CERN Accelerating science


Our Team & our Community

IdeaSquare is proud to foster a community of mentors and supporters from CERN and the larger community around high energy physics and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Through our interlinked activities — hosting R&D&I projects, supporting selected EU-funded projects, prototyping, running design thinking workshops and educational programmes, organising events and sharing experimental knowledge activities — previous participants have the opportunity to continue contributing to our extensive network of tech-savvy experts. These members of our community give talks to our students, show them around the experiments they are working on, mentor participants in their projects, create videos for their benefit, and most importantly volunteer their time even for a free form chat. Our students value these interactions that make their visits so much more diverse. If you are curious about these activities and would like to join us, please don’t hesitate to contact the team!

IdeaSquare is made up of a community of gifted scientists, engineers and collaborators who guarantee cutting-edge outputs. Besides the core team’s friendly faces below, you will find our mentors, partners and many more collaborators on the corresponding pages, as well as featured in our blogs. All of them are eager to share, experiment and innovate. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions for any of us!

  • i2 Core team

  • Members
    Catarina Batista

    Catarina is a passion-driven innovator and researcher with a strong interest in futures thinking, psychology and societal challenges. After spending the last 4,5 years working as a designer and innovation coach within multidisciplinary teams, Catarina sees herself as a facilitator and connector. Bridging people with intercultural backgrounds, she is able to continously adapt and cooperate in diverse teams, appreciating and embracing everyone’s uniqueness and contributions. With vast life experience in multiple European countries, she is now based at CERN Ideasquare while juggling her MSc Psychology studies at Northumbria University and volunteering work in humanitarian organizations. Catarina is especially intrigued about the intersection between behavior science, design innovation and humanitarian challenges.

    Catarina Batista Project Associate at CERN IdeaSquare
  • Members
    Dina Zimmermann

    Dina finished her Master’s degree in Structural Engineering from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in 2022. After taking a Design Thinking-course during her studies, her focus shifted away from Civil Engineering and over to Mechanical Engineering. The last summer of her studies, she got an internship as a Product Developer at Laerdal Medical. In collaboration with the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering she wrote her thesis on the development of a motor speed control system for a propulsion-assisted sit-ski. After graduation, she joined IdeaSquare as the Prototyping Expert.

    Dina Zimmermann Prototyping Huldra
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    Giulia Gaddi

    Giulia completed her Master's in Social Sciences with a specialisation in anthropology in 2021 at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, with a final project about the social impact of CERN on the Pays de Gex area. She is currently a PhD candidate in anthropology at the Laboratoire d'Ethnologie et de Sociologie Comparative (Université Paris-Nanterre) and is doing her fieldwork at IdeaSquare. She collects qualitative data about the IdeaSquare core team for her future thesis on human-technology relationships, technological transfer, and innovation. On top of "studying humans", she assists the CIJ team, while her previous experiences as a teacher and social worker enable her to support the teaching team.

    Giulia Gaddi PhD candidate in anthropology
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    Jimmy Poulaillon

    Jimmy has a background in sociology and computer science. Before coming to CERN IdeaSquare to do science communication and organise events, he worked in different fields. He was first a developer for several years, then ran a company as a multimedia designer and photographer in the field of sports. After a while, he went back to the university where he studied sociology and political science for five years. He has strong interest in innovation studies and sustainability, and is currently conducting a study about the integration of SDGs in projects and how it could transform people. His fields of expertise are sociology of knowledge, organisations, politicisation, gender and sustainability.

    Jimmy Poulaillon Science communicator and researcher
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    Laëtitia Pedroso

    Laëtitia Veyrat has been working at CERN since 2010, first as a Journalist, then as Communication Assistant and to finish as a Protocol Officer. She has been part of many events at CERN like the Open days, the 60th Anniversary, local events, etc. She is now working as Event Organiser and Executive Assistante at IdeaSquare. She studied Communication with a specialisation in Public Relations in Geneva. What she likes the most is organising events for the team. She also runs her own company as a Personal Shopper.

    Laëtitia Pedroso CERN IdeaSquare Admin, Logistics and Events
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    Laura Wirtavuori

    Laura Wirtavuori graduated from the department of Industrial Engineering and Management at Aalto University, Finland. She majored in organisational psychology, minored in product development, and worked with entrepreneurship and philosophy education. After graduation, she worked at Aalto University Design Factory researching the future of education, made a stint into consulting, during which she focused on building company ecosystems in Finland, and joined CERN IdeaSquare in spring 2020. Currently she is coordinating the student programmes at IdeaSquare, as well as developing IdeaSquare activities. When she is not at work, she can most likely be found somewhere in the mountains.

    Laura Wirtavuori Project Associate at CERN IdeaSquare
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    Lauri Valtonen

    Lauri Valtonen CERN IdeaSquare Journal of Experimental Innovation (CIJ)
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    Markus Nordberg

    Markus Nordberg is the Head of Resources Development of the Development and Innovation Unit (IPT-DI) at CERN, Switzerland. In addition to coordinating multi-disciplinary innovation projects at IdeaSquare, he is also the co-coordinator of the EU-funded sensor and imaging R&D&I initiative called ATTRACT ( aiming at both scientific and societal impact of disruptive co-innovation. Prior to this function, he served 12 years as the Resources Coordinator of the ATLAS project at CERN ( He has also served as Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Centrum voor Bedrijfseconomie, Faculty ESP-Solvay Business School, University of Brussels, and as a member of the European Physical Society, Strategic Management Society and the Association of Finnish Parliament Members and Scientists, TUTKAS. He has a degree both in Physics and in Business Administration.

    Markus Nordberg Head of Resources Development (IPT-DI), co-coordinator of the ATTRACTproject, and CERN IdeaSquare Manager
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    Oday Darwich

    Oday Darwich Innovator in Residence
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    Ole Werner

    Ole Werner obtained his M.Sc. in Behavioral Change at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands in 2022. Next to his master’s thesis at the ARENA2036 in Germany, he started working at Design Factory Stuttgart. There, he encountered the Design Factory Global Network (DFGN) and the opportunity to apply his knowledge of behavioral psychology in innovation sciences. Via the DFGN, Ole got in touch with CERN IdeaSquare, and is now putting his knowledge and thoughts to work for the innovation space since November 2022. Next to his work, Ole enjoys improv acting, doing sports and photography.

    Ole Werner Cosmic Firefighter
  • Members
    Pablo García Tello

    Pablo Garcia Tello Graduated in Physics from the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain and has a PhD in Material Science by the Basque Country University in San Sebastian, Spain. He was Postdoctoral Associate and Teaching Assistant of Semiconductor Processing Technology in the Department of Material Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, USA. He has worked at Philips and NXP Semiconductors in the areas of Micro/nano-electronics and Biotechnology. He has been also Contracts & Programmes Manager at the Aerospace and Defense Industry Association of Europe. As well he has worked as a Consultant in EU Innovation Programmes for PNO Consultants for private and public sector organisations in the Chemical and ICT areas. He is participating actively in EC Innovation Initiatives and Funding Programmes. His expertise is certified by having published more than 50 scientific papers in top international peer reviewed journals and conferences, and holds more than 10 international patents in the areas of Micro/nanotechnology and Biotechnology. He has received among others the NXP Semiconductors Golden Patent of the Year award. At CERN he has been Knowledge Transfer (KT) Liaison Officer at CERN collaborating to enhance the KT CERN industrial network and relationships. Now he is section head of the CERN EU Office developing new EU funded projects and initiatives.

    Pablo García Tello Section Head of the Development of EU Projects and Initiatives at CERN, and co-coordinator of the ATTRACT project
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    Robert Cailliau

    Robert Cailliau is an informatics engineer who proposed the first (pre-www) hypertext system for CERN in 1987 and collaborated with Tim Berners-Lee on the World Wide Web (jointly winning the ACM Software System Award) from before it got its name. He designed the historical logo of the WWW, organized the first International World Wide Web Conference at CERN in 1994 and helped transfer Web development from CERN to the global Web consortium in 1995. He is listed as co-author of How the Web Was Born by James Gillies, the first book-length account of the origins of the World Wide Web. He is now an Innovator in Residence at IdeaSquare, where he gives lectures and interact with the students.

    Robert Cailliau Innovator in Residence
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    Roy Pennings

    Roy graduated in journalism from the Academy of Journalism in Tilburg (Netherlands) in 1988 after which he continued to obtain a Master degree in political science from Leiden University (Netherlands). He specialised in political risk analysis and energy economics (at Erasmus University Rotterdam). He was also selected for a Fulbright scholarship which he used to study international political economy at Master-level at the University of South Carolina. Roy started his professional career in Brussels and Strasbourg as the head of research for several German Members of the European Parliament, where he focussed on energy, regional economic development, social policy and women’s rights. He co-wrote the European initiative leading to the later adoption of the EC parental leave directive. During this time, he also became interested in reasons behind misappropriations of European project grants. After leaving Brussels, he moved to London to become a European lobbyist and grant specialist for two of the capital’s economic and social training councils. Halfway through, the internet boom hit and Roy switched to become an entrepreneur developing two successful business propositions which were later sold. When Roy returned to the Netherlands, he briefly acted as the EMEA business developer of an Israeli B2B company where he was responsible for selling the company’s products into world-leading internet service providers. However, after the downturn of the internet boom and the collapse of many ISPs, he moved on to become the strategy advisor of the CEO of a large Dutch ICT systems management company where he advised on the company’s ‘sunset-market strategy’ for HP-mainframe systems and network security. He would continue to develop and run the latter as a subsidiary company. Although always interested in ICT, Roy’s passion continued to be in helping researchers and entrepreneurs building new business propositions using EU grant support. He took the opportunity to becomes part of Europe’s largest grant advisory consultancy where he was asked to co-found the company’s new German subsidiary. Instead of investigating grant misappropriations, Roy now mainly built and managed new grant projects for numerous international clients and SMEs. One of his main clients during this time was CERN. After 13 years, in which he grew to be one of the co-owners and managing consultants of the company, he felt it was time to move on and focus more on project support instead of management tasks. So he started a new business which quickly gained a trusted and respected position as a successful grant advisory and project management consultancy. He managed several very large collaborative research and demonstration projects and also had direct contract assignments from the European Commission. Eight years into the business, CERN opened an interesting new position to start the organisation’s Green Village initiative ( The idea to start again fresh was appealing so Roy applied for the position and he is now the Green Village senior EU projects manager. In this role he focuses on building the Green Village proposition to attract research consortia to come and demonstrate innovative sustainable technologies at the CERN campus.

    Roy Pennings Senior EU Projects Manager
  • Members
    Tuuli Utriainen

    Tuuli Utriainen Cosmic Collaboration Enabler