Commissioner Günter Verheugen and Competition Commissioner Karel van Miert.


Peter van der Zandt

Director of Risk Management - European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)

I joined ECHA in 2019 as the Director for Risk Management, responsible for work on REACH restrictions and authorisations as well as the Biocidal Products Regulation.

I have an MSc in biology, specialised in toxicology. I started my career working on chemicals policies in the Dutch Ministry of the Environment and then became head of the Dutch Chemicals Bureau at the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).

I have worked for the European Commission and Agencies since 2004 in the areas of chemicals and research and innovation. 



This session explores how scientific research is addressing regulatory challenges in chemical safety. The panel discusses investments in alternative methods, regulatory needs, and the role of international collaboration.

13:45 - 14:45 (EET)


Joanna Drake

Deputy Director-General - European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation

Dedicated to the European Union, I've contributed for 40 years at both national and European levels.

I am the Deputy Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) since 2021, focusing on green transition policies, health, and culture.

In my previous role as Deputy Director-General in DG Environment (2016-2021), I led strategic initiatives on the post-2020 Commission financial framework, Brexit coordination, and more.

From 2010 to 2015, I directed SMEs and Entrepreneurship in DG GROW, overseeing the Commission's Task Force on The Collaborative Economy.

With a doctorate in laws, I taught EU law and played key roles in Malta's EU accession negotiations.

I'm also a trained actress and stay committed to daily physical training, alongside caring for my cat, Winston.


Ellen Fritsche

Director - Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology

I worked as Professor for Environmental Toxicology at the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, in Germany.

I was the group leader of the working group on Alternative method development for environmental toxicity testing.

I am also the co-founder of DNTOX GmbH, a start-up company offering toxicity testing. 


Juliette Legler

Professor of Toxicology and Head of Division of Toxicology - Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University

Since 2019, I have coordinated a 5-year European H2020 project GOLIATH (Generation of Novel, Integrated and Internationally Harmonised Approaches for Testing Metabolism Disrupting Compounds), which addresses the role of EDC exposure in the worldwide rise in metabolic disorders by developing in vitro and alternative methods to identify metabolism disrupting chemicals.

I also coordinated the EURION cluster of eight H2020 projects on endocrine disrupting chemicals from 2019-2020.  



Mike Rasenberg

Director of Hazard Assessment - European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)

I'm a chemist with almost 25 years of experience in chemical regulatory affairs.

Starting as a consultant at Royal Haskoning, I then contributed to REACH preparation projects with the European Commission.

At DuPont de Nemours, I led REACH and GHS implementation, engaging with CEFIC.

Joining ECHA in 2009, I managed REACH and CLP deadlines. In 2011, I led advancements in New Approach Methods at ECHA. Later, I oversaw information systems development.

Currently, I'm the Director for the Hazard Assessment Directorate at ECHA since September 2021.


Matthieu Schuler

Managing Director General, Science for Expertise Division - French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES)

I am dedicated to understanding and managing health risks.

I have an extensive background in controlling risks, including radioactivity, and have held key positions at organisations like the Nuclear Safety Authority and the French Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute (IRSN).

As Managing Director General, I focus on addressing health risks in a holistic manner, considering both environmental and occupational health.



This session focusses on the dynamics between usability, data sharing, and artificial intelligence to promote chemical safety. How can data transform the way we approach chemical regulation and safety, and who has the right to control and access it?

15:15 - 16:15 (EET)


Martin Adams

Head of Programme for Biodiversity, Health and Resources European Environment Agency (EEA)

I'm the Head of Biodiversity, Health and Resources at the EEA, overseeing strategic development and operations in biodiversity, human health, and the circular economy.

Our role involves supporting member countries and the European Commission with relevant data reporting, assessments, and through stakeholder engagement.

With a BSc and a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Canterbury, I bring over 20 years of experience in environmental and climate issues to my work.

Since joining the EEA in 2007, I've held various expert and management positions.

Before the EEA, I consulted for European governments and EU institutions on environment, health, and climate topics. 


Ofelia Bercaru

Director of Prioritisation and Integration - European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)

I have been the Director for Prioritisation and Integration at ECHA since January 2022.

I am responsible for developing strategies to select substances for regulatory action under REACH, CLP, and other legislation. I also focus on creating computational tools for data collection and priority setting.

During my time at ECHA, I have led various processes and strategic initiatives, including dossier and substance evaluation, integrated regulatory strategy and new approach methodologies.


Simon Hodson

Executive Director - Committee on Data of the International Science Council (CODATA)

I'm an expert in data policy and research data management.

I chaired the European Commission's Expert Group on FAIR Data and played a role in the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science.

I am involved in various projects, including leading the ISC and CODATA Decadal Programme on 'Making Data Work for Cross-Domain Grand Challenges' and coordinating the EC-funded WorldFAIR Project.

I am also part of the CODATA Data Policy Committee.


Peter Korytár

Policy Coordinator - European Commission, Directorate-General for Environment

I hold a PhD in analytical chemistry.

I have worked in the European Commission since 2008.

The majority of time in the Commission I have worked in the area of development of chemical policies and of the international work on chemicals, with 9 months secondment in 2016 to support Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union and 3 months secondment in 2023 to act as a Principle Advisor to Minister of Environment of the Slovak Republic.

Currently I lead and coordinate work on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and the One Substance, One Assessment initiative.


Michael Warhurst

Executive Director - CHEM Trust

I have been Executive Director of CHEM Trust since 2014.

A biochemist by background, I previously worked on waste and resource use at Friends of the Earth from 2005 to 2014, including heading up Friends of the Earth Europe’s Resources and Consumption programme for over 5 years.

I also worked on chemicals policy at WWF European Policy Office for 3 years and at Friends of the Earth for 5 years, advocating for reform of EU chemicals policy and working on the initial stages of REACH.