2023-2024 ECCRI Fellows

Alžběta Bajerová is a threat analyst at NATO HQ’s Cyber Threat Analysis Branch, where she provides advisory to NATO’s leadership on cyber-enabled threats. She focuses on topics of cyber defence, state-sponsored cyber activities and cyber-enabled influence, including as a Research Fellow at the Association for International Affairs in Prague. She has over five years of experience working in the public sector on defence-related issues, including at NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency, and the Embassy of the Czech Republic in China. Alžběta is a co-founder Zvol Si Info, an award-winning non-governmental organization that fights disinformation through media literacy education. Previously, Alžběta worked as a journalist covering international politics and continues to occasionally contribute to the media. Alžběta holds a MA degree in Security Studies from Masaryk University, where she also gained a BA in both International Relations and Security Studies.

Nils Brinker is a researcher at the Digital Society Institute (DSI) at the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT Berlin). His current research focuses on systematizing cybersecurity law to strengthen operational cyber resilience through more coherent and effective regulation. Before joining the DSI, he worked as a data protection specialist in the private insurance sector. He holds a B.Sc. in Business Information Systems from the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW Stuttgart), and a B.Sc. in Economics and Law from the University of Münster. He has a strong interest in interdisciplinary research and debate, working towards more effective governance through improved mutual understanding.

Cat (Catherine) Easdon is a researcher and security engineer at Dynatrace in Austria, where she focuses on privacy engineering, translating law and policy into code to protect users. Cat’s background is in research at the intersection of privacy and security. Previously, she worked on CPU attacks and mitigations at Graz University of Technology, investigating how hardware implementation details lead to timing or power consumption differences that leak sensitive data within software. Her current research in her early career fellowship at the Internet Society explores cultural differences in user’s privacy needs and how software can best meet these (sometimes conflicting) needs. She holds an MEng in Computer Science from Bristol University, where she specialised in security and computer architecture.

Amy Ertan is a Cyber and Hybrid Policy Officer at NATO Headquarters where she supports the development of cyber policies and initiatives across the Alliance. Amy holds a PhD in Information Security from Royal Holloway University of London, where her doctoral research focused on the security implications of artificial intelligence in military contexts. Her broader research interests in cyber strategy and emerging security challenges have led to publications on topics including national cyber capabilities, military exercising, offensive cyber and cyber risk management. Previously, Amy was a Cyber Strategy Researcher at the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence and a Cybersecurity Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She is a former Co-Lead for the Offensive Cyber Working Group, an academic-led initiative bringing together diverse academic experts together to discuss and research offensive cyber themes. Amy has worked in private sector roles in cyber intelligence, cyber exercise design, and human factors cybersecurity research. She holds a Bachelor’s in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford and holds CISSP and CRTIA (threat intelligence) qualifications. 

Aideen Fay is a Senior Security Software Engineer on the Microsoft Threat Hunting team. Aideen leads the team’s investments into tooling and automation, enabling effective hunting for adversaries across Microsoft’s rapidly growing cloud estate. This involves developing statistical techniques, machine learning models, and advanced visualizations that can detect subtle signs of adversary activity in over 100 petabytes of data every day. Aideen is passionate about systems thinking and using data science and mathematics to help humans understand and model complex system behaviour. She is also a climate change activist and volunteers as an AI for Good Engineer with FruitPunch AI on various climate change and conservation projects. For example, she previously assisted researchers in adopting modern machine learning tools to develop a facial recognition model that monitors seal populations. Currently, she is working to optimize and deploy an audio recognition model on edge devices across several of Africa’s nature reserves to detect elephant poaching.

Jacopo Franceschini is a Ph.D. Candidate at the International Relations Department of Kadir Has University (Istanbul), focusing on cybersecurity and cyber healthcare policy and regulation in Turkey and the Mediterranean region. Differences and commonalities among strategies, approaches, and legislation in cybersecurity in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries are his main areas of expertise and interest. Jacopo has worked as a researcher on security matters in several think tanks between Belgium and Turkey, such as European Neighbourhood Council (Brussels), Friedrich Naumann Foundation, and Istanbul Policy Center. He holds a Master’s in Law from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Milan) and a Specializing Master’s in Middle Eastern Studies at ASERI (Graduate School of Economics and International Relations of Milan).

Elena Kaiser is the Legal and Policy Advisor of the Luxembourg National Cybersecurity Agency and she is, as such, an expert in the field of cybersecurity and data protection. Combining her personal interests with this expertise, she is also successfully managing several cybersecurity capacity building and gender inclusion projects. Since January 2022, she is part of the Luxembourg delegation for the negotiation of the new UN convention on cybercrime and also represents Luxembourg in various other international and European conferences on topics related to cybersecurity and Internet Governance. Elena holds a Ph.D. in Public, International and European Law at the University of Milan, carrying out a research on the need to protect the right to privacy with regard to the development of new technologies, in particular surveillance measures by governments. Elena is also a qualified attorney in law, specialising in criminal law, fundamental rights protection and technology related regulations. Elena is fluent in English, German, French and Italian. 

Mamuka Kirkitadze is a Digital Manager at the London-based communications agency Zinc Network. Among other things, he’s responsible for conducting research using Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) on various topics. He also occupies the position of Policy Analyst at the Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research on part-time bases. In this role, he focuses on researching the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in cybersecurity. Currently, Mamuka represents the ECCRI at the Community of Democracies (CoD) Working Group on Democracy and Technology (WGD&T). Mamuka holds a MA in international relations from Ilia State University and is an alumnus of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS) National Security and Public Policy training program. His main interests include researching state-sponsored cyber attacks coming from Russia and China as well as using offensive cyber operations during kinetic warfare. He has published and co-authored several peer-reviewed articles and expert opinion papers on state-sponsored cyber operations.

Ingunn Helene Landsend Monsen is a Scientific Researcher at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment where she works with analyzing technological trends and the implications these may have for future military operations. She holds an IntM in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies awarded by a consortium of three universities under the Erasmus Mundus umbrella; Glasgow University, Dublin City University and Charles University Prague. During her master’s degree, she pursued a specialization in Security and Technology, with emphasis put on inter-state cyber operations. Previously, she has worked in the humanitarian and political space, and holds a BA in International Studies from the University of Oslo. Her research interests lie within the impact of new technologies on policy and interstate competition and conflict, with the major emphasis on cyber conflict within this field.

Katharine Palmer is a Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst at Security Alliance. As well as producing threat landscape analysis for a wide range of clients, she specialises in assessing the relationship between geopolitical developments and the cyber threat landscape. She has authored several research papers, including an analysis of cyber threats to African financial services for the World Bank and authoritarian state use of spyware. Her wider research interests include cyber-enabled influence operations, social media and disinformation and the impact of technology on democratic processes, as well as the history of intelligence and covert operations. She studied History and German at Durham University and holds a Master’s in Intelligence and International Security from Kings’ College London.

Lena Riecke is a PhD candidate at Leiden University’s Institute of Security and Global Affairs. Her research is situated at the intersection of law, intelligence studies, and cybersecurity. It investigates regimes for governing the market for cyber surveillance technologies (viz. spyware). Lena’s previous research projects examined the protection of civilian data during international armed conflict and the regulation of lethal autonomous weapons systems under international humanitarian law. She holds a BA in Law from the University of Cambridge as well as a LLM in Public International Law from Leiden University.

Jasmin Stadler works in Swiss law enforcement as a digital forensics specialist. Previously, she served as a cyber defence project manager in the general secretariat of the Swiss Ministry of Defence, after having started her career in Blackrock’s Financial Markets Advisory. She specialised in cybersecurity policy for her master’s degree in comparative government at the University of Oxford, and read a combination of politics, economics and data science for her undergraduate degree at UCL and Sciences Po, Paris. She is an inaugural Schwarzman Scholar, speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, German and French, and is learning Korean.

Julian-Ferdinand Vögele is a threat researcher at Recorded Future’s Insikt Group with extensive experience in malware research, threat hunting, and intelligence. Julian-Ferdinand’s focus lies on malware analysis and the development of detections for proactive identification of malicious infrastructure. Before joining Recorded Future, Julian-Ferdinand worked as an IT security consultant at Security Research Labs, where he conducted security research and engaged in red team exercises. He completed his masters in computer science at UCL in London and is a scholar of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation.

Nicolas Zahn studied political science, public law, and economics at the University of Zürich (B.A) and international affairs at the Graduate Institute Geneva and George Washington University Washington D.C. (M.A). He is a long-time member and frequent contributor for the Swiss-based think-tanks foraus and reatch and publishes regularly on various aspects of digital transformation and politics. After a Mercator fellowship on international affairs with a focus on digital transformation in the public sector he worked as an IT consultant and now works as Digital Trust Expert and Operations Manager at the Swiss Digital Initiative as well as an independent Digital Expert. In addition to lectures he also engages politically in all things cyber. He lives in Zürich.

Fellowship Leadership

Max Smeets is the Director of the European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative and a Senior Researcher at the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich. He is the author of ‘No Shortcuts: Why States Struggle to Develop a Military Cyber-​Force’(Oxford University Press & Hurst, 2022) and published widely on cyber statecraft, strategy and risk. Max was previously a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer at Stanford University CISAC and a College Lecturer at Keble College, University of Oxford. He has also held research and fellowship positions at New America, Columbia University SIPA, Sciences Po CERI, and NATO CCD COE. Before his academic career, Max worked in finance in London and Amsterdam. 

Patryk Pawlak is the fellowship co-lead. He is also a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe. His fields of expertise are global governance of cyberspace, the impact of technology on foreign and security policy, and the EU’s cyber and digital diplomacy. Pawlak previously worked for the EU Institute for Security Studies where he headed the Brussels office and coordinated all cyber and digital activities. Until December 2022, Pawlak was the project director of EU Cyber Direct, an EU-funded initiative to support the bloc’s engagement on cyber diplomacy and digital policies worldwide. In this capacity, he ideated and coordinated the European Cyber Diplomacy Dialogue with the School of Transnational Governance in Florence, bringing together senior government officials and scholars. He was also co-editor of the “Directions Blog” on cyber, digital, and tech issues.