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External Experts Group

SUNRISE’s External Expert Group (EEG) consists of a selection of people and organisations that have valuable experience in the Critical Infrastructure domain.

The primary focus of the EEG is the collection of expert views with the intention of extracting industry knowledge that helps the project to fulfil its goal. The information and feedback provided by the experts of the EEG supports the development of the different SUNRISE tools and solutions from a high-level perspective.

On the 23rd of April, SUNRISE will be holding the Kick-Off meeting for its External Experts Group. The main goal of this meeting is for the experts to familiarize themselves with their corresponding Work Packages and to gain a broad overview of SUNRISE’s current status and objectives. By the end of the meeting, the experts will have a better understanding of the project and its contribution to the well-being of Critical Infrastructures. Additionally, they will see how they can contribute to making it even more productive.

 The group’s members are as follows;

Srecko Kope – WP1

Throughout his active years of service, Srecko Krope has been employed in various positions within the police force. He has served as the commander of the Celje police station, the director of the Slovenj Gradec Police Directorate, and the commander of the Slovenian Police Special Anti-Terrorist Unit. His responsibilities encompassed areas such as police powers, the use of force, handling complaints, internal police protection, and the protection of human rights. Among other duties, he has also served as an advisor to the Minister of the Interior and the Government of the Republic of Slovenia.

Habtamu Abie – WP1

Habtamu Abie (PhD), is chief research scientist and digital security area leader at the Norwegian Computing Center (Norsk Regnesentral – NRS). He has many years of experience in computing, both as practitioner and researcher, including many years’ experience in building large consortia and leading technical R&D work, both in industry-driven and multinational projects. He has a solid and extensive background in the design and development of security in critical systems in complex environments. His current research interests include adaptive security, adaptive AI for security, critical infrastructure protection and resilience, cybersecurity amongst many other areas.

Bhakti Dogra – WP2 

Bhakti Dogra works as a consultant for the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure in New Delhi, India. Her responsibilities include program management and conducting technical studies on critical infrastructure resilience at national and global levels. Prior to this role, she held research positions at Swiss Re (Public Sector Solutions), NITI Aayog, Invest India, and India Infrastructure Publishing. Bhakti holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Economics from Jamia Millia Islamia University and Delhi University, respectively. Her interests include critical infrastructure resilience, power systems disaster resilience, energy, resource, and environmental economics, and development economics. Over the past three years, she has focused on data analysis, report writing, and literature reviews.

Jelena Levak – WP3

Mrs. Jelena Levak is an External Lecturer within the Professional Graduate Study Program in Crisis Management at the University of Applied Sciences Velika Gorica. She is also the owner of SITNA SLOVA Consultancy and a security expert specializing in the UAV and C-UAV industry. A former Croatian Chief Police Inspector and Justice and Home Affairs counsellor in Brussels, she has a broad background in policing, security, and data protection. She was involved in strategic matters within various Working Groups of the Council of the EU and contributed to drafting legislative and non-legislative acts, focusing on, among other topics, civil protection, critical infrastructure protection, rescEU, and related areas. She holds an MA in Criminalistics from the Police Academy in Zagreb and is currently completing postgraduate studies in Criminal Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb. Jelena is certified in Project Management, a certified Scrum Master, and a member of several Advisory Boards in security, CIP and CIR EU projects.

Daniel Slamanig – WP4

Daniel Slamanig is a Full Professor at the DepartmeNt of Computer Science at the Universität der Bundeswehr München. He has been a member of the CODE research institute since 2023, where he heads the Quantum Safe & Advanced Cryptography (QuSAC) Lab. His research interests include various topics in the field of foundations and applications of cryptography. Prior to his appointment at the Universität der Bundeswehr München, Prof. Slamanig worked as a Scientist and then Senior Scientist in the crytography research group of the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria’s largest non-university research institute. Prof. Slamanig’s contribution to the international research community is reflected in numerous top-tier publications as well as regular invitations to program committees in top-tier conferences.

Karel Neuwirt – WP4

Dr. Karel Neuwirt studied mathematics and informatics at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Palacký-University, Olomouc, the Czech Republic. He is former Data Protection Commissioner of the Czech Republic. For many years he has devoted himself to the protection of personal data in the environment of new information technologies.In 2002 he was appointed the Vice-President of the Project Group on Data Protection (CJ-PD), the highest Council of Europe´s body for personal data protection and later he was elected for the Council of Europe Data Protection Commissioner (2007). Since 2006 he worked as the team leader of the EU CARDS project on personal data protection in the North Macedonia. Currently, he works as an independent consultant for personal data protection provided training and analysis of compliance with the EU data protection legislation (GDPR) for both public and private institutions.

Gonzalo Jiménez Espinosa – WP5

Gonzalo Jiménez Espinosa is the Director of Sustainability and Transformation of the Environmental Company for the Integrated Water Cycle, Hidralia. He is passionate for public service and sustainability and previously worked Managing Director of the water company Aguasvira in the metropolitan area of Granada and Director of Sustainability and Digitalization of Emasagra, at Municipal Water Company of Granada. He has also collaborated with the OECD within the project on the Economics and Governance of the Circular Economy in Cities, representing the city of Granada and as a peer-reviewer for the City of Umeå and has experience in the implementation of the ISO 22301 standard for Business Continuity Management in companies of the Integrated Water Cycle.

Aida Omerovic – WP6

Dr. Aida Omerovic is a researcher, leader and practitioner with expertise in technology architectures, security risk management. She has over 20 years track record from public and private sectors in Europe.Aida works closely with technology-driven organizations across Europe, from critical domains (energy, communication, transport, finance and media), on enabling their strategic and future-proof digital innovation. Aida is research manager for cyber security at SINTEF and associate professor in software engineering (MSc&PhD – level) at NTNU. Her previous positions include: founder, CEO, consultant, senior scientist and research director. She serves in several boards of directors as well as international public posts which foster collaborations between professional and research communities. Aida holds an MSc in Engineering Cybernetics from NTNU, and a PhD in Computer Science from University of Oslo.

Goran Polonji – WP6

Goran Polonji is an information security consultant and cybersecurity auditor in Utilis Ltd. For the last twenty years he has worked with financial institutions and industry in improving information security posture and fulfilling regulatory compliance. Goran is a member of Cyber Conflict Simulator development team as a domain expert. He is continuously trying to build understanding between business and technology experts about cybersecurity and to bridge the gap between administrative and technical cybersecurity controls.

Khalimatou Samirah – WP8

Khalimatou Samirah is a Cybersecurity Certification Officer within the Cybersecurity Team in Business Excellence at NSAI. She is a certified ISO 27001 Lead Auditor and has been leading projects on Digital Transformation and Cybersecurity under the new strategy at the National Standards Authority of Ireland.