Building back together – the contribution and role of science to the UN SDGs

AGENDA Building Back Together
Rapporteur: Caroline Schober-Trummler, Medical University Graz
  1. Kurt Zatloukal, Medical University Graz, Austria
  2. Michael Makanga, European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials partnership (EDCTP). South Africa
  3. Naeem Altaf, IBM Distinguished Engineer, Space Tech, USA
  4. David McNair, ONE Campaign, Brussels
  5. James Kasigwa, Chair of the African Union-European Union High-level Policy Dialogue on Science and Technology
  6. Robert Eiss, National Institutes of Health, Washington
  7. Marc Stoecklin, IBM Research, Switzerland
  8. Arthur Minsat, OECD, France
  9. Daan Du Toit, Dept of Science and Innovation, South Africa
Building back together – the contribution and role of science to the UN SDGs

The event is finished.


Sep 25 2020


2:00 PM - 4:30 PM


  • Arthur J. Minsat
    Arthur J. Minsat

    PhD, London School of Economics. Arthur heads the OECD Development Centre’s Unit for Africa, Europe and Middle East, which produces Africa’s Development Dynamics and Revenue Statistics in Africa, in partnership with the African Union. As lead economist, Arthur led the themes of the African Economic Outlooks (AEO). At UNDP in New York, Arthur researched for the flagship Human Development Reports. In Abidjan, he volunteered for the United Nations Operations in Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI) during the electoral crisis. He taught at the LSE, King’s College London and Sciences-Po. Arthur gained private sector experience at Wolters Kluwer.

  • Clive Cookson
    Clive Cookson
    Science Editor Financial Times

    Clive Cookson has worked in science journalism for the whole of his professional life. He graduated with a First Class degree in chemistry from Oxford University in 1974. After journalism training on the Luton Evening Post, he became science correspondent of the Times Higher Education Supplement in London and then spent four years in Washington as American Editor of THES. He returned to London in 1981 as technology correspondent of the Times and moved to BBC Radio as science correspondent in 1983. He joined the Financial Times as technology editor in 1987 and has been Science Editor of the FT since 1991, winning several journalism awards. He is an honorary member of the British Science Association and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  • Daan du Toit
    Daan du Toit
    Department of Science and Innovation South Africa

    Daan du Toit started his career in the South African Government with the then Department of Foreign Affairs where he trained as a diplomat. Since 2002 he has been attached to the Department of Science and Innovation, where he has notably served as the Department’s representative in Europe, based in Brussels. In 2014 he was appointed as Deputy Director-General responsible for the portfolio International Cooperation and Resources.

    Over the years Daan had the privilege to contribute to multiple initiatives in support of a diverse and rich international partnership portfolio for South African science, technology and innovation. He for example played a central role in the establishment and management of the European-South African Science and Technology Advancement Programme (ESASTAP.)

    Daan has represented South Africa in diverse multilateral forums such as the OECD’s Global Science Forum, the Group on Earth Observations and the BRICS partnership, as well as in various structures related to African regional and continental cooperation of the African Union and the South African Development Community.

    In addition to being a member of the Department of Science and Innovation’s Executive, Daan currently chairs the Strategy and Business Development Committee of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) global radio telescope project.

  • Kurt Zatloukal
    Kurt Zatloukal
    Head of EU Bio Bank

    Kurt Zatloukal, M.D., is Professor of Pathology and head of the Diagnostics and Research Center for Molecular Biomedicine at the Medical University Graz. His research work focuses on the molecular pathology of metabolic liver diseases and cancer as well as molecular diagnostics. He is working on the development of biobanking-related technologies and machine learning approaches for digital pathology. He coordinated the preparatory phase of the European biobanking and biomolecular research infrastructure (BBMRI) and is now director of its Austrian national node. In this context solutions have been developed for providing access to quality controlled human biological samples and medical data for research and innovation.

  • Michael Makanga
    Michael Makanga
    EDCTP Executive Director

    Dr. Makanga is a clinician-scientist with 27 years of professional experience of working on health and poverty-related infectious diseases in Africa. This includes 23 years of work experience on medical product development and clinical regulatory activities. He holds a Medical Degree from Makerere University, Uganda; a Master’s Degree at the University of Liverpool, and a PhD Clinical Pharmacology at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom. He is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Scotland.

    Dr Makanga is EDCTP Executive Director. Before joining EDCTP, Dr Makanga was first in clinical practice and academia, and later clinical research and research management. Moreover, he has served in various scientific and policy advisory boards for international product development, philanthropic organisations, World Bank and pharmaceutical companies involved in developing medicinal products for poverty related and neglected diseases.

  • Naeem Altaf
    Naeem Altaf
    IBM Distinguished Engineer, CTO Space Tech

    Naeem as IBM’s Distinguished Engineer and CTO for Space Tech, leads the Innovation group. Innovating from Edge Computing in Space to Supply Chain Optimization for Space Assets, to Autonomous Cognitive Framework for CubeSat Swarms, to growing challenges of Space Debris and Collision Avoidance, to Geo-Spatial Analysis with Satellite Imagery, to exploring Quantum Computing for opening new realms of possibilities for the New Space Age. Naeem’s team also partners with various space agencies, universities, and space tech companies. Naeem has been leading work for IBM in collaboration with NASA and SETI for the Frontier Development Lab (FDL) program. Naeem also has several articles and patents issued. He has been with IBM for 20 years and was recently appointed as Technical Advisor, Board Member for Explore Mars.

  • Rainer Fischer
    Rainer Fischer
    Presidential Fellow and Research Professor at Purdue University.

    Prof. Dr. Rainer Fischer is a Presidential Fellow and Research Professor at Purdue University. He is an internationally recognized scientist with expertise spanning the fields of pharmaceutical, agriculturaland industrial biotechnology, including omics technology, protein engineering, molecular medicine, immunology, virology, drug discovery, and the GMP manufacturing of recombinant protein biologicals for clinical trials. He was formerly CEO and CSIO of the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (2017–2020), Senior Executive Director of the Fraunhofer IME, Germany (2001–2017) and Department Head of the Institute for Molecular Biotechnology at RWTH Aachen University, Germany (2000–2017).
    Prof. Dr. Fischer established and built the Fraunhofer IME in Aachen and expanded the institute to six locations in Germany as well as two subsidiaries – Fraunhofer USA Center for Molecular Biotechnology (CMB) and Fraunhofer Chile Research (FCR) – together employing more than 700 personnel. At the same time, he expanded his RWTH University department to 70 personnel and formed links with Maastricht University to launch the Aachen-Maastricht Institute of Biobased Materials (AMIBM). Based on these achievements, he was awarded the title of Distinguished Professor by RWTH Aachen University in 2015 and Full Professor by Maastricht University in 2017. He became a Presidential Fellow at Purdue University in 2018.
    During his extensive career, Prof. Dr. Fischer has raised more than €800 million in European research funds and more than $200 million internationally. He has given more than 400 scientific presentations around the world, and has published more than 460 peer-reviewed scientific publications (h-index = 82) which have been cited over 25,000 times. He has 96 pending patent applications and 50 granted patents. He has graduated 137 PhD students. He has helped to establish eight start-up companies, assisted in bringing five products to the market, and has served on multiple national and international advisory boards.

  • Robert Eiss
    Robert Eiss
    Senior global health adviser to the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Fogarty International Center

    Robert Eiss serves as senior global health adviser to the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Fogarty International Center. At NIH, Mr. Eiss assumed lead responsibility for the Fogarty International Center’s first long-range plan, which reoriented its programs to address infectious and non-communicable disease research and training needs of low-and middle-income countries. Mr. Eiss has held executive management posts at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and at an international NGO established by the Rockefeller Foundation to improve access to innovative medicines. At ONDCP, he served as director of planning and budget, involving budgetary oversight of national drug control agencies, establishment of a system of performance measures to monitor program effectiveness, and the management of a research portfolio on illicit drug consumption and consequences. As CEO of an international NGO, he promoted innovative and strategic management of intellectual property to speed the development of medical products that reduce global health disparities. Mr. Eiss holds degrees from the University of Maryland at College Park and Oxford University