e-shape solutions: Unlocking the potential of Earth Observation data for climate change and urban areas


MCST Esplora Science Centre, Kalkara, Malta

Keith Azzopardi Tanti is the Parliamentary Secretary for Youths, Research and Innovation within the Ministry for Education, Sports, Youths, Research and Innovation since March 2022.

Born on the 17th March 1984 in Pietà to John and Josette Tanti née Theuma, Keith is the elder amongst two brothers. He married his wife Alexia née’ Azzopardi and they have two sons, Alessandro and Gianluca. He attended the Santa Venera Primary School and received his secondary education at St Elias College in the same town. He read for his degree in Economy and Management from the University of Malta, whilst also achieving his ACCA qualification.  Keith started his professional career as an accountant with one of the local commercial banks, following which he joined the Business Statistics Unit within the National Statistics Office. He also served as Financial Controller at the Malta Financial Services Authority where he specialised in International Taxation.

Keith’s political career in the ranks of the Labour Party started at a very young age as a volunteer within ‘Assistenza Ċittadin’ – the customer care section of the party. He later became a member of the local committee in Pietà, and was elected on the National Executive Committee of Forum Żgħażagħ Laburisti  – the party’s youth section. In 2013 he accepted the Party’s invitation to contest the Local Council’s election in Pietà, resulting in an elected Mayor with 685 votes. In the 2019 election, Keith confirmed and strengthen his position by doubling his votes from the previous election, gaining a total of 1,452 votes.

Keith Azzopardi Tanti accepted Dr Robert Abela’s request to contest the 2022 General Elections on the Labour Party ticket for the First District, thus making use of the experience acquired on a local level to a national stage. Keith managed to get elected on the first count with 3,774 votes at his first attempt in contesting the general elections, achieving the feat of being the only candidate on the first electoral district to garner more votes than the required quota. Newly elected Prime Minister Dr Robert Abela selected Keith Azzopardi Tanti to serve as Parliamentary Secretary for Youths, Research and Innovation, taking the oath in front of the President of Malta, His Excellency Dr George Vella.

Mr Silvio Scerri has been serving as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) since the 1 January 2023. Mr Scerri was allocated this new responsibility immediately after having served as Chief Executive Officer at ARMS for a four-year period. His term there was characterised by the overseeing and successful implementation of reforms and upgrades to systems with a view to making billing and revenue collection more efficient and transparent.

Mr Scerri has accumulated a wide experience in roles that were related to management and technology, his particular area of expertise, in both the private and the public sector. The private-sector roles included being the Chief Executive Officer of one of the leading lighting technology companies on the Island for 12 years, which role also included its overseas operations, as well as the two-year chairmanship of Malta’s largest international conference and exhibition venue which offers an open space for creativity and for any other event.  The public-sector roles included consultancy, advisory and senior management for the Government in a number of Ministries, including Education, Home Affairs and National Security and Finance,  between 1987 and 2019.

Annalisa Donati is currently holding the position of Secretary General of Eurisy, the European association of space agencies striving to bridge the gap between space and society. As Research Fellow at the European Space Policy Institute she was responsible for the studies on space economy, finance and innovation’s domains as well as the monthly sector watch. Before joining ESPI she was a Young Graduate Trainee within the Industrial Policy and SMEs Division of the European Space Agency (ESA) where she worked on the design, development, and implementation of innovation programmes to boost European space entrepreneurial ecosystem. Previously she contributed to the activities carried out within the office of the director at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). Annalisa holds a M.S. in Diplomatic Studies from the SIOI and in Multilateral Security from the University of Perugia.

Reinhard Blasi is an experienced market development and innovation manager leveraging what makes EU Space special. This covers the downstream initiatives for the different components of the EU Space Programme in an integrated approach.

Before his engagement with EUSPA he has been working as a strategy consultant for various innovation projects. Reinhard holds a degree in business administration and a master degree in international business studies conducted in the Universities of Paderborn (Germany), Lille (France), and Bologna (Italy).


Francesca Piatto is a down-to-Earth professional who works at the intersection of EU policy and projects, community and technology.

Since graduating with her Master in EU External Relations and International Migration from the University of Kent Brussels, Francesca has accrued a range of accomplishments ahead. She collaborated on EU projects with the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Rosario, Argentina, as well as  Business Bridge Europe, where she was a key part of the team that delivered the annual EU Space Conference.

More recently, she has been engaged at the European Association of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC). Here, she coordinates the European Commission’s flagship “e-shape” project, which develops and promotes European Earth Observation capabilities with and for the users. Her particular focus is supporting user uptake and managing institutional liaisons.



Dr Michael Quinton – MCST – Bio

Michael is the Executive that manages Space Engagements and Programmes at MCST. He runs the National Space Research Fund, the National Space Educational Programme and the Maltese ESA Traineeship scheme. In 2023 he is involved in developing a thematic programme fund related to the Space Upstream. Michael has a background in Space research where he developed data analysis systems that used sonification, which is the sonic translation of data, to represent various phenomena related to the Solar System and Exosolar Planetary Astronomy. His work has been included in the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) project which aims to create equal opportunities for visually impaired people to have access to space data using sonification.



Dr. Maja Zuvela-Aloise works at the GeoSphere Austria – Federal Institute for Geology, Geophysics, Climatology and Meteorology, former ZAMG, since 2010. She holds a diploma degree in Physics and Geophysics from the University of Zagreb, Croatia and a PhD from the University of Kiel, Germany. Her expertise lies in regional and urban climate modelling for investigation of climate change and climate adaptation. In particular, her research is focused on Urban Heat Island mitigation using nature-based solutions and application of climate information in sustainable urban development and spatial planning.

Peter Walker is a technology specialist at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, he has more than 25 years software development experience including relational database systems with GIS enabled databases such as PostGIS and has been working with OGC Web Services for over 15 years. He worked on the EC FP7 NETMAR project, overseeing the development of semantically enabled Web Processing Services and the creation of a web based workflow editor to chain these services; the UK MMO report “Social impacts of fisheries, aquaculture, recreation, tourism and marine protected areas in Marine Plan areas in England” produced by PML; the EC FP7 EarthServer and H2020 EarthServer2 projects which involved the processing of extremely large Earth Observation data sets; and the EC FP7 Marine Operational Ecology (OPEC) project where he was responsible for the design of an advanced Web GIS system for the display of project data. He is currently working on the Copernicus Climate Data Store, ECV project for ECMWF. He is the DIVE project leader at PML (within the H2020 e-shape project).

Dr. Saskia Buchholz works as a researcher at the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD) in the department Climate and Environment Consultancy, since 2011. She holds a diploma degree in Environmental Sciences and a PhD in Environmental Meteorology from the University of Trier, Germany. Her expertise is in the field of urban climate modelling, climate monitoring and climate services. Her current work is mainly focused on climate adaptation strategies integrating nature-based solutions and regional spatial planning. Furthermore, she works on the development of climate services for urban areas to improve their resilience to weather extremes and impacts brought about by climate change and variability.

Stavros Solomos is Associate Researcher at the Research Centre for Atmospheric Physics and Climatology of the Academy of Athens. He received his B.Sc. in Physics, M.Sc. in Environmental Physics / Meteorology and PhD in Meteorology / Atmospheric Modeling from the University of Athens, Greece in 2001, 2003 and 2011 respectively. His research focuses on the modeling of atmospheric physical processes at all scales. He has been actively involved in >30 research projects in atmospheric fields. He has 51 publications in scientific journals (h-index = 18). He teaches the class “Introduction to Climate Change” at the Post-graduate Study Program “Protection of Cultural Heritage and Monuments of Nature from the Effects of Climate Change” offered by the H.O.U. and the Academy of Athens (2022). In 2018 he worked as Appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Athens teaching the class “Dynamic and Synoptic Meteorology” at the Department of Mathematics. During 2015-2019 he lectured the classes “Earth System Science” and “Space Applications” at the MSc program “Space Science Technologies and Applications” at the National Observatory of Athens. He is member of consulting and examination committees for MSc and PhD.

Marion Lafuma holds a BBA obtained at ESSEC Business School, followed by an MBA in Operational Management and Sustainable Performance. She joined Reuniwatt in 2011 when she launched the company’s Mauritian subsidiary. She then joined the Parisian office in 2013 where she is in now in charge of the firm’s business development. With a passion of sustainable and responsible energy, Marion has been responsible for expanding Reuniwatt’s sales in renewable energy, defence & space and atmospheric sciences. Having an analytical approach and troubleshooting with integrity, she has been at the core of the company, accompanying it from a regional startup to international market leader.


Ms. Aida Campos currently holds the position of lead Researcher within the Marine resources Department of the Portugues Institute for Oceans and Athmosphere IPMA. She participated with coordination roles in the areas of Fishing Technology, Gear Selectivity and Gear-induced mortality and other Ocean research programmes, since 1990. Aida has been involved in the analysis and integration of fisheries dependent data to produce specific information tools in support of fisheries management. Aida has teaching experience in first degree, MSc and Ph.D. courses at the University of Algarve, University of Porto/ICBAS and University Agostinho Neto, Angola.