Helena Acheson

Director – Europe

How to achieve impact from public investment in research and innovation?  How to measure and demonstrate that impact? How to ensure that the different actors, including firms, are optimally inter-connected in a national innovation system and, are both outward and forward looking and robust in the face of uncertain futures?  Such questions have been the leitmotif for Helena’s work over the last 25 years.

She has worked for a range of national and regional economic- and enterprise development organisations, both private and public, mainly in Ireland and more recently in Germany and Lithuania. She regularly contributes to EU technology and innovation policy development as an Expert or Chair of EU Advisory Group(s) and has completed an extensive number of high-profile evaluations for the EU Commission. Helena was for a number of years Ireland’s representative to the OECD Committee for Science & Technology Policy (TIP).

In Forfás, the national policy advisory organization to the Irish Government, she variously managed the national Technology Foresight exercise, the work of the National Competitiveness Council, the Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation and the national Science Awareness Programme, DISCOVER. Helena was a Technology Transfer Manager in Enterprise Ireland and prior to that managed SERTEC, a regional S&T infrastructural investment programme at the Irish Government’s Office for Science & Technology.

At MFG, the regional innovation agency for Film & Creative Industries in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, Helena was Division Head, responsible for creative industries, digital culture and e-learning projects and business development.

Helena currently works as an independent innovation policy expert and evaluator and is a Board member at

•             CONNECT, Ireland’s national Centre for Future Networks and Communications

•             ARIAC, Alberta Research & Innovation Advisory Committee, Canada

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