Kirsten heads the organisation leading the implementation of the European Union’s Mission on Climate Neutral and Smart Cities as the Chief Executive Officer at EIT Climate-KIC, Europe’s foremost climate innovation initiative.
Founded in 2009, EIT Climate-KIC is part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. It orchestrates innovation in 39 countries globally including in sub-Saharan Africa, South America, South-East Asia through a community of more than 400 organisations comprised of research institutes and universities, SMEs and start-ups, municipal, regional and national governments, corporates, and nongovernmental organisations. EIT Climate-KIC has accelerated 4500 climate positive start-ups, including half of the Forbes 30 under 30 for many years, trained over 50,000 leaders on climate innovation and entrepreneurship and leveraged €4.5bn for climate innovation. Innovation projects have resulted in an estimated 13MT CO2eq of avoided emissions annually over the last ten years.
Kirsten’s career spans consulting, banking, insurance, strategy, design, innovation and leadership and academia. Prior to roles in Second Road, KPMG and Suncorp in Australia, Kirsten worked in the UK and Italy for 15 years in financial services, consulting and academia, including leadership of Generali Group Innovation Academy for Assicurazioni Generali, pioneering work in strategic risk management and strategic innovation. She is a member of the AIT Strategic Research Advisory Board, EJP Soil Advisory Board, EAT Foundation Advisory Board, High Level Missions Advisory Board for the Innovation Fund Denmark, UK Government EEIST Senior Oversight Group and is a Director of Responsible.us. She is one of 16 experts at the European Commission Economic and Societal Impact of Research and Innovation (ESIR) expert group, providing independent advice on how future EU research and innovation policy can best support sustainable development and the European Commission’s priorities.