ECN Steering Committee

The PEN Early Careers Network is governed by a Steering Committee of early career researchers and practitioners from around Europe.

Who are we?

Liam Kelly, Chair
University of Limerick (UL), Limerick, Ireland

Liam Kelly is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Limerick in the area of Physical Activity and Health Policy. Prior to this position, Liam completed his post-graduate studies as part of the ‘Men on the Move’ programme at the Institute of Technology Carlow. His research focused on investigating the effects of a community-based physical activity programme, ‘Men on the Move’, targeted at men who did not meet physical activity guidelines and were likely to be ‘at-risk’ of cardiovascular disease. His research interests include health promotion and chronic disease prevention in men (including physical activity interventions), community capacity building and engaging ‘hard to reach’ men.

Liam is part of the PEN WP1 team which aims to provide an overview of public policies with direct/indirect potential influence on physical activity policy environments, and develop the first prototype of the Physical Activity Environment Policy Index (PA-EPI).

Liam Kelly
Liam KellyChair

Alexia Sawyer, Vice chair & Secretary
Amsterdam University Medical Center, (AmsterdamUMC), Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Alexia is a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Public and Occupational Health at Amsterdam University Medical Centres. Her research focuses on issues of equity and diversity in diet and physical activity policies, often examining these issues through a complex systems lens. Before joining Amsterdam UMC, Alexia completed her PhD at University College London between the Department of Behavioural Sciences & Health and the Bartlett Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering.

In PEN WP5, Alexia works on recommendations for considering equity in policy development and original research examining the complex adaptive system of determinants driving inequalities in diet and physical activity.

Alexia Sawyer
Alexia SawyerVice chair & Secretary

Beatrice Biondi, Communication delegate
University of Bologna (UNIBO), Bologna, Italy

Beatrice is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Statistical Sciences at the University of Bologna. She got her PhD title in Food Economics and Policy from the same University in 2019, with a thesis on methodological aspects of consumer discrete choice models.

Beatrice is involved in PEN WP3, dealing with the methodological aspects of policy impact evaluation. She is involved in the assessment of the methods underlying assumptions, the ideal conditions required to identify the policy effect, and the data requirements in relation to the actual data availability and quality. More specifically, her contribution focus on ex-post quantitative methods for impact evaluation of public policies targeting diet. She will also contribute to the evaluation of a sugar tax as a case study in WP6.

Beatrice Biondi
Beatrice BiondiCommunication delegate

Isobel Stanley, WP2 representative
University College Dublin (UCD-PH), Dublin, Ireland

Isobel is a research assistant on the PEN project based in University College Dublin. She completed her MSc in Nutrition for Global Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, her thesis focused on the determinants of anaemia in pre-school children in Southern Mali. Since then, she has worked for the National Nutrition Surveillance Centre on national and international projects such as the WHO Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative and an audit of a ‘Healthier Vending’ policy in Irish hospitals.

For PEN WP2, Isobel contributed to the collation of the list of key policy indicators and led on the development and design of a catalogue documenting where the key indicators are measured in existing monitoring systems for key stakeholder use.

For any information about Journal Club, contact Isobel at

Isobel Stanley
Isobel StanleyWP2 representative

Biljana Meshkovska, WP6 representative
University of Oslo, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences (UiO-PHN), Oslo, Norway

Biljana is a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Nutrition, Olso University. Her background is in migration, human trafficking, sex work and recovery and (re) integration processes of trafficked persons. Her particular focus has been on women who have been trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation in Europe. Through her research she has looked at issues such as the influence of criminal trials against traffickers on the (re) integration processes of survivors, as well as the stigmatisation of sex work, sex workers and trafficked persons. 

She is currently working on an impact and implementation evaluation of the EU School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme, as part of WP6.

For any information about the mentoring programme, contact Biljana at

Biljana Meshkovska
Biljana MeshkovskaWP6 representative

Daniel Scheller, WP4 representative
University of Ulm, Division of Sport and Rehabilitation Medicine (UUlm), Ulm, Germany

Daniel is an associate researcher at the University Hospital Ulm, Germany. He finished basic sports studies at Technical University of Munich (BSc.) and specialised in clinical sports therapy/exercise physiology at Justus-Liebig-University, Gießen, Germany (MSc. 2019). His research interests lie in the area of prevention and health promotion for children and youth with focus on increasing physical activity.

Daniel pursues a practice-oriented activity in PEN: the evaluation of implementation processes of health policies (WP4), with focus on policies aiming at the promotion of PA and healthy nutrition in kindergarten and primary school settings (WP6).

Daniel Scheller
Daniel Scheller WP4 representative

Karl Emmert-Fees, WP3 representative
Helmholtz Zentrum München (T-HMGU), Munich, Germany

Karl is a researcher at the Associate Professorship for Public Health and Prevention at the Technical University of Munich since March 2021. In parallel, he is a PhD student in the research group “Economics and Management of Diabetes” at the Institute for Health Economics and Health Care Management at the Helmholtz Zentrum München. Since 2019 he is enrolled in the PhD program “Medical Research in Epidemiology and Public Health” offered by the Munich Medical Research School at LMU Munich.

His PhD thesis is about the use of simulation modeling for the economic evaluation of dietary policies, which he applies within in WP3 of the PEN project.

Karl Emmert-Fees
Karl Emmert-Fees WP3 representative
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