Meet the speakers

Meet the speakers

Maria Manuel Leitão Marques is the Minister of the Portuguese Presidency and of Administrative Modernisation. Deputy of the Assembly of Republic, she represents Viseu’s constituency (2015). She graduated in Law and has a PhD in Economics.She is Professor in Faculdade de Economia da Universidade de Coimbra (since 2003) and permanent researcher of its social studies center (since 1979).

António Lindo da Cunha is the AAL Forum 2017 committee coordinator, and will present the rationale behind the AAL Forum 2017 theme “Bridging the gaps between technology and active ageing. What can YOU do?”. António has has wide experience in driving innovation and R&D contracts, and leading technology transfer processes between research organisations and the business sector for health and ambient assistive living. He is part of the Ageing@Coimbra coordination group and IPN representative in the EIT Health project.

Teresa Mendes is a Full Professor at the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra and is currently President of Institute Pedro Nunes, a non-profit association for Innovation and Technology Transfer and Business Incubation. Instituto Pedro Nunes transfers technology for local, national and international companies and its Incubator hosts innovative technology-based companies, mainly spin-offs from the University of Coimbra.

Miguel Gonzales-Sancho is Head of Unit of “eHealth, Well-Being and Ageing” at DG CONNECT. He has held various positions at DG CONNECT, including head of unit for “Policy Coordination” and deputy head of unit for “ICT for Inclusion”. During this period, he worked on successful policy initiatives on social inclusion, accessibility, public services and skills.

Sacha Nauta, finance editor for The Economist, recently reported about older age and what she called the “New Old”. She asked: “What do you call someone who is over 65 but not yet elderly?”. Sacha will be delivering the opening keynote address at the AAL Forum 2017, which will provide a fascinating insight into the economics of ageing, and the opportunities that exist if we begin to shift expectations of life as an older person.

Filipa Fixe is the director of ICT operations in the health sector for Glintt, one of Portugal’s biggest technology companies. She is a member of several European institutions related to innovation and technology in health, and is the eHealth specialist for the European Commission. Filipa has 10 years of professional experience in areas such as health management, innovation, strategic planning and implementation in various national and international contexts.

Reinout Engelberts, CEO of Sensara, is interested in the perceived value of AAL products to the consumer market. Sensara uses smart sensor technology to support people who don’t need nursing care at the moment, but are currently receiving care at home. A monitoring system is fitted in their own homes and uses sensors to accurately determine trends such as toilet and sleeping patterns, and movements to detect falls or socialising habits.

Carina Dantas, director of the Innovation Department at Cáritas Diocesana de Coimbra, Portugal, has a wealth of experience in the AAL ecosystem. She is vice president of the EU Covenant on Demographic Change, project manager of the Horizon2020 GrowMeUp project, and main coordinator of the group “Age- friendly buildings, cities and environments” of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing.

During her work in the Galician Health Ministry as general director for innovation and management of public health, Sonia Martinez Arca was in charge of the strategic participation of the region in the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing. Galicia was recognised in 2013 as a European Reference Site, highlighting its achievements in the implementation of an electronic health record as well as its pioneering experience in public procurement of innovation.

Ton Koper is the founder of powerAge, a Swiss foundation serving the power of age in society and economy. powerAge aims to help older adults share their practical skills and experiences with young people.

Lambert van Nistelrooij, Member of European Parliament and co-chair of the AGE Intergroup, will be speaking at the second plenary session and will provide a fascinating insight into the role the Internet of Things plays in the future success of active and assisted living, and the opportunities that exist if we allow a greater proportion of society to share their innovative ideas.

Birgit Morlion is programme and policy officer at the European Commission, DG CONNECT. She works at the crossroads where technological innovation, medical innovation and business innovation interact and are combined to create new products and services enabling a future proof, efficient and qualitative digital health system. She is passionate about driving and enabling strategic visions in the digital health domain through the alignment of different perspectives, and bringing people from different backgrounds around the table.

José Pereira Miguel is the coordinator of the national strategy for active and healthy ageing in Portugal. He has held high-level appointments in the national health system and has had an international career devoted to preventive medicine and public health for over forty years.

Miguel Telo de Arriaga is the head of the Division of Healthy Lifestyles within the Directorate of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in the Portuguese Directorate General of Health. Miguel works on the ​​promotion of healthy lifestyles, and on the development of different approaches to literacy, health promotion and health policy implementation. He works in several European Joint Actions such as the Joint Action on Chronic Diseases and Promoting Healthy Ageing Across the Life Cycle (CHRODIS).



Rait Kuuse is the deputy secretary general on social policy at the Ministry of Social Affairs in Estonia. He manages the work of the social welfare department, the social security department, the equality policies department and the department of children and families.

Sergio Murillo Corzo is the general manager for personal autonomy promotion in the government of Biscay, and is the national contact point in Biscay for the AAL Programme. Recently, he has been working for the European Covenant on Demographic Change, helping local, regional and national authorities in the EU to adapt living and working environments to the needs of the ageing population, in order to improve life expectancy in good health and create an inclusive society for all ages.

Ana Abrunhosa is the president of the Centro Regional Coordination and Development Commission. She has been involved in scientific research in the areas of regional development and economics and management of innovation. She has a PhD in economics from the University of Coimbra, and has previously worked as an auditor for the multinational company Ernst & Young.

Rafael de Andres Medina is the President of the AAL Association. He is currently the chief officer of the EU and Internationalisation Department at the Office of the Deputy Director General for International Research Programmes and Institutional Relations at the National Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCII), Spain. Rafael is also the Spanish representative for the Joint Programming Initiatives in Neurodegenerative Diseases (JPND), Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (JPI HDHL), More Years Better Life (JPI MYBL) and Antimicrobial Resistance (JPI AMR).

Klaus Niederländer is the director of the AAL Programme, and is instrumental in driving the engagement of member countries and stakeholders in AAL projects in close cooperation with the European institutions and in particular the European Commission. He has more than 20 years of hands-on experience in leading and managing multicultural project teams and European organisations. Next to his longstanding European leadership experience, he has a track record in SME development, as well as in management consulting and investment nance.

Ana Sanchez is a Member of the Board, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P. Before joining FCT, she was head of the Communications and Science Awareness Office at the Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica (ITQB) of the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa and a member of the MOSTMICRO research unit. Ana Sanchez is also a lecturer in science communication at the Universidade NOVA de Lisboa.

Jorge Dias is a representative of Instituto Pedro Nunes and the University of Coimbra. He is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computers and a researcher at the Institute of Systems and Robotics at the University of Coimbra. His research is in the field of computer vision and robotics and he has had several publications in international journals, books and conferences.