11 – 12 December 2019

From Science to Practice: Strengthening Research Uptake to Achieve the SDGs – 2019

In the context of increasing policy challenges and eroding trust in science and public institutions, how can we support effective, evidence-based policies to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? Join us for this conference to investigate how to improve the interface among researchers, decision-makers, and policy practitioners to inform global efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


This event built on the 2016 Strengthening the UN’s research uptake conference and the recent report Strengthening policy research uptake in the context of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development by the United Nations’ Joint Inspection Unit. High-level plenary sessions explore cross-cutting factors that affect research-policy-practice interaction and a breakout session examines closely those relationships across the SDGs: Good Health and Well-Being (Goal 3); Reduced Inequalities (Goal 10); Sustainable Cities and Communities (Goal 11).





From Science to Practice: Strengthening Research Uptake to Achieve the SDGs

In the face of compounding global challenges and ambitious 2030 SDG’s Agenda, the need for evidence-based policy making, informed by rigorous scientific research, has never been greater. Read the Conference Summary of this event co-hosted by the Think Tank Hub.

In the face of compounding global challenges and ambitious 2030 SDG’s Agenda, the need for evidence-based policy making, informed by rigorous scientific research, has never been greater. Read the Conference Summary of this event co-hosted by the Think Tank Hub.




Tatiana Valovaya

Director-General United Nations Geneva

Ms. Valovaya is currently the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva. She has more than 35 years of experience in public service, diplomacy and journalism. She began her career in the editorial office of the Economic Gazette in Moscow. In 1989, she joined the Permanent Mission of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to the European Union (EU) and then continued her career with the Government of the Russian Federation and served in various capacities. Ms. Valovaya joined the Eurasian Economic Commission in 2012 as a Member of the Board (Minister) responsible for integration and macro-economic issues. She joined the United Nations in 2019.

Valentin Zellweger

Head of the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to United Nations and International Organizations in Geneva

His Excellency, Ambassador Zellweger is currently the Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations Office and to the other international organisations in Geneva. Appointed diplomatic officer in 1995, he was assigned to the DIL and in 1999 he was transferred to the Swiss mission to the United Nations in New York. From 2003 to 2007 he was head of the office of the first serving president of the new International Criminal Court in The Hague. In May 2007 Mr Zellweger returned to the DIL in Bern as assistant director. In 2010 he became director of the DIL.

Marianne Beisheim

Senior Associate, Global Issues Division, German Institute for Internatoinal and Security Affairs

Marianne Beisheim is Senior Associate at the Global Issues Division at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the German Science Platform Sustainability 2030 and of the UN-Political Advisory Board of the Federal Foreign Office. On top of that she is the Chair of the Advisory Board of the Development and Peace Foundation and a member of the Research Council of the United Nations Association of Germany. Among the several previous positions she held, she was Assistant Professor at Freie Universität Berlin and Research Associate at the German Parliament in Berlin.

Thomas Biersteker

Director for Policy Research, Graduate Institute

Thomas Biersteker is Gasteyger Professor of International Security and Director of Policy Research at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. He previously directed the Graduate Institute’s Programme for the Study of International Governance, the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University and has also taught at Yale University and the University of Southern California. He is the author/editor of ten books, including State Sovereignty as Social Construct (1996), The Emergence of Private Authority in Global Governance (2002), and Targeted Sanctions: The Impacts and Effectiveness of United Nations Action (2016). Until 2017 he was Director of the Global Governance Centre, formerly Programme for the Study of International Governance at the Graduate Institute.

Maurizio Bona

Senior Advisor for Relations with Parliaments and Science Policy, CERN

Maurizio Bona holds an engineering degree (1979) and a Doctor degree in material science (1983) from Politecnico di Milano. He participated in the design and development phases of the LHC superconducting magnets and later taught applied superconductivity and superconducting magnets as an invited Professor at the University of Genoa. In 2009 he became Advisor to the Director-General, charged with relations with international organizations. He was instrumental to develop the CERN network of relations with other international organizations and to obtain the status of Observer for CERN in the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 2012. As from October 2016 he is Senior Advisor for relations with Parliaments and Science for policy, as well as Senior Advisor on knowledge transfer.

Petru Dumitriu

Inspector, United Nations Joint Inspection Unit

Petru Dumitriu is a Romanian diplomat who joined the Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations system in 2016 as Inspector elected by the General Assembly. He earned his doctorate with a thesis on the United Nations reform. He is the author of JIU reports on “Knowledge Management in the United Nations system”, “The United Nations – private sector partnership arrangements in the context of the 2030 Agenda”, and “Strengthening policy research uptake”. He also co-authored a report on “Managing cloud computing in the United Nations system”. He received the Knowledge Management Award in 2017 and the Sustainable Development Award in 2019 for his reports.

Anne Ellersiek

Research Associate, German Science Platform Sustainability 2030

Dr. Anne Ellersiek is a Research Associate at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam. There she is responsible for the Stakeholder Management of the Science Platform Sustainability 2030 since January 2018. Previously, she was a Research Fellow at the Science and Policy Foundation (SWP) and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). She studied organizational psychology at the University of Leipzig and holds a doctorate in organizational sciences from the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands.

Moira Faul

Head of Research, Deputy Director of Public Private Partnerships Centre, UNIGE

Dr. Moira V. Faul is Deputy Director of the Public-Private Partnership Center, and was also Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute (IHEID) 2018/19. Previously, she held a Visiting Research Fellowship at the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD, 2015-16) and successfully led a UK Research Councils-funded programme on knowledge exchange between research and policy at the University of Cambridge (2013-15). She has also successfully completed international consultancies for organisations in the academic, government, private and voluntary sectors, including the UK government, UNESCO, UNHCR, Arup International and ActionAid.

Alexandre Hedjazi

Co-Director, Global Environmental Policy Programme, University of Geneva

Dr. Alexandre Hedjazi is Senior Lecturer at “l’Institut des Sciences de l’Environnement” at the University of Geneva and Co-Director of the “Global Environmental Policy Programme”. Dr. Hedjazi started his research career on the financing of urban infrastructures and Public-Private Governance which contributed to the final document of OECD’s Conference for Partnership in the XXI Century. In 1997, Dr. Hedjazi joined UCLA to conduct research on regional development and security where among many courses and seminars he lectured on Regionalization and Energy Security at the UCLA Global Studies program.

Ralph Heinrich

Secretary at UNECE Team of Specialists on Innovation and Competitiveness, Policies Economic Cooperation and Trade Division

Katja Hujo

Senior Research Coordinator, UNRISD

Katja Hujo is Senior Research Coordinator in the Social Policy and Development Programme at UNRISD. She studied economics and political science at Eberhard-Karls-University Tübingen, Freie Universität Berlin (FUB) and National University of Córdoba, Argentina, and holds a doctoral degree in economics from FUB. Katja’s academic work focuses on social policy, poverty and inequality, as well as socio-economic development. She is coordinator and lead author of the latest UNRISD flagship report “Policy Innovations for Transformative Change – Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and coordinated the international conference on “Overcoming Inequalities in a Fractured World: Between Elite Power and Social Mobilization”.

Anja Kaspersen

Director, UN Office for Disarmament Affairs

Ms. Kaspersen is currently Director of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. Previously, she was Former Head of Geopolitics and International Security at the World Economic Forum. She has also worked with the Norwegian Government and the UN (peacekeeping), research and academia, serving in different capacities in the private sector and for various multilateral organizations in the field and at headquarters.

Jeffrey Knezovich

Technical Officer, Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, WHO

Jeffrey Knezovich is currently is the Technical Officer (Partnership and Engagement) at the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research at the World Health Organization. Prior to that, he has worked for diverse organizations, including the Nuffield Trust, a health charity, foraus, the Swiss forum on Foreign Policy or the Institute of Developement Studies. He helps develop and implement strategic policy influence approaches and capacities. His core communication skill set lies in the digital space and in synthesising complex information into rich data visualisations and targeted briefings.

Paul Ladd

Director, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development

Paul Ladd has been Director of UNRISD since October 2015. Before taking up this position he had been at UNDP, where he had most recently been Director of the team supporting consultations and technical inputs for the 2030 Development Agenda. Previously he led UNDP’s policy team on ‘inclusive globalization’ – including trade, development finance, and migration. From 2008-2009, he provided support to the Office of the UN Secretary-General on the financial and economic crisis, and engagement with the G20.

Annabelle Littoz-Monnet

Professor of International Relations/Political Science, CoDirector, Global Governance Centre, Graduate Institute

Prof. Annabelle Littioz-Monnet is Professor of International Relations and Political Science at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. She is working on a SNSF research project examining uses of ethical experts by bureaucrats and policy-makers, as well as another project on Ios and expert knowledge. She is also co-director of the Global Governance Centre.

Peter Messerli

Director, Centre for Development and Environment and Co-Chair of the independent group of scientists for the UN Global Sustainable Development Report

Prof. Dr. Peter Messerli is a land system scientist and a human geographer. He is professor for sustainable development and director of the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern. His research interests lie in the increasingly globalized and competing claims on land and related transformation processes. He is co-chair of Future Earth’s Global Land Programme (GLP) and co-chair of the UN Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR).

Suerie Moon

Co-Director of the Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute

Dr. Suerie Moon is currently the Co-Director at the Global Health Centre and a Visiting Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Programs at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. Prior to joining the Graduate Institute in 2016, she was Lecturer on Global Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She also was Study Director of the Harvard-LSHTM Independent Panel on the Global Response to Ebola, head of Harvard’s research team on the Lancet Commission on Global Governance for Health, and co-directed the Project on Innovation and Access to Technologies for Sustainable Development at the Kennedy School of Government. She is currently the Principal Investigator on research projects on the international sharing of outbreak-related pathogen samples and related benefits; and new business models of pharmaceutical R&D. She also directs the Knowledge Network on Innovation and Access to Medicines (knowledgeportalia.org), a project to facilitate two-way flows of knowledge between the research and policy/practice communities.

Andreas Obrecht

Managing Director SDSN Switzerland

Andreas Obrecht is managing SDSN Switzerland which mobilizes universities, research centers, civil society organizations and business to create and implement transformative solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Prior to his current position, Andreas worked on biodiversity policy in the Law Division of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi and in the international affairs division of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). He did his MSc in Geography at the University of Bern, where he specialized in climate reconstruction and phenology and started his career with an urban planning consultancy in Zurich and then with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva.

Francesco Pisano

Director, UN Library

Since 2016, Franceso Pisano is Director of the Library at the United Nations Office in Geneva. He joined the United Nations in 1993 where he took positions of increasing responsibility with the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs, its Division for Disaster Mitigation, then with OCHA as Senior Officer. He served as Director of Research, Technology Applications and Knowledge Systems at the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) where he was also the Manager of UNOSAT (the Operational Satellite Applications Programme) from 2007 to 2012. Since 2016 he directs the UN Library Geneva, a centre for research and knowledge exchange established in 1919, and the Cultural Activity Programme of UNOG, a space dedicated to cultural diplomacy and international outreach.

Flavia Schlegel

Special Envoy for Science in Global Policy, International Science Council

Dr. Flavia Schlegel is currently Special Envoy for Science in Global Policy at International Science Council. Before joining the ISC, Dr. Schlegel was the Assistant Director General for UNESCO’s Natural Sciences sector. During her tenure, she oversaw UNESCO’s response to multilateral development agendas such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework on disaster risk reduction and the Samoa Pathway. Prior to her time at UNESCO, Dr Schlegel established Swissnex China – the Swiss house for science, technology, innovation, and culture in Shanghai – a trans-disciplinary institution supported by public and private funding.

Nicolas Seidler

Executive Director of the Geneva Science-Policy Interface (GSPI)

Nicolas Seidler is the Executive Director of the Geneva Science-Policy Interface (GSPI), which was launched by the University of Geneva with the support of the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs in October 2018. Backed by leading research institutions in Switzerland and Europe, the GSPI is an independent, neutral platform that leverages synergies between actors of the International Geneva ecosystem and an extensive network of researchers by facilitating connections, supporting collaborative processes and inspiring effective practices at the interface of science, policy and implementation. In his previous position as Senior Policy Advisor at the Internet Society, he developed an extensive network of collaboration and engagement with international organizations and NGOs in Geneva and abroad. In this position, he led the organization’s policy implementation in the fields of Digital Rights and the Internet of Things.

Maria Isabelle Wieser

Director Romandie, foraus and Head of the Think Tank Hub Geneva

Maria Isabelle is currently Director Romandie at foraus and the Head of the Think Tank Hub Geneva. She studied political sciences, law and European studies with a focus on gender and feminist foreign policy at the universities of Lucerne and Geneva respectively. Before taking over as director of Romandie in September 2018, she worked as an academic associate for the Swiss Embassy in Washington D.C and co-founded the foraus Gender programme, which was launched in May 2017.

Yanchun Zhang

Chief, Commodity Policy Implementation and Outreach Section, Commodities Branch-DITC, UNCTAD

 At UNCTAD, Yanchun Zhang is responsible for formulating and implementing technical cooperation activities in commodity dependent developing countries to support evidence-based policy making that promotes inclusive growth and sustainable development. Prior to joining UNCTAD, she had worked at the United Nations Development Programme in New York from 2007 to 2013 as a Policy Specialist, conducting original economics research on key and emerging development topics that are strategically important for the organization. From 2003 to 2006, she was an assistant professor at San Francisco State University, teaching and researching on macroeconomics, international economics and econometrics. Prior to her academic career, she worked briefly as a research consultant for the World Bank’s Development Research Group.