Keynote speakers

Frank Vassen
Frank Vassen | Desk officer at the European Commission for the Birds and Habitats directives

Frank is working as a team leader in the Nature Unit ENV.D3 in the General Directorate for the Environment of the European Commission in Brussels. His unit is responsible for the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, and the EU-wide Natura 2000 network of sites established under these directives. His current area of work covers issues of financing of Natura 2000, the LIFE program, agricultural policies and the biogeographical seminars.

Tim Hirsch
Tim Hirsch | Deputy Director, Head of Participation and Engagement, Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)

Tim has been deputy director at GBIF since 2013, heading the Participation and Engagement team which deals with network collaboration, partnerships, communications and capacity development across this global data and community. He arrived in GBIF having followed an unconventional career path beginning in journalism (including 20 years with the BBC), and moving to science communication including consultancies with the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Tim has led the writing team of the third, fourth and fifth editions of the CBD’s flagship Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO) series.

Rob Hendriks
Rob Hendriks | Policy Adviser

Rob Hendriks is with the department for Strategy, Knowledge and Innovation (SK&I) at the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and works at the European and global science-policy interface on nature and biodiversity issues. For about a third of his time he is involved in the governance of Biodiversa+, the European Biodiversity Partnership. In that capacity (among others), Rob engages with global and European research infrastructures with the aim to stimulate federation of initiatives and enhancement of the use of monitoring data in research.

Natasja Scholz
Natasja Scholz | Birdwatch project coordinator

Nastasja Scholz coordinates the Horizon Europe Project BirdWatch since the beginning of 2023. Originally, she studied geophysics and was (and of course still is) interested in the quantification of geohazards. To avoid the potential fate of having to choose a career path in the energy industry, she took a detour by entering the startup world where she learned about the capabilities of satellite remote sensing. This finally let her to join the LUP GmbH in 2021, where satellite data is used for ecological, environmental and climate concerns, as exemplified by BirdWatch, a project quite close to her heart.