Executive Board

Members of the Executive Board are elected by the General Assembly for three years with the possibility to extend this for a further three-years. Their role is to oversee strategic development of EuroFIR AISBL, and provide technical and scientific support as necessary.

Tasks of the Executive Board include:

  • Management and represention the Association
  • Preparation of operating procedures
  • Supervision of activities and performance of the Executive Director, Secretary, Managing Director, and the Secretariat
  • Preparation of the annual business plans and budget
  • Compilation of the annual report.

Dr Siân Astley is the Secretary to the Association and is supported by Sidonie Pauchet.

EuroFIR President

  • Karl Presser, President (Premotec GmbH, CH)

    (Director since 2015, Vice-President 2019-2021)

    KarlKarl Presser is the founder and managing partner of Premotec GmbH and Premotec Poland sp. z o.o. Until 2018, he also worked as a senior scientist in the Department of Computer Science at ETH Zurich (CH) in the Global Information Systems Group, where he also completed his PhD investigating data quality of food composition data.

    Beginning his career as a developer, Karl created a relational database to store and calculate timetables for universities and secondary schools using evolutionary algorithms. More recently, Karl designed FoodCASE, a tool to manage and generate food data. With more than 10 years’ experience in handling food data, Karl has contributed to different European and international standards for managing and exchanging food data and participated or led nationally-, EU- and internationally-funded projects.

    As well as EuroFIR, Karl is a board member of TC23 - International Measurement Confederation (IMEKO) and his current passion is European Research Infrastructures and the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC).

EuroFIR Directors

  • Luca Bucchini (Hylobates, IT)

    (Director since 2014)

    Luca Bucchini is a food regulatory and scientific consultant based in Rome (IT). He is co-founder and managing director of Hylobates Srl., a food and cosmetic product regulatory affairs consultancy. For the past 20 years, Luca has worked with academia, food industry, and regulatory authorities, at EU, national and regional levels, on food and food supplement related issues. He has also led research teams in food allergen risk assessment and water contaminants. As a consultant, Luca works with European businesses, large and small, trade organisations and public bodies to assess risks of foods and novel ingredients, evaluate labels and advertising, and prepare for recalls and food crises. He also works on health claims and botanicals.

  • Helena Costa (INSA, PT)

    (Director since 2018)

    Helena Soares Costa is a senior researcher at INSA and coordinates the Research & Development Unit of the Department of Food and Nutrition as well as vice-president of the Scientific Council of INSA. Her current areas of research are food composition, nutrition, and food safety. She has considerable experience in development of analytical methods for food analysis including nutrients and bioactive compounds, food composition databases, dietary assessment, and data quality. Helena has published on a wide range of topics in food science and nutrition and supervises graduate students and post-doctoral researchers as well as teaching at several universities. Helena has coordinated nationally-funded projects and participated in several EU-funded projects. She is also a member of the Editorial Board for Wiley’s Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

  • Maria Kapsokefalou (AUA, GR)

    (Director since 2018)

    Maria Kapsokefalou is Professor in Human Nutrition and a member of the National Committee on Nutrition Policy of the Ministry of Health. She served as the Deputy Rector on Student Affairs, Academic Collaborations and Outreach and as a member of various bodies on food and nutrition policy and research strategy.

    Maria pursued her graduate studies in food science and nutrition at Cornell University, as a Fulbright Scholar, and received her MSc in 1989 and PhD in 1992. She continued her scientific career at Cornell (US) University, as a recipient of the Nutricia Research Foundation International Training Fellowship, and at ETH Zurich (CH) and the University of Crete (GR), where she was a Researcher and Lecturer in Food Science and Nutrition until 2000.

    Current research activities aim to promote public health through better nutrition; she is investigating the health benefits of bioactive compounds in novel and functional foods, dietary intakes in the general adult population and vulnerable groups, and on the socioeconomic factors that affect food intake with a view to alleviating food insecurity. Her interests also extend to outreach programmes on sustainable development of the agrofood sector in Greece.

  • Loek Pijls (Loekintofood, NL)

    Loek Pijls PMP founded Loekintofood in 2015 addressing questions such as how what we eat impacts our health and how to apply nutrition understanding to our health, which concerns issues including diet and food composition, reformulation, health claims, communications, guidelines, regulatory positioning, nutrition policy, novel food, and training. Loek has worked in nutrition for about 30 years in various roles across a wide range of organisations. He is a farmers’ son with a particular affinity for responsible and healthy food production, presentation and consumption. His MSc is in Human Nutrition (Wageningen University) and his PhD from the Faculty of Medicine at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and is certified at PhD level in Nutritional Sciences and in Epidemiology and as Project Management Professional

  • Naomi Fliss Isakov (Ministry of Health Israel, IL)

    Naomi Fliss Isakov is Head of Nutrition Research in the Ministry of Health Israel with previous experience in research for 5 years in Tel Aviv Medical Centre. She is a Dietitian (B.Sc.) and an Epidemiologist (PhD), coordinating clinical dietary therapy and research in the field of nutrition since 2010.

    In her previous position, she was in charge of data gathering and analysis to evaluate dietary exposures within the Israeli population and assess the acceptance and effectiveness of nutritional public policy in Israel. Her fields of interest included the effect of current nutritional policy in Israel, nutritional insecurity and socio-economic aspects of diet, the food environment’s effect on the population’s diets, and the environmental footprint of the Israeli diet.

    She is also a Postdoctoral fellow at the School of Public Health, Hebrew University, and a lecturer at the School of Public Health of Tel Aviv University.

  • Paul Finglas (Quadram Institute, UK)

    Paul Finglas is Head of the Food Databanks National Capability at the Quadram Institute (Norwich, UK) and EuroFIR Managing Director. He is also the President of EuroFIR AISBL. Paul is an experienced food and nutritional scientist and has published more than 250 publications (h-index 36) on a wide range of topics in food sciences and nutrition.

    Paul edited McCance & Widdowson’s ‘The Composition of Foods’ (7th Summary Edn; 2015) and has developed an online tool for the UK’s CoFids with Public Health England (2019). For most of his science career, Paul has been involved in a wide range of research in food, nutrition and health and explored ways in which to integrate food and consumer behaviour data into personalised nutrition dietary advice.

    Paul has a broad range of experience in both national and European research projects and is the Scientific Coordinator for the EU-funded Food Nutrition Security Cloud as well as Co-lead for the proposed FNH-RI UK Node. He is also Editor-In-Chief for Food Chemistry and Trends in Food Science and Technology, and has provided expert advice to a number of bodies including the UK FSA, British Council, Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the European Commission.

  • Hettie C Schönfeldt (University of Pretoria, ZA)

    Hettie C Schönfeldt is a Tier 1 South Africa Department of Science and Innovation/National Research Foundation (DSI/NRF) Research Chair (SARChI) in Nutrition and Food Security and professor in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (NAS). She is also an extraordinary lecturer in the School of Health Systems and Public Health. In November 2023, she was appointed as a member of the High-Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE-FSN) by the Bureau of the UN Committee on World Food Security, 

    She serves as scientific advisor to AFROFOODS, a network on the African continent, forming part of IUNS/UNU/FAO INFOODS Task Force. Hettie was chief rapporteur of the FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Protein Requirements for human health. She formed part of the Evaluation Team that considered FAO’s work in Nutrition worldwide. Under her guidance, 53 postgraduate students have received their degrees in research related to food, consumers and human nutrition. She has authored or co-authored more than >120 contributions in journals and books and over 130 reports for industry.  

    Professor Schönfeldt’s research focuses on linking nutrient quantity and quality of foods to sustainable food systems. She is an advocate for nutrition research, promoting excellence through the creation, translation and dissemination of science-based information into policies, programmes and training programmes both nationally, and internationally. She publishes evidence on why country-specific food composition data is essential to make it possible to interpret the dietary outcomes of countries. She was a co-director of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Food Systems. 

    Her work has been widely recognised. Recent awards include the recognition from industry in which she was honoured as a Pioneer Woman in Agriculture in March 2024. At the 13th International Food Data Conference in 2019 she received the distinguished Nevin Scrimshaw Award and a shared Success Story Award for the FAO/INFOODS Food Composition Table for Western Africa. 

  • Maria Trakka (QUADRAM INSTITUTE, UK)

    Maria Trakka is the Head of the Food & Nutrition National Bioscience Research Infrastructure at the Quadram Institute, which curates and manages the food composition data of the UK diets. She has an active interest in personalized nutrition, prevention of non-communicable diseases, and the importance of the microbiome in modulating response to complex diets.

    Her previous work, during her PhD and post-doctoral studies, focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms leading to disease prevention (e.g., prostate cancer). As a Senior Research Scientist at the Quadram Institute, she became increasingly interested in the role of cruciferous-rich diets, such as those high in broccoli, in maintaining a healthy metabolism. For this, she combined human dietary intervention studies with studies on cell and animal models, using RNA sequencing of patient tissues and detailed metabolic assays.

    She has always been keen on the opportunities that big data offer in maximizing our comprehension of the effect of diet and how we can translate it to population benefit.

    She has been successful in securing funding from BBSRC, local charities (BigC), and US Organizations (PCF).