Panel for plenary session on addressing research and innovation in times of crises


Dr Peter Singer

Dr Peter Singer is Special Advisor to the Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization. He supports the Director General to transform WHO into an organization sharply focused on impact at the country level. Dr Singer co-chaired the transition team; was the architect of WHO’s strategy and its “triple billion” target; supports colleagues to guide consistent strategy implementation of WHO’s programme budget, results framework, delivery stock-takes, investment case, and innovation strategy; and provides leadership to the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Wellbeing to strengthen collaboration among 13 multilateral agencies to accelerate the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. Before joining WHO, Dr. Peter Singer co-founded two innovative, results-driven, social impact organizations. From 2008-2018 Singer was Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada. During this period Grand Challenges Canada raised CAN $450M to support 1000 innovations in more than 90 countries, which have the potential to save 450,000-1.6 million lives and improve 11-35 million lives by 2030. From 1996-2006 he was Sun Life Financial Chair and Director of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics. He is also Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto.


Professor Maureen McKelvey

Professor Maureen McKelvey is Head of the Unit for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Gothenburg and Director of the Gothenburg network for Knowledge-intensive Innovative Ecosystems. An underlying theoretical proposition in her research stems from an evolutionary and Schumpeterian paradigm that innovation and entrepreneurship are closely related to processes of creating, accessing, and diffusing knowledge and opportunities. Her work on knowledge-intensive entrepreneurship has been applied to R&D-based industries like pharmaceuticals as well as renewing areas like food and engineering. She publishes in journals such as Small Business Economics, Research Policy and Applied Economics as well as books with Routledge, Oxford, Cambridge, and Edward Elgar. Professor McKelvey has held high-level positions in expert groups and written reports, for Nordic organizations like Vinnova and the Norwegian Research Council as well as for the OECD and EU. Professor McKelvey has – together with a great team across Europe – been running the Workshops on Medical Innovation, or WOMI. The 9th Annual Conference will be held in Gothenburg in December 2021. Together with Fiona Miller, Bastian Rake and Magnus Gulbrandsen, she has just launched a call for a Special Issue on these topics at the journal Innovation: Organization and Management.


Her research and results aim to greatly impact the transformation of society through knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship by opening up new scientific breakthroughs; building upon extreme methodologies recently developing in social science research, and pioneering new approaches into the unknown.


Dr. Vasee Moorthy

Dr. Vasee Moorthy is an experienced Cross-cutting Development Lead at WHO with a demonstrated history of working in the international affairs sector as a strategic thinker. Skilled in Vaccines, Global Health, Product Development, Human Immunology, and Clinical Research. World-leading science-to-policy professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) focused in Malaria Immunology from University of Oxford. Qualified as a physician (BMBCh) from the University of Oxford and with a first class honours degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge. He co-leads WHO’s R&D Blueprint for Action to Prevent Epidemics, and is a member of the Global Futures Council Biotechnology, World Economic Forum, and the CEPI Scientific Advisory Committee.