Kristján LeóssonMr Kristján Leósson

Kristján Leósson is the managing director of the Department of Materials, Biotechnology and Energy at Innovation Center Iceland.

In 2001, Kristján received his Ph.D. degree from the Technical University of Denmark and has since worked within academia, in industrial research and with startup companies, in the fields of nanotechnology, telecommunications, biotechnology, chemical analysis and renewable energy.

Kristján was the chairman of the Intellectual Property Committee of the University of Iceland and the University Hospital in the period 2010-2014.

Hilmar BragiMr Hilmar Bragi Janusson

For 20 years Dr. Hilmar Bragi Janusson was a leading figure in research and development at Össur,  one of the most progressive company in Iceland and one of the two largest companies in the field of prosthetics in the world. At Össur Hilmar Bragi served as a Managing Director of Product Development and Research. He holds a PhD degree in engineering and chemical sciences.

Hilmar Bragi has cooperated with world’s most prestigious science- and higher education institutes and has received many awards for his contribution. Hilmar Bragi holds a number of patents.

In 2012 Hilmar Bragi was appointed the Dean of the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences at the University of Iceland. He still holds that position.

Halla TómasdóttirMs Halla Tómasdóttir

Halla Tomasdottir is founder & CEO of Sisters Capital. Halla is an experienced entrepreneur, business leader, board director and investor on a quest to catalyze better balance in business and finance. She knows that extraordinary businesses are built and developed by diverse teams of people motivated by a meaningful mission. Halla started her career in the USA, first with Mars Inc. and later she joined Pepsi Cola’s HR team. She was on the founding team of Reykjavik University and the first female CEO of the Iceland Chamber of Commerce. She co-founded Audur Capital, a female founded investment and private equity company in 2007 and has been recognized widely for her leadership in empowering women. Halla has been a board director for companies ranging from start-ups to leading businesses and not-for-profits and is a popular public speaker who has spoken at international venues including TED, the Clinton Global Initiative and Women in the World.

Ragnhildur ArnljótsdóttirMs Ragnhildur Arnljótsdóttir

Ragnhildur has been the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister‘s Office since 2009 and a member of numerous governing and international committees. She received her law degree at the University of Iceland in 1991 and has since pursued her studies in the field of European law, leadership, public management and administrations, health and human rights and in the field of social security and social services.

Previously Ragnhildur was a lawyer at the Parliament, Head of Division and Director General at the Ministry of Health and Social Security, Counselor in The Icelandic Mission to EU in Brussels and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs from 2004.

Among other things Ragnhildur worked as a news reporter and a producer at the Icelandic State Broadcasting Service – RUV- and a Director and a chariman of The Icelandic Lawyers Association.

Jón Atli Mr Jón Atli Benediktsson

Jón Atli Benediktsson is the Rector of the University of Iceland. He served as Pro-Rector for Science and Academic Affairs at University of Iceland, 2009-2015. He has been Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Iceland since 1991 and has been a Visiting Professor of the University of Trento, Italy since 2001. His research interests are in remote sensing, biomedical analysis of signals, pattern recognition, digital image processing, and signal processing, and he has published extensively in those fields. Prof. Benediktsson was the 2011-2012 President of the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS) and the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing (TGRS) from 2003 to 2008. Prof. Benediktsson is a co-founder of the biomedical start up company Oxymap ( and has served on numerous boards. He has received many professional awards and is a Fellow of both IEEE and SPIE.

Dr. Benediktsson received the Cand.Sci. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Iceland, Reykjavik, in 1984, and the M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, U.S.A., in 1987 and 1990, respectively.

Guðfinna S. BjarnadóttirMs Guðfinna S. Bjarnadóttir

Dr. Bjarnadóttir completed her PhD in behavioural psychology from West Virgina University in 1991, with emphasis on Performance Management. Subsequently she established LEAD Consulting in the United States and consulted with large companies on leadership, strategic planning, implementation of plans and systems inverventions. In 1998 she became the founding rector/president of Reykjavík University in Iceland. In 2007 she was elected as MP to Althingi, the Icelandic Parliament. Dr. Bjarnadottir reestablised LEAD Consulting in Iceland in 2009 and is curently the CEO.

Dr. Bjarnadóttir has served on various boards and committees and is currently a member of the board at Reykjavík University and the Chair of the board of Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre. She has received various recognition for her work including the Alumni Recognition Award, presented by the Eberly College of A&S at West Virginia University in 2009 and the Order of the Icelandic Falcon by the president of Iceland. She was elected the person of the year in Icelandic business in 2004 and the woman of the year in Iceland in 1998.

Ragnhildur HjaltadóttirMs Ragnhildur Hjaltadóttir

Ragnhildur Hjaltadóttir is Permanent Secretary of the  Ministry of the Interior. She received a law degree from the University of Iceland in 1979 and pursued graduate studies in international law at the Institut Internationale de Hautes Études in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1981, with special emphasis on human rights.

She has held a number of leadership positions, including serving on the boards of the law students’ association Orator, the environmental association Líf og land, and the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association. She served as chair of Friends of the University of Iceland from 1996-2004.

Ms. Hjaltadóttir was employed by the Icelandic Ministry of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs in 1982 and began working for the Ministry of Transport and Communications in 1983. From the year 2003 she has been Permanent Secretary of that ministry, which became the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Local Government on 1 October 2009. Permanent Secretary of the  Ministry of the Interior from 1 January 2011.

Ragnhildur Hjaltadóttir has broad-based experience in the new Ministry of the Interior’s fields of emphasis. In recent years she has also directed the reorganisation of the ministry and its institutions within the governmental system.

Ari JónssonMr Ari Jónsson

Dr. Ari Jónsson is the president of Reykjavik University a private non-profit university in Iceland that focuses on education, research and industry collaboration in the field of technology, business and law. The university is the largest technology and business university in Iceland.

Dr. Jónsson completed a doctoral degree in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1997, with focus on artificial intelligence and autonomous decision making. He then joined NASA Ames Research Center as a research scientist, working on the development of automated technology to improve the efficiency and reliability of spacecraft operations. During his tenure at NASA, he contributed to a number of missions and projects, including the Deep Space One experimental spacecraft, the Mars exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity, as well as the operations of the International Space Station.

In 2007, Dr. Jónsson moved to Reykjavik University as the Dean of the School of Computer Science. In January 2010, he became the President of the university and has served in that role since then.

Dr. Jónsson is also active in policy development and has served for six years on the Icelandic Science and Technology Policy Council, which is chaired by the Prime Minister. Dr. Jónsson also contributes to the innovation and entrepreneurship environment in Iceland. He is the Chairman of the Board for two startup companies and serves on the board of a couple of other companies as well.

Dóra ÍsleifsdóttirMs Dóra Ísleifsdóttir

Dóra Ísleifsdóttir is Professor of Visual communication at Iceland Academy of the Arts since 2012, design teacher since 1999, and programme director for Visual Communication 2006–2012. In 2013 she became programme director for MA Design where students are invited to participate in re-designing design itself (metadesign), as well as their own professional role, in order to meet immediate and future challenges of the 21st century.

Dóra’s research interests span the spectrum of communication design with a focus on editorial design and editorship with special concern for type, media and politics; and increasingly on the enhancement of design’s potential through a design thinking/metadesign approach in the context of transdisciplinary collaboration. She teaches on the BA level in Visual Communication at Iceland Academy of the Arts, and on the MA level in Design. In University of Iceland, she teaches Print design to MA students of Practical editorship and theory of publishing, where she also received her MA degree.

Dóra herself practices at the intersection of design, design management, and art. She works as an artist, designer, consultant, and teacher, participating in diverse forms of collaborative efforts: She was IAA’s project manager for The House of Ideas (Hugmyndahús Háskólanna) 2009–2011; a founding member of Alda, Association for Sustainability and Democracy 2010–2012; participated in the Ether project, a Nordic art and design collaboration, which included theatre, installation, and book publishing; she was a founding member of the artist group the Icelandic Love Corporation 1996–2001, whose works during the period include countless performances and installations in various museums, public spaces, and galleries both in Iceland and abroad; she was owner and curator at Under a Couple, art showroom; Creative director at Gott folk McCann-Erickson Iceland; owner and creative director of Fastland advertising agency; editor of Mæna, a magazine about Visual Communication in Iceland from 2009–2013 and is currently on Mæna’s editorial board; on the advisory board of Message, a visual communication research journal; she also dabbles in writing lyrics and such for the bands Geislar, and Belafonte.