Science and Innovation Dialogues

Highlight and stimulate UK-EU scientific collaboration.

Ai in Africa

Science & Innovation Dialogues are a series of online discussions with the aim to highlight and stimulate UK European scientific collaboration. The second series, which takes place in early 2022, will be dedicated to Artificial Intelligence, specifically to the intersection of AI and climate, health, and education.

With the aim of highlighting UK leadership in AI, these dialogues also showcase science excellence in other European countries and bring out the importance of international research and academic collaboration. Dialogues also aim at facilitating exchange of best practice. Science & Innovation Dialogues bring together scientists from the UK and across ten countries in the Baltics, Central and Eastern, and Southern Europe.

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. In 2019-2020 we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 14.5 per cent core funding grant from the UK government. Website:

The UK Science & Innovation Network (SIN) is a network of officers in over 40 countries and territories around the world, building partnerships and collaborations on science and innovation. SIN officers work with the local science and innovation community in support of UK policy overseas, they facilitate the development of strategic relationships to harness the value of science and innovation discoveries and investments overseas, leading to mutual benefits to the UK and the host country. Website:

The International Research Centre on AI was founded by the Government of Slovenia as the UNESCO AI arm in 2020 and approved at the 40th session of the General Conference, where 193 UNESCO Member States supported the establishment of the Center. It was inspired by the international work in the field of AI by an ecosystem of high-level institutions and researchers involved in scientific, industrial and policy actions working directly with UNESCO and set up to showcase the use of AI for the benefit of humanity. The Centre is independent and acts as a clearinghouse for excellent research that will result in spin-offs. It explores ways to create an ambitious and realistic global AI research agenda to mobilize the World’s AI community to address the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). IRCAI is conducting a study of the world’s most promising AI projects that advance the United Nations SDGs and will produce a global Top 100 list and a Top 10 report.



Date: 3 March 2022
Time: 16:00 GMT/17:00 CET/18:00 EET

Keynote Speaker: Prof Benedict du Boulay, University of Sussex
Benedict du Boulay is an Emeritus Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Sussex, Visiting Professor at University College London and Senior Research Advisor at Educate Ventures. He was the founding Dean of the School of Science and Technology at Sussex that involved bringing four departments who had not worked together before into the new School.
His primary research area is the application of Artificial Intelligence in Education. Here he is particularly interested in issues around modelling and developing students’ metacognition and motivation. He is currently compiling and editing a Handbook of AI in Education for Edward Elgar Publishing involving contributions from the leading academics in AIED from around the world.
He was President (2015-2017) of the International Society for Artificial Intelligence in Education and is an Associate Editor of its International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education. He has edited/written 12 books and written some 190 papers.

Roundtable Speakers:
Prof Mária Bieliková, Kempelen Institute of Intelligent Technologies (Slovakia)
Maria conducts research focusing on human-computer interaction analysis, user modelling and personalization. Recently, she has been working in data analysis and modelling of antisocial behavior on the web. She is active in discussions on trustworthy AI at the national and European levels. For example, she is a former member of the High Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence established by the European Commission. Currently she is a chair of the Permanent Committee for Ethics and Regulation of AI established by the Ministry of Investments, Regional Development and Informatization of the Slovak Republic. She was also a member of the European Commission Joint Research Center Board of Governors. Before her work at KInIT, Maria was employed at the Slovak University of Technology for more than 30 years — 15 as a full professor, lead of the Personalized Web research group and director of the User eXperience and Interaction research center. She is a former dean of the Faculty of Informatics and Information Technologies. She mentored talented students and participated in various international competitions, advancing several times to the world finals.

Prof Hassan Charaf, Dean of Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics at Budapest University of Technology (Hungary)
Hassan Charaf is an internationally recognised specialist in the development of mobile applications, a promoter of the widespread use of IT developments, a shaper of meaningful collaboration between industry and higher education, and a committed advocate of development-oriented and student-centred IT education.
Hassan graduated in electrical engineering from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in 1992, his scientific, development and teaching activities are related to software development. His professional and academic career has been marked by a constant search for and finding of a balance between the quality of solutions to practical problems and the professional motivation of new generations of students, and the output of competitive knowledge from universities, and his career has been marked by the combination of industrial challenges and education. He has led a series of software projects, ranging from leading domestic IT companies through SME-s to foreign partners, setting up dual PhD programmes.

Dr Marek Kozłowski, Head of the Natural Language Processing Laboratory at National Information Processing Institute (Poland)
Marek Kozłowski is the Head of the Laboratory of Natural Language Processing at the National Information Processing Institute in Warsaw, where he leads a team of over 30 researchers and programmers who develop software that is enriched with intelligent (primarily text and image) data processing methods. He is passionate about natural language processing, data mining, and machine learning. He has written over 40 scientific publications on semantic text processing and machine learning. Marek has participated in commercial machine learning research projects for the private sector, including at Samsung, France Telecom, Orange Labs, Millward Brown, Vive Textile Recycling, and Connectis. He has also competed in a host of international machine learning events, including the IEEE BigData 2019 Cup.

Dr Ajda Pretnar Žagar, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Ajda Pretnar is researcher at the Laboratory for Bioinformatics, Faculty of Computer and Information Science, University of Ljubljana, and at the Institute for Contemporary History in Ljubljana. She holds a PhD in anthropology. Her research focuses on the methodology of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research as well as the uses of machine learning and data mining in the humanities and social sciences. She holds workshops and courses on data mining and machine learning.

Vesselin Russinov, Foundation “STEM Education”, Robotika Academy (Bulgaria)
Vesselin has been teaching robotics and programming for the past 11 years and he is still amazed! He has education in Computer science, professional experience as a Software developer and is the co-founder and educator at three amazing STEM academies in Bulgaria! His students are from 5 up to 19 years old and the diversity of education solutions gives Vesselin the opportunity to talk to each and every class individually and according to their age! AI is the “hot topic” and as such it is important to talk to the students in understandable terms and give them the chance to dream and develop their own ideas and solutions!

Dr Kairit Tammets, Centre for Educational Technologies of Tallinn University (Estonia)
Kairit Tammets is the professor in Technology-enhanced Learning at the Centre for Educational Technology, Tallinn University. She is focusing in her research on scaffolding teachers in adopting the technology-enhanced learning practices and the role of AI-mediated technologies in teacher professional development. Currently Kairit is coordinating two large projects: EU-funded iHub4Schools to propose a mentoring model for accelerating digital innovation in schools and Estonian Personal Research Grant to develop model-based Learning Analytics infrastructure for fostering the development of students’ higher-order thinking skills. In this research the aim is to explore the interplay between AI-enhanced learning technologies, teacher professional development and students’ deeper learning experience. Kairit has been part of the development of several learning technologies and based on those published tens of research papers.

Moderator: Susan Watts
Susan is an award-winning journalist and communicator. She is a writer and speaker on STEM subjects in their political and social context. Most recently, as Head of Communications, she worked with leadership teams of two of the UK’s leading research institutes on strategy, media operations and outreach programmes (Rothamsted Research and the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences). She also advised on the strategy to 2030 of plant charity /Plantlife/. Susan was moderator of the inaugural series of online “Dialogues” on the science of the Covid pandemic for the British Council and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office In 2021.
Susan is a director of the Scottish Association for Marine Science in Oban, and a physics graduate of Imperial College London. She was at the forefront of science and technology journalism in the UK for nearly two decades on the BBC’s /Newsnight/ programme (1995-2013) where, as Science Editor, she helped to shape some of the most significant national debates. Website:


Date: 18 January 2022
16:00 GMT/17:00 CET/18:00 EET

Keynote Speaker: Dr Aidan O’Sullivan, University College London

Aidan O’Sullivan is Associate Professor in Energy and Artificial Intelligence at UCL Energy Institute where he leads the Energy Systems and Artificial Intelligence Lab which is focused on applications of AI in the energy system that accelerate the transition to net zero. He is CTO and Co-Founder of Carbon Re a climate tech startup using AI to decarbonise the manufacture of energy intensive materials such as cement and steel.

Aidan holds a Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering from University College Cork, Ireland and a PhD from the department of Mathematics in Imperial College London. Prior to joining UCL he worked as a machine learning researcher in the Civil Engineering Department of MIT. He is the UK’s representative to the European Energy Research Alliance for the joint programme on digitalisation and programme chair for the AI and Climate initiative at the UNESCO International Research Centre on AI, (IRCAI). Aidan was recently awarded a Turing Fellowship from the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s leading centre for AI and data science research. In media his work has been featured in Forbes, Times and the world Economic forum and he has authored articles for World Energy Magazine.

Speaker: Prof Gatis Bazbauers, Riga Technical University (Latvia)

Gatis Bazbauers works as a Professor at the Institute of Energy Systems and Environment, Faculty of Electrical and Environmental Engineering at Riga Technical University (RTU). He also holds position of Deputy Vice-Rector for research at RTU. Previously he worked as a managing director in the energy company “Vattenfall Latvia” (1995-2007) and as a project manager in the energy consulting company “EEE” (1992-1993). Education: diploma of thermal engineering (1990), Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering (1995), doctor of science degree in engineering (1999) and bachelor’s degree in business administration (2002).

His main research interests are system dynamics modelling of energy systems, energy system analysis and planning, energy economics and policy development, sustainable energy systems, district heating systems and cogeneration. Gatis Bazbauers is a member of the council of Latvia’s District Heating Association and System Dynamics Society.

Speaker: Dr Jan Červený, Global Change Research Institute (Czech Republic)

Jan Červený is head of Domain of Adaptive and Innovative Techniques and Department of Adaptive Biotechnologies at the Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences. His research focuses mainly on the development of methods for characterization, phenotypization and optimization of production as well as adaptive properties of photosynthetic microorganisms. His research activities also involve design and development of technological solutions for sustainable microalgal biotechnologies, and application of cybernetic approaches to microalgal biosystems.

Jan completed his Ph.D. at Czech Technical University in Prague, in the study field of Technical Cybernetics. In 2019 he established Smart Biotechnologies Group at the Global Change Research Institute to promote processes automation, and to apply advanced statistical and artificial intelligence methods in microalgal biotechnology.

Speaker: Marcin Gnat, Airly (Poland)

Marcin Gnat is Senior Communications and PR Manager at Airly – a Krakow-based company that helps repair the air in over 30 countries around the world. He is a graduate of journalism at the Jagiellonian University. In the past he has worked at a number of organisations including Onet, Interia and Brainly.

Speaker: Dr Pal Goda, Research Institute of Agricultural Economics (Hungary)

Dr Pál Goda graduated as an agricultural economist in the Netherlands, then in Hungary, majoring in International Rural Development and Innovation, as well as Agricultural and Regional Development. His main research areas are development studies, agro-economics, systems theory and agro-innovation.

Since 2008 he has been taking an active role in university education in English and Hungarian. From 2012, he worked as head of research and managing director at a private research company, where he led several international research projects.
From 2019, he was the director of the Research Institute of Agricultural Economics, currently he is the managing director of the Institute of Agricultural Economics, which is the legal successor of the Institute.

Speaker: Prof Todor Stoilov, Institute of ICT, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (Bulgaria)

Professor Todor Stoilov works at the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies (IICT), Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. His area of expertise concerns implementation of optimisation strategies for the management and/or control of complex systems. Such systems include transportation systems, communication systems, resource allocation, and information and program systems in different Web services. He has twice been elected as Chair of the Technical Committee of Control in Transportation Systems of the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC).

His research and results have been published in more than 300 monographs, chapters, books, and papers. He and my team had participations in EU funded projects in the frameworks of FP4, FP5, FP6, 2020, as well as in nationally funded projects and programs. His contribution for this event will address how to decrease pollution from transportation systems, by application of appropriate control strategies.

Moderator: Susan Watts

Susan is an award-winning journalist and communicator. She is a writer and speaker on STEM subjects in their political and social context. Most recently, as Head of Communications, she worked with leadership teams of two of the UK’s leading research institutes on strategy, media operations and outreach programmes (Rothamsted Research and the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences). In 2021, she advised on the ten-year strategy of plant charity Plantlife and hosted the inaugural series of online “Dialogues” on the Covid pandemic for the British Council and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Susan is a trustee of the Scottish Association for Marine Science, in Oban, and a Physics graduate of Imperial College London. She was at the forefront of science and technology journalism in the UK for nearly two decades on the BBC’s Newsnight programme (1995-2013) where, as Science Editor, she helped to shape some of the most significant national debates.



International Research Centre
on Artificial Intelligence (IRCAI)
under the auspices of UNESCO 

Jožef Stefan Institute
Jamova cesta 39
SI-1000 Ljubljana


The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this website do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Design by Ana Fabjan