Francesca Bria


by Sabine Vielmo

Francesca Bria is the programme director of the "The New Hanse". She is one of Europe’s leading digital policy experts, is an innovation economist, working at the intersection of technology, geopolitics, economics, and society. Before taking on her current role as President of the Italian National Innovation Fund, she was Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of the City of Barcelona and advisor on Future Internet and Innovation Policy to the European Commission. She also led big European Research and Innovation projects such as the DECODE-project, an effort to reclaim citizens’ data sovereignty, or D-CENT, a Europe-wide project on digital democracy and economic empowerment based at Nesta. Due to her expertise, Francesca Bria is Honorary Professor at the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at the University College London (UCL), where she teaches on digital sovereignty and people-centred smart cities, and Senior Advisor on Digital Cities and Digital Rights to the UN. In 2018, Forbes Magazine voted her amongst Europe’s Top 50 Women in Tech.

What gives you hope?

The environmental movement organised by young people. It should be strongly with more awareness related to democratic tech and digital sovereignty.

How does change happen?

Change is about organising collective action and re-imagining future possibilities.

What is the best advice you ever got?

Be ready to recognise people that you meet and can change the direction of your life.


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