Jan Mees is the General Director of the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ, Oostende, Belgium) since its establishment in 1999. Trained as a marine biologist and ecologist, he holds an MSc in Zoology, an MSc in Environmental Sanitation, and a PhD in Marine Biology, all from Ghent University, Belgium, where he is part-time Professor. Jan Mees served as elected chair of the European Marine Board from 2014 to 2019 and represents Flanders in the Belgian delegation to the Executive Council and General Assembly of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO. His research interests include marine biodiversity, ecology and taxonomy and he is the author of more than 100 peer reviewed publications.
Sofía Mendoza-Castillo is a biologist with Master's degree in Geological Engineering. She is in charge of the Research Department at the Mexican Geological Survey, where she develops several research projects applied to geology.
She has 17 years of experience in the environmental geology, geochemistry, exploration and evaluation of mineral deposits fields, and is a specialist in Geographic Information Systems.
She is the coordinator of the Group of experts in geological heritage of the Association of Iberoamerican Geological and Mining Services (ASGMI). And collaborates with the Group of experts on Marine Geology, currently collaborating in EMODnet Geology project, in the collection and harmonization of marine data from the Caribbean Sea.
Szilvia Németh has worked in the European Commission since 2005. She is currently deputy head of the ‘Healthy Oceans and Seas’ unit in DG Research and Innovation, working on promoting the sustainable use of the value chains of marine resources focused on delivering transition pathways by using the full potential of Oceans and Seas and their ecosystems with the aim to support the transition to a healthy planet.
Szilvia has experience in international research and innovation cooperation and sustainable investment strategies. Before joining the European Commission, she worked in the private sector and in national public administration on agro-economics.
She has a Master of Science degree in International Economics and Business Administration. She also studied International Macroeconomics and Finances.