Keynote Speakers

Prof. Dr. Costas Velis

University of Leeds, UK

Dr. Costas Velis is an international expert on circular economy, resources from waste and plastics pollution (https://plasticpollution.leeds.ac.uk/). An academic at the School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, UK he is a Chartered Waste Manager by CIWM and registered with the Institute of Physics (MInstP). With over 20 years of practical experience, offers his expertise in many international committees and initiatives addressing relevant challenges of global scale, including the prestigious seminal ‘Global Waste Management Outlook’ released by UNEP. Dr. Velis currently chairs the Community of Practice on ‘Harmonisation of Plastic Pollution Quantification Methodologies and Models’, instructed by UNEP; and had led for 5 year the ‘ISWA Marine Litter Task Force’, aiming at establishing the clear link between sound waste and recycling practices and the prevention of plastic pollution. He led efforts to explore the links between public and occupational health from mismanaged waste for the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK; and created a new comparative toolkit for the World Bank on plastic pollution methodologies.

Published in leading journals, including Science, his academic research papers have been honored with many prestigious awards, such as those from ICE, CIWM and ISWA. Costas has a wide research portfolio as Principal Investigator and Co-I, and his wider expertise covers topics from modelling of plastic pollution, to informal sector recycling in the Global South, to mechanical processing of waste, funded by UKRI, NERC, BBRSC, and many international organizations (e.g., The World Bank, GIZ, UN-Habitat, UNESCAP). He services the sector as Editor-in-Chief of Waste Management & Research, Section Co-Chair for Frontiers in Sustainability - Waste Management and via the Editorial Board of Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology. Dr. Velis holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering (Sustainable Systems) from Cranfield University, an MSc in Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Development from Imperial College London, and a BSc in Physics from University of Athens, with major in Environmental Physics.


Prof. Dr. Katia Lasaridi

Harokopio University, Greece

Katia Lasaridi is Professor in Environmental Management and Technology at Harokopio University, Athens, Greece.

She works on all aspects of waste management in the context of Circular Economy with emphasis on food waste prevention, valorisation and treatment, WEEE management, and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), where she has extensive research and consultancy experience.

A physicist by education (University of Athens), she holds an MSc and a PhD in environmental engineering from the University of Leeds, UK. For her studies she has received awards / scholarships from IKY, the Bodosaki Foundation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NATO Scholarship Program) and the Human Capital and Mobility program of the European Union.

She has published over 250 research papers in peer reviewed Journals and Conference proceedings, while she was the Principal Investigator or the group leader for her Institution in over 50 competitive research projects in waste management and circular economy. She has served as President of the Board of the Hellenic Recycling Agency, and in Harokopio University as member of the Governing Board, Deputy Rector, and Head of the Geography Department. She is currently member of the Scientific Committee of the Hellenic Institute of Local Authorities.


Prof. Dr. Barış Çallı

Marmara University, Turkiye

He graduated from Marmara University Faculty of Engineering as an Environmental Engineer in 1997. He completed his master's degree at the same university. He received his doctorate in Environmental Technology from Boğaziçi University Institute of Environmental Sciences in 2003. He conducted research on energy production from biodegradable waste at the research institute VITO in Belgium, with a TÜBİTAK Postdoctoral Research Scholarship in 2005-2006 and a European Union Marie Curie Scholarship in 2006-2008. The main research interests of Barış Çallı, who has been working as a professor at Marmara University, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Environmental Engineering since 2011, are biological processes in wastewater treatment, biomethanization and composting, management of industrial and domestic wastes and energy efficient wastewater treatment technologies. He currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses titled 'Solid Waste Engineering', 'Management of Hazardous and Special Wastes', 'Anaerobic Treatment' and 'Material Recovery from Waste' at Marmara University Environmental Engineering Department. He has more than 60 articles published in SCI-E Indexed journals, 5 books and book chapters in English and Turkish, more than 25 external research projects and 3 patent applications.


Prof. Dr. Marco Ritzkowski

Hamburg University of Technology, Germany

Marco Ritzkowski is Head of Research and Development at HiiCCE – Hamburg Institute for Innovation, Climate Protection and Circular Economy GmbH (Germany) since 2020 and assistant professor at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH). From 2005 until 2020 he was senior researcher at TUHH. In 2005 he received his PhD from the same University. He participated in several national and international research-projects regarding the landfill-behaviour of municipal solid waste, waste pre-treatment and aftercare of MSW landfills and he was the responsible researcher for the scientific attendance of the German R&D-project 'Aerobic in-situ stabilisation of landfills'. Since 2009 he was managing international projects in connection with the impact of climate change on water quality as well as aftercare of solid waste landfills.

Marco Ritzkowski is Managing Director of the International Waste Working Group (IWWG) since 2011 and leader of the IWWG Task Group on Landfill Aeration since 2008. Since 2019 he is Associate Editor of the IWWG journal Detritus.


Prof. Dr. Azize Ayol

Dokuz Eylul University, Turkiye

Dr. Azize Ayol is currently working for Department of Environmental Engineering at Dokuz Eylul University. Her major is the Environmental Engineering and Science. She is acting Dean of DEU Engineering Faculty and also Advisor to the Rector (Research). She is the senior researcher of DEU, Sludge Laboratory with supervising many research projects. Dr. Ayol has been an active researcher on wastewater, waste, sludge, and biosolids properties since 1997. She was a visiting researcher at University of Delaware. US-NSF and TUBITAK-NATO have awarded her in her research on sludge rheology (2002-2004). Her active research areas are wastewater treatment, sludge characterization, rheology, enzymatic treatment, sludge minimization, conditioning and dewatering processes, drying of sludge, energy recovery from waste, and waste management. She has a strong track record of scientific leadership and has been a researcher in many national and international research projects on wastewater engineering, waste management, sludge management, and industrial waste management. She has many certifications on the laboratory quality standards and management system. She has been awarded many research grants for research projects on enzymatic treatment, sludge gasification, microbial fuel cells, dynamic membrane bioreactors, energy recovery from biomass since 2004. She has many research collaborations with other international research groups from Europe, USA, Japan, and Australia. She has been active evaluation expert for different EU Grants including MSCA, FET-Open, etc. She has given the lectures on water/wastewater treatment technology, sludge management, physical aspects of environmental engineering at graduate level and design of wastewater treatment plants, operation of wastewater treatment plants, and advanced treatment techniques at undergraduate level since 2007.

She was also a member of the advisory/executive board of TUBITAK-CAYDAG, Environment, Atmosphere, Earth and Marine Sciences Research Grant Committee between 2013-2018. She was on the executive board of Dokuz Eylul Technology Development Zone-DEPARK as vice-chair between 2015-2017. She was also the academic coordinator of DEPARK Tinaztepe Engineering Campus between 2015 and 2017. She has acted as a delegate in the ESFRI Environment Group on behalf of TUBITAK since 2020.

She has many scientific papers in SCI journals and conference proceedings. She is also on the Scientific Committee of European Sludge Management Conferences and was the conference chair of the Fourth edition of the conference series-ECSM2014 hosted by DEU on May 26-27, 2014. She has recently worked on water pollution control, wastewater treatment technologies, microbial fuel cells, biogas production via anaerobic processes, and gasification process, waste management for cities, and smart cities-living labs.


Prof. Dr. Jonathan Wong

Hong Kong Baptist University , Hong Kong

Jonathan Wong is an Academician of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, a top 2% scientist in biotechnology in Stanford University Ranking 2024, and a top 50 world most influential academics in environmental Science area in China in 2022. He is currently a Top Talent Professor of the Research Centre for Eco-Environmental Engineering of the Dongguan University of Technology, a Visiting Professor of the Institute of Bioresource and Agriculture, and a Director of the Hong Kong Organic Resource Centre. His research expertise is in the area of solid waste management with specialization in bioconversion of organic wastes for energy and biomass production using innovative composting, anaerobic digestion and thermal catalytic conversion technology. Over the years, he has received over HK$200 millions of research funding and published over 550 SCI publication and conference proceedings with citation of > 23295 and H-index of 82. Jonathan has been appointed as a member of a number of Government’s advisory committees and was bestowed with Medal of Honor and Bronze Bauhinia Star by the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region respectively in 2011 and 2022 for his service and contribution to the Hong Kong environment and appointed as Justice of Peace in 2013.


Prof. Dr. William Clarke

The University of Queensland, Australia

William (Bill) Clarke is a Professor in the Schools of Civil Engineering at the University of Queensland where he is currently the Director of Teaching and Learning. He is a Civil Engineer (Uni Sth Aust) with an MSc in Env Eng (Notre Dame, USA) and PhD in Chemical Engineering (UQ). Prof Clarke has 30 years of experience as researcher in bioengineering processes for solid organic waste.

He has published extensively on landfill-based treatment processes, leach-bed technology and the solubilisation of solid organic waste. He designed and coordinated the only full-scale, batch-digestion facility for solid waste in Australia in 2011-13 consisting of two 1,000m3 in-ground vessels operated as flood and drain reactors. Professor Clarke’s research group was one of the first to characterise microbial colonisation processes for solid organic waste. He has an H-Index of 28 and has supervised 30 PhD and MPhil students, 20 of those as Principal Supervisor.

He is the current President of the International Waste Working Group (2023-24) and is active in consulting, particularly in assessing the biodegradability of packaging, disposable kitchenware and sanitary products.


Prof. Dr. Jurate Kumpiene

Luleå University of Technology, Sweden

Jurate Kumpiene, Professor at Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, has more than 20 years of experience in education, research and innovation in the area of waste management, characterisation and treatment with particular focus on contaminants in waste materials. Kumpiene is a Board Member of the International Waste Working Group (IWWG) and a member of advisory board for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency on waste statistics. In 2022, Kumpiene’s research has been selected by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) to the year's list of top national research projects with the focus on technology in the service of humanity.


Prof. Dr. Osman Arıkan

İstanbul Technical University, Turkiye

Osman Atilla Arıkan is a Professor in the Environmental Engineering Department at the Istanbul Technical University (ITU). He graduated from ITU Civil Engineering Faculty as an Environmental Engineer and received his master's and doctorate degrees from ITU Institute of Science and Technology. Between 2004 and 2006, he carried out postdoctoral studies at George Mason University, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and the US Department of Agriculture. Between 2013 and 2015, he worked as a Visiting Researcher at the University of Maryland, Department of Environmental Sciences & Technology and the US Department of Agriculture. His main research interests are solid waste management, composting, biomethanization, disaster waste management, landfill gas and leachate management, sludge management and antibiotic removal from animal waste, and he completed many national and international academic and engineering studies in these areas.

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