41st Annual Conference of Regional Science Association International: British and Irish Section

Biographies (in alphabetical order by surname)


Dirk Ahner, former Director-General for Regional Policy, European Commission.

Dr. Dirk Ahner served as a Director General of Directorate General for Regional Policy since 2007 at the European Commission. Dr. Ahner served as a Deputy Director General from 2003 to 2006; Director of Economic Analysis and Evaluation Division from 1998 to 2002; Director of Economic Analysis and Prospective Division from 1997 to 1998; Head of Analysis and Conception Unit from 1991-1997; Assistant to the Director General 1987 to 1991; and Administrator from 1978 to 1982 at Directorate General for Agriculture. He served as an Alternate Board Member of European Investment Fund. Dr. Ahner was a Member of the Working Group for agricultural, environmental and rural matters at Secretariat General of the European Commission from 1982 to 1987. Mr. Ahner earned a Doctorate in Economic Sciences in 1976 and a Diploma in Economic Sciences “Diplom-Ökonom” in 1972.


Gabriel M. Crean, Vice-President for Technology and Director for Europe, Direction de la Recherche Technologique (DRT), CEA - Commissariat ŕ l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives

Professor Gabriel Crean is Vice-President for Technology and Director for Europe of the CEAtech, the Division of Technological Research of the Atomic Energy and Alternatives Energy Commission (CEA) of France. This division includes three world class research institutes in Micro-Nanotechnologies (LETI), New Technologies for Energy (LITEN) and Information Technology (LIST) in Paris and Grenoble. He was previously Scientific Director of the Division of Technological Research from 2009 to 2012. He is an Advisor to the Administrator General (President) of the Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble (INPG) on research policies as well as a visiting Professor. Professor Crean is recognised internationally for his contributions to academic research and European science, technology & innovation policy. He is an elected Fellow of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. He is an invited Academic Fellow of the European Policy Centre, one of Europe’s leading Think-Tanks. He is a Past President of the International Union of Materials Research Societies and President Emeritus of the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS). He is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers of Ireland and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics of the U.K. Professor Crean has acted as a consultant for several European member state Governments and the European Commission. He is a member since 2011 of the High Level Mirror Group on Smart Specialisation advising European Commissioner Hann on smart specialisation strategies for Europe’s regions.  Most recently, Professor Crean has played a key role in the European Commission High Level Group on Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) established by Vice-President Commissioner Tajani to advise the European commission on a competitive industrial and technological policy.  He was a co-chairman of the World Materials Summit, held in Washington, USA, October 9-12, 2011. Professor Crean is a co-founder of three venture-capital backed high-technology companies, FireComms Ltd., Optical Metrology Innovations Ltd and Biosensia Ltd.


Edward Feser, Eddie Davies Professor of Enterprise & Innovation, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK & Professor, Urban and Regional Planning & Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.

Edward Feser is Professor of Enterprise and Innovation in the Division of Innovation, Management, and Policy at the Manchester Business School, UK; Professor of Urban and Regional Planning and Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA; and Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, Arlington, Virginia, USA. He studies regional economic development policy making adn planning. His current research is focused on organizational design and institutional innovation in the public sector economic development function at teh subnational level, teh use of methods for detecting and acting on regional comptetitive advantage, and regional entrepreneurship policy.

Kieran Moylan, Border, Midland and Western Regional Assembly, Ireland.

Dr. Kieran Moylan is the Assistant Director of the Border Midland and Western Regional Assembly, appointed in June 2000.  Kieran’s responsibilities within the Assembly largely relate to the management, financial control and monitoring of the €458m Regional Operational Programme, which includes a €28m Gateway Scheme. Kieran has contributed to several policy submissions on behalf of the Assembly including submissions on regional investment priorities, research and innovation policy and the future of EU Cohesion Policy.  Kieran was awarded a Doctorate in Governance by Queens University Belfast in 2009.  His Doctoral Thesis was on the Coherence of Irish Regional Policy.