Who is making (FIT) FORTHEM visible?

The blogpost makes the “backstage” work of many specialists less anonymous and acknowledges their input in the project.

In this blogpost we introduce individuals from FORTHEM Alliance’s seven partner universities and show how they are to be involved in FIT FORTHEM communications on the basis of their expertise, position and experience. They were able to meet during a FIT FORTHEM Training session on March 24, 2021.

Photo by David Travis on Unsplash


University of Opole coordinates dissemination and communication work package in FIT FORTHEM. Due to a variety of tasks, Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska (WP Leader) has recruited various UO specialists to share the work. Stankomir Nicieja is a professor of Anglo-American literature and culture. His research interests include film narratives, representations and stereotypes. His managing experience includes heading a department and coordinating UO’s international outreach and promotion, especially to Asia. Łukasz Sasuła has just completed his doctorate and is a member of UO’s Cultural Studies Department. His research and teaching interests include Games Studies and Digital Technologies. He has been involved in multiple outreach activities, promoting UO at festivals and fairs locally and internationally. Maciej Kochański is UO’s spokesperson and head of Marketing and PR Office, which includes a team of reporters, PR specialists, publicists and film-makers. A graduate of UO, he is familiar with the university structures and procedures and can reach out to external stakeholders as well. The UO office he heads can provide support in specific dissemination tasks that include advanced media technologies and resources. Justyna Przybylak is responsible for communication and services at UO’s Office for Science and Project Management. She manages information dissemination related to projects, services and infrastructure at UO and can assist in contacting partners for exploitation of research results. Karolina Trościanka has long managed UO’s Academic Career Center and has developed a deep understanding of the regional labour market as well as the expectations of the employers and policy makers. Now an officer at UO’s Center for Knowledge and Technology Transfer managed by dr. Iwona Pisz, she can help promote FIT FORTHEM to external stakeholders. Patrycja Bochenek is currently a UO FORTHEM officer involved in FORTHEM Alliance’s communications activities, including providing UO-related information for social media. She also administers UO FORTHEM website where she includes Polish-language information about the Alliance. The office is supervised by UO’s FORTHEM coordinator and WP2 Leader responsible developing common structures, dr. Barbara Curyło.


Isabel Mendoza and Carolina Moreno were involved in designing FIT FORTHEM communication and social media strategy. They have recruited the following people to help implement it. Soledat Rubio is currently the director of the Scientific Culture and Innovation Unit (UCC+I) of the University of Valencia. She is the coordinator of the collection of books for scientific dissemination "Sin fronteras" and "Ciencia entre letras". She has conceived and launched scientific dissemination and communication actions such as the "Mathematical Routes" and "Encounters with the suitcase of science", highlighted as the best scientific dissemination projects by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT). Amaia Crespo works on European Project Management and Linguistic Advice at the University of Valencia and holds a degree in English Philology. She worked for the UV Language Policy Service from 2011 to 2018, and as a translator and proofreader in several languages of European projects for the National Institute of Educational Evaluation, on behalf of the Ministry of Culture, Education and Sport, on PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) and TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study). Ana Serra currently belongs to the ScienceFlows research group as a Science Communicator. She holds a degree in Audiovisual Communication from the University of Valencia and a master’s degree in Political Analysis from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. She has developed her professional career in various institutional communication departments, as well as private organizations. Since 2017 she has specialized in the dissemination of European projects. She worked as dissemination manager of European projects within the H2020, Erasmus+ and Connecting Europe Facilities programs. Anabel Forte is an Associate professor at the Department of Statistics and Operations Research of the University of Valencia. She is involved in several science dissemination projects such as "StatWars. The Empire of Data" founded by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology on the importance of statistics in our daily lives. She also collaborates in a weekly radio show "Raiz de 5" talking about mathematics and statistics. 


Daniela Cataldo is in charge of the Office “Promotion of funding opportunities and organization of research events” at the Special Research Service at UNIPA, where she has been working in the frame of “communication for research” since 2010. The activities she currently manages are: information, promotion and distribution of initiatives and funding opportunities for research, structural funds, international and European programs, promotion and organization of information days, workshops on applications and other research initiatives. Federica Puleo is currently collaborating with the Communications Office team of UniPa, where she is involved in developing content for the UniPa homepage and social media platforms. She has a Bachelor's degree in Communication Sciences and a Master's degree in Entertainment Events Management, as well as more than 5 years’ professional experience in the digital communication field. Her latest work experiences also include website development and event planning. Marco Ciziceno (UniPa) has completed his PhD in Social Science in 2018. Currently, he is an administrative staff member of the UniPa FORTHEM office whose expertise ranges from the new communication forms to tools and methods for web dissemination. He is also interested in subjective well-being indicators and quality of life research. The UniPa FIT FORTHEM team is managed by professor Fabrizio D’Avenia from the Society and Culture Department, who is the Leader of WP4 and Dr. Silvana Di Bono, who contributed to project planning and FIT FORTHEM application.


Nicole Birkle holds a PhD in Classical Archaeology, but has worked as an EU Liaison Officer at JGU for many years and has a vast expertise in the field of European research funding. As one of the spokespersons of the German initiative ROSE – Research on Societies in Europe she strongly promotes a better integration of the Social Sciences and Humanities in European research funding. Nicole is also Deputy Chair of the Professional Development and Recognition Committee of EARMA. Being already involved in the FORTHEM application process in an advisory position, she now represents the coordinating organization as managing coordinator alongside with Prof. Dr. Stefan Müller-Stach. Until recently Melanie Gross was working on a postdoctoral position as an anthropologist and has a profound knowledge related to the implementation and communication of scientific projects, especially EU projects. In FIT FORTHEM, she is mainly involved in developing joint solutions for open science and on co-creation, and assists the project management team. Nina Straub, a holder of a PhD in Classical Archaeology, is taking care of the overall project management in FIT FORTHEM, and will also be responsible to ensure that information on local activities related to the different work packages will be collected and properly communicated to the main group. Before joining the project, she worked at Technical University of Darmstadt, coordinating cooperative doctoral platforms for the Graduate Organization INGENIUM. Kathrin Voigt represents the official JGU communication / press office as deputy head of office and is mainly responsible for international press and cross media issues. She will support FIT FORTHEM as a member of the science communication expert group. Finally, Diane Ackermann, JGU communication officer for FORTHEM will help to ensure that FORTHEM and FIT FORTHEM activities will follow common strategies and that FIT FORTHEM activities will be visible on the local FORTHEM webpages. While supporting us with her knowledge of academic communication, Diane has also been a member of the strategy and development staff of Artistic Projects, Teaching and Research at the University of Music in Mainz.


The key representative of UL in FIT FORTHEM is Agnese Rusakova, who has a master degree in Multimedia Management and a PhD in Educational Management, and who is a postdoctoral senior researcher at the Faculty of Education, Psychology and Arts. Agnese is representing the UL in FIT FORTHEM WP7, as a contact person for FORTHEM/FIT FORTHEM website. She works closely with the technical IT development team of the University of Latvia to ensure a smooth translation of conceptual proposals originating from different work packages into agreeable technical solutions. She is part of FORTHEM dissemination and sustainability team led by UL’s Alina Gržibovska, the Leader of External Affairs, from UL’s Rectorate. Alina works closely with Sintija Maculeviča, chair of mobility department and an experienced event organizer, and Nora Batraga an international relations coordinator. Both Agnese and Alina had been in the core FORTHEM project application writing team. Therefore Agnese ensures one of the many links of FIT FORTHEM project to FORTHEM Alliance. Arnis Voitkāns is a senior system analyst at the UL. He is the team leader of the IT experts on the backstage of both FORTHEM and FIT FORTHEM projects. Since the different conceptual ideas may arise in different work packages in both projects, it is important to have one person to be responsible for relating the requests, keeping the structure intact and avoiding redundant work. Iveta Sazonova is the project leader at the Communication and Innovation department, as well as the officer for the Mobility department. She is part of Social Media Working Group in FORTHEM project. Iveta is supervising both Instagram and Facebook channels of FIT FORTHEM/FORTHEM.


FIT FORTHEM is a collaborative effort of experts at the University of Jyväskylä. Mira Väyrynen works as a specialist for the project at JYU’s Research and Innovation Services. She is taking care of organizing workshops in WP5 that aims to connect the FORTHEM partner universities with university-external stakeholders in the form of matchmaking workshops and co-creation pilot projects. Mira has a versatile experience of working as part of multidisciplinary teams and enhancing collaboration between different actors. She will also report the work done in WP 5, support the other project work packages and help FORTHEM Labs make their work visible about the collaboration projects that will be conducted during the following 2 years. Additionally, Senior IPR Advisor Dr. Riikka Reitzer leads WP5 with a long experience of enhancing collaboration between university and business world by helping the researchers to commercialize their research results. The experts at the Research and Innovation Services, Open Science Center and Digital Services will make their professional skills and inside available in order support the FIT FORTHEM project’s mission. The JYU Marketing and Communications unit will support the FIT FORTHEM team in communication and dissemination of the project. JYU’s FIT FORTHEM team also has a strong link with the FORTHEM office at JYU, co-operating with FORTHEM Project Manager Sanna Väisänen and Scientific Manager for FORTHEM Labs Tamás Péter Szabó among other FORTHEM team members on a regular basis to boost the impact of the communication and dissemination of both projects.


Daria Plantak holds an MA degree in International Communication strategies and is a public relations manager at the International office. Her main areas of activities are digital communication and event management. She works in collaboration with the central Communication office and is member of the university communication officers’ network. She is also part of the FORTHEM Alliance communication working groups as the communication specialist for uB. Luis Le Moyne is a professor and a researcher in Engineering, with a focus on automobile and transportation sectors. Luis is the former director of the automobile and transportation School of Engineering at uB. He is also the project manager for research valorisation methods at uB, where he has been working since 2008. Vanessa David Vaizant is a research engineer in Microbiology with a focus on the wine industry/science. Vanessa is also the project manager for gender equality, disability and social action at uB. Frédéric Debeaufort is full professor in Food and Packaging Sciences and engineering and an expert in mass transfers through polymer and biopolymer materials and works on bio-based materials applied for circularity and sustainability. He is a former uB vice-president for Research and Education coordination, who moved to co-ordinate FORTHEM Lab “Food Science”. He is now in charge of FIT FORTHEM for UB, co-managing its WP6, alongside with Justine Biettron and Kyllian Marinelli. Justine Biettron obtained her MA degree in Political Science, with a specialization in International Relations, from Louisiana State University, USA. She works as the FIT FORTHEM project manager at uB: co-manages the different tasks assigned in WP6,  liaises with WP2 and develops the networking/lobbying actions between the FORTHEM Alliance and Brussels. Additionally, Kyllian Marinelli (MA in International and European Law) is working as project officer in the local FORTHEM office team. In charge of the National Agency funding, and the H2020 funding allocated to the uB, he is actively working with the FORTHEM Labs, on English and alliance languages class, and on the day-to day issues on FORTHEM and FIT FORTHEM projects.

Collected and edited by Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska


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