Keynote speakers 

Already confirmed OOFHEC2019 keynote speakers.  
Please check regularly for new updates. 

Stefaan Hermans 

Director of Policy Strategy and Evaluation at the European Commission


Stefaan is Director of Policy Strategy and Evaluation in the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture at the European Commission. He was Head of Cabinet of the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen in the Juncker Commission. Previous posts include Head of the ‘Universities and Researchers’, ‘Skills’, and ‘Reflective Societies’ Units in DG Research and Innovation, and Secretary of the Employment Committee of the European Union. He also lectures on EU Affairs at the KU Leuven.

Jesús G. Boticario 

Vice-Principal Digitalization & Innovation at UNED (Spain)


Jesús is a Full Professor at the Computer Science School and currently the Vice-Principal for Digitalization and Innovation at UNED. He is the founder and head of aDeNu (ever since 2001) research group (recognised as a research consolidated group at UNED). He has published over 200 research articles. He has participated in 26 R&D funded projects (Spain, USA, EU). Scientific coordinator in European and National funded projects in the areas of e-learning and e-inclusion, where he has focused on applying artificial intelligence techniques for providing personalized solutions.


He is an invited speaker at National and International conferences. He has been a guest editor of National and International journals (most recently, International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 2016). Jesús has held several positions at UNED in the ICT area (Vice-Principal of Innovation and Technological Development, General Director of the Centre of Innovation and Technological Development, Director of Innovation, Vice-Principal of Digitalization and Innovation).

Pastora Martínez Samper 

Vice President Globalization & Cooperation at UOC (Spain)


Pastora is Vice President for Globalization and Cooperation at UOC since February 2016 and President of the UOC Equality Unit since September 2016.

She is member of the expert group on Open Science at the European University Association since May 2017 and she was leading the working group for Cooperation at the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) from October 2016 to March 2019.


She has a PhD in Physics (UAM, 2003), a Master in the Leadership and Management of Science (UPF-UB-UAB, 2008) and a Master in Business and Administration (EADA Business School, 2014). She has more than 14 years of experience in the management of science including management of research centers, European projects or networks. She has been invited to participate in several workshops and courses focused on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), and she coordinates a specific module on RRI at the Master in Translational Medicine-MSc from the University of Barcelona since 2013.

Ricardo Mairal  

Rector at UNED (Spain)


Ricardo has been a Full Professor of English Linguistics in the Department of Modern Languages at the Spanish National Distance-Learning University (UNED) since 2002. He has been the Vicerrector for Teaching Staff and Academic Planning and First Vicerrrector and he is currently the Rector at the UNED. He has also been the President of the Spanish Association for Applied Linguistics during 2011-2017


He has published over fifty scholarly articles which have appeared in specialised national and international journals. He has also lectured extensively as keynote speaker at national and international conferences on Applied and Theoretical Linguistics. Ricardo is one of the co-founders of the LEXICOM research group ( His recent research has concentrated on the design of a multilingual and multifunctional lexical conceptual knowledge base for natural language processing applications (

Liz Marr  

Pro-Vice-Chancellor at OUUK


Liz is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Students) at The Open University in the United Kingdom. She has responsibility for all student facing development and enhancement, including student retention, progression, achievement and satisfaction, widening access and success, employability, quality monitoring and enhancement and the Teaching Excellence Framework.


Liz has over twenty years’ experience in UK higher education and is co-author of ‘Identity Crisis: Working in Higher Education in the 21st Century’. She is managing editor of the journal ‘Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning’, an editorial board member of Learning and Teaching in the International Social Sciences (LATTISS) and a regular reviewer for Open Learning and EURODL. In the UK, she is Chair of the Action on Access Forum and an executive member of the Universities Association of Lifelong Learning.

Dirk van Damme 

Senior Counsellor at OECD/EDU


Dirk is currently Senior Counsellor for OECD/EDU. He holds a PhD in educational sciences from Ghent University and is also professor of educational sciences in the same university (since 1995). He was also part-time professor in comparative education at the Free University of Brussels (1997-2000) and visiting professor of comparative education at Seton Hall University, NJ, USA (2001-2008). He was general director of the Flemish Rectors’ Conference, the main advisory body for higher education policy in the Flemish part of Belgium between 2000 and 2003.


He was professionally involved in educational policy development between 1992 and 2008, and served as chief of staff of Mr Frank Vandenbroucke, Flemish minister of education between 2004 and 2008.

Willem van Valkenburg 

Manager Teaching & Learning Services at

Delft University of Technology (NL)


Willem is manager of Teaching & Learning Services at Delft University of Technology and President of the Open Education Consortium. He has been involved with digitization of education since 2000 in different roles.


Currently he is participating in the EMBED project to develop an European maturity model for blended education. Willem is a regular speaker at conferences around the world and blogs on

Francesca Helm 

University of Padova


Francesca is a researcher at the Department of Politics, Law and International Studies at the University of Padova in Italy. She is also chair of the Coimbra Group Education Innovation working group, and founding member of the Next Generation Global Studies research group, and the Italian section of Scholars at Risk. Her research is in the areas of intercultural communication and virtual exchange, ethical internationalisation, foreign language teaching, language policies and practices. She is currently working on the monitoring and evaluation of the European Commission's Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange pilot project which was launched in 2018.

Melissa Highton  

Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services at University of Edinburgh


Melissa is strategic lead for open and online education, MOOCs, short courses and on-campus blended education. She works with academic and technology teams to ensure that digital skills, research, web tools and digital platforms support the business of innovation in learning and teaching.




Check the updated list regularly!


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