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Future Digileaders ’23

Future Digileaders is a yearly event organised by Digital Futures, for selected early-career researchers interested in digitalization. In this event, you will listen to the successful experience and insights, have in-depth discussions and get mentorship from established leaders. We cover professional development and provide opportunities to meet inspiring role models and network with each other.

Application to be awarded as “Future Digileaders” and attend this event is now closed: Call: Participation Future Digileaders’23.

Date and time: 17 October 2023, 11:30 – 20:00 CEST
Where: Digital Futures hub, Osquars Backe 5, floor 2 at KTH main campus

AWARDED FUTURE DIGILEADERS & Participants at Digitalize in Sthlm 2023

Angela Fontan – KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Apostolos Rikos – Boston University
Bhagya Prasangi Samarakoon – Singapore University of Technology and Design
Chengcheng Zhao – Zhejiang University
Christos Verginis – Uppsala University
Chun Sing Lai – Brunel University London
Di Cao – University of electronic science and technology of China
Georgia Pierrou – ETH Zurich
Heleen Rutjes – Philips Research
Ioana Oriana Bereca – KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Ioanna Miliou – Stockholm University
Janine Arantes – Victoria University
Jayan Chirayath Kurian – University of Technology, Sydney, Australia
Jianfei Yang – Nanyang Technological University
Jiaqi Yan – Nanyang Technological University
Jin Zhao – Trinity College Dublin
Joana Filipa Gouveia Fonseca – KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Joana M.F. da Trindade – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Katarina Stanojevic – Graz University of Technology, Austria
Lisa Izzouzi – University Collge London
M. Umar B. – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mariana Dalarsson – KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Martin Nisser – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Matthieu Barreau – KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Mengfan Zhang – KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Mustafa Doga Dogan – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nachuan Yang – The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Nan Gu – Tsinghua University
Panpan Zhou – KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Payman Dehghanian – The George Washington University
Pian Yu – University of Oxford
Pudong Ge – Imperial College London
Shufang Zhu – University of Oxford
Siyuan Liu – KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Xiyue Zhang – University of Oxford
Xu Fang – KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Yamin Yan – The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Yicheng Zhang – Institute for Infocomm Research, A*STAR
Yicun Huang – Chalmers University of Technology
Zhiqi Tang – KTH Royal Institute of Technology


11:30  Registration is open

12:00 LUNCH & Mingle

13:00  Welcome & introductory words: Jelena Zdravkovic, Professor Stockholm University and Associate Director for Diversity & Inclusion at Digital Futures

13:05  Workshop Program: Qianwen Xu, Associate Professor KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Chair Program Committee for Future Digileaders

13:15  Keynote talk: Pia Sandvik – Leadership in the Digital Era
Moderator: Qianwen Xu, KTH

In the speech, I will share my experience on how to be a successful leader and, specifically the leadership needed to be a skilled leader in the digital age. I will discuss why it is important to work with inclusion and diversity in academia and industry in general, especially in digitization and how it should be implemented both strategically and practically. Finally, the speech will discuss future trends of digitalization.

Pia Sandvik, Director General at Teknikföretagen (the Association of Swedish Engineering Industries). Former CEO of RISE Research Institutes of Sweden and former CEO at Länsförsäkringar Jämtland, President at Luleå University of Technology. She has a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Linköping University, a PhD and an associate professor in Quality Control Technology.

Other engagements include being a board member of EIT (The European Institute of Innovation and Technology), Almi AB and Prevas AB and a member of the IVA division XI Education and Research Policy.

13:55  BREAK

14:00 Panel A: What does it mean to be a digital leader?  How to become a digital leader?
Moderator: Sepideh Pashami, RISE


  • Kristina Höök, Professor Division of Media Technology and Interaction Design at KTH, Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA)
  • Jenny Erneman, Director Volvo Group Technology Strategy at Volvo Group Trucks Technology
  • Sara Mazur, Chair of the Board at WASP – Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program, Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA)

15:00  Activity A: Mentorship Speed Dating
Moderator: Liane Colonna, Stockholm University

  1. Helen Petrie:  Tips and suggestions for faculty applications
  2. Melinda From:  Career development suggestions
  3. Sonja Berlijn:  Job interview suggestions
  4. Ericka Johnson:  The politics of one’s research – yes, there always is politics
  5. Jenny Erneman:  Academic and industrial leadership with a focus on leading   successful industry-academia co-creation
  6. Sara Mazur:  Academic and industrial leadership
  7. Jelena Zdravkovic:  Women in the ICT academic world: challenges
  8. György Dán:  Tips for taking advantage of funding opportunities
  9. Kia Höök:  Work-Life Balance

16:20 BREAK

16:30  Panel B: How can we work with inclusion and diversity in academia and industry (workplace)? Can AI help to support inclusion and diversity in academia and industry?
Moderator: Therese Balksjö, RISE


  • Sonja Berlijn, Business Development Manager at DNV, previous school head of KTH EECS, Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA)
  • Melinda From, Head of Unit at Inclusive System Innovation, RISE
  • Ericka Johnson, Professor in gender and society at Linköping University, Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (KVA)
  • Helen Petrie, Professor Emerita of Human-Computer Interaction, Department of Computer Science, University of York, UK

17:30 Activity B: Reflection and takeaway
Moderator: Sanna Kuoppamäki, KTH

18:00  Networking & Mingle buffet

20:00 End of day

The event is a part of Digitalize in Stockholm, an annual conference and meeting place for global thought leaders and rising stars engaged in transformation through digitalization in academia, industry, government, and civil society.

After these events, we expect that the Future Digileaders will:

  • gain insights into the joys and struggles of becoming and being faculty and awareness of a broad range of career paths and strategies one can choose from
  • have shaped values and practices that should be promoted in a good research environment
  • establish new connections to research and industry leaders and a network of international peers
  • understand the potential of digitalization research in a broader societal context, a peek into different areas of digitalization research, and knowledge about state-of-the-art research challenges and advancements.

Organising Committee

Chair & Contact: Qianwen Xu, KTH,

Links from previous years