Afonso Ferreira

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Full Name: Afonso Ferreira
Job title: Director of Research at the French CNRS & Head, European Union Digital Affairs at CNRS
Organisation Name: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique & Institut de Recherches en Informatique de Toulouse
Country: France

Short bio

Afonso Ferreira has a PhD in Computer Sciences. He is Head of the European Digital Sector and senior researcher at the French CNRS, a research institution with more than 11.000 scientists and the largest recipient of H2020 and Horizon Europe funds. He is leading his lab in four interdisciplinary projects at the intersection of digital technologies, policy and regulation, and strategic foresight, in areas of Digital Transformation at the nexus of Data, Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed papers, books, and articles at the forefront of scientific research.

From 2004 to 2017, Afonso worked for 12 years in European Institutions, including the European Commission, where, at DG CONNECT, he contributed to the design and implementation of the first European Cybersecurity Strategy and its several policy initiatives, such as the NIS 1 Directive, ECSO,
GDPR, e-Privacy, and the Cybersecurity Act. Notably, Afonso managed the delivery of the pioneering European Cybersecurity Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, in 2013.

Given this rich and solid background in European affairs, in 2021 Afonso co-wrote the CNRS’ European strategy, guiding its 30.000 staff to consolidate its first position also in Horizon Europe. As Head of the European Digital Sector at the CNRS, Afonso is now implementing the strategy in the 43 labs under his remit. Additionally, his collaborations with the Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies resulted so far in two highly influential books, namely on software vulnerabilities disclosure (more than 9.000 downloads, with some content now part of the NIS 2 Directive), and on Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity (more than 6.000 downloads).

Afonso Ferreira is the founder and CEO of Digital Skippers Europe, where he shares his strategic thinking and strong experience in the Digital Revolution and geopolitics to help private and public actors to navigate the intricate European digital technologies policy-scape, such as data sovereignty, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and competition, among many others. Digital Skippers Europe clients include Asian and South-American companies, national Research & Innovation Agencies, and the European Commission.