Francesca Bria is the President of the Italian National Innovation Fund and a Board Member of the Italian public broadcast company RAI. She is Honorary Professor in the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at UCL in London and she is part of the High-level Roundtable for the New European Bauhaus set up by the EC President Ursula von der Leyen.
She is the former Chief Digital Technology and Innovation Officer for the City of Barcelona in Spain. In this role, she was leading the smart city Agenda and she was one of the founders of the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights, a UN-backed platform to promote sustainable digitization and urban digital transformation that works for the benefit of all. She has served as Senior Adviser to the United Nation (UN-Habitat) on digital cities and digital rights, launching the People-focused smart cities programme at the World Urban Forum convened in Abu Dhabi that promotes the deployment of technological innovations to realize sustainability, inclusivity, and human rights. Francesca Bria is leading the DECODE project on data sovereignty in Europe, is a member of the European Commission high level expert group Economic and Societal Impact of Research and Innovation (ESIR), and a Senior Adviser on the EC programme STARTS (Innovation at the nexus of Science, Technology and the Arts).
Francesca has a PhD in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Imperial College, London and MSc on Digital Economy from University of London, Birbeck. As Senior Programme Lead at Nesta, the UK Innovation Agency, she has led the EU D-CENT project, the biggest European Project on digital democracy platforms and digital currencies. She also led the DSI4EU project, advising the EU on digital social innovation policies and mission-driven innovation. She has been teaching in several universities in the UK and Italy and she has advised Governments, public and private organizations on technology and innovation policy, and its socio-economic and environmental impact.
Francesca has been nominated Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. She is in Politico annual ranking of the 28 power players behind Europe’s tech revolution, and she is also Culture Persons of the Year 2020 according to the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). She has been listed in the top 50 Women in Tech by Forbes Magazine, and in the World's top 20 most influential people in digital government by Apolitical. She has also been featured in the Italian Magazine Repubblica "D", amongst the 100 Women Changing the World.