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Adriaan Eeckels

Project Leader

Adriaan Eeckels (1960) is a historian, humanist and semiotician. Since his university years, he has been testing boundaries, also between art and science. As a thesis proposal, he investigated the epistemological properties of the narrative in historical research, by applying semiotics in historical research with a focus on the history of mentalities in Quattrocento Florence. He describes himself as an intellectual vagabond looking for the pattern that connects, and as pontifex minimus traveling along borders and interstices of various disciplines, with a great interest in knowledge acquisition and the history of sciences. Most of his career has taken place in the European Institutions: from the Schengen Secretariat, through the European Court of Justice to the European Commission, in Luxembourg, Brussels and Ispra, Italy. He has carried out important projects in Document and Quality Management. Since 2016 he is leading the SciArt project of the Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission.


Caterina Benincasa


Caterina has a mixed background in Physics, Philosophy, History of Science, Aesthetics, Contemporary Art and World Heritage Studies. She cultivates a deep interest in creativity and creative practices, the history of science and art, the border between aesthetics & epistemology, and the interplay between critical inquiry, artistic research and societal engagement. Her competences and interests lie at the crossroads of science-art-heritage, driven by the need to communicate the beauty of research and curiosity. Her activity focuses on transdisciplinary, art-science collaborations, arts&heritage, with art as a mode of research and inquiry. Before moving to Ispra she was based in Potsdam (Germany), where she co-founded KLAS (Knowledge Link Through Art & Science) - an artist-in-residence programme of the Max Planck Society and the University of Groningen. She initiated Innovate Heritage, an ongoing programme endorsed by UNESCO to foster dialogue and knowledge exchange between the contemporary arts and heritage. She is a Member of the Advisory network of the Schering Stiftung, as an Art-Science Expert.


Ioannis Vakalis

Scientific Coordinator

Ioannis Vakalis is an Electrical Engineer with a PhD in Robotics and Automation. In 1998, he started working at JRC as a postdoctoral grandholder in the area of robotics and automation systems. Before that, he was employed in various economy sectors in Greece, academic, private and public. In 2000 he was hired as a Scientific Officer at the JRC and since then he has worked on numerous projects. The project themes included robotics, wave energy, virtual reality, demining, electronic identity, privacy, electronic documents, border control, biometrics, smart meters and cybersecurity. He has authored and co-authored a number of scientific publications and technical reports. In 2020 he joined the SciArt group at JRC A5 Unit at the post of scientific coordinator.


Naouma Kourti

Strategy & Education

Naouma Kourti was born in 1966 in Athens Greece. She joined the European Commission in 1996 working as a researcher in nuclear safety. Later she became a group leader and pioneer in using remote sensing for the detection and identification of fishing vessels fishing illegally. She then moved in aspects of security focusing in the protection of EU's critical infrastructures. In 2014/15 was associate affiliate professor of the Georg Mason University (VA) in the subject of security research. From 2016 to 2021 she is the deputy head of the "technology innovation for security" unit.  She recently joined the JRC Art and Science project.