Our Team

Click on any of our core team's biographies below to find out more about them. CELL also works with external researchers and scholars who lend their expertise to the foundation. To find out more about the Maastricht working group, follow this link.

Jo Ritzen

Chairperson and Founder | jritzen@cell.foundation

Jo Ritzen is a Professorial Fellow in the International Economics of Science, Technology and Higher Education at UNU-MERIT and the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance; and chair of "Empower European Universities." From 2003–2011 he was President of Maastricht University.

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Atif Rizvi

Executive Director and Founder | arizvi@cell.foundation

Atif Rizvi has worked for over two decades in strategic planning in tertiary education and institution building. He was educated at Harvard University and worked as a Senior Researcher in Education at the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID). At HIID, he was also the Assistant Editor of The Forum, a joint Harvard-USAID publication dedicated to advancing basic education and literacy.

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Deputy Director and Founder | abonfiglio@cell.foundation

Ayla Bonfiglio is a Doctoral Fellow at UNU-MERIT examining refugees in higher education. Over the course of her PhD, she has held Visiting/Associate Researcher positions at the International Migration Institute (IMI) at the University of Oxford, the African Centre for Migration and Society at Wits University, the African Migration and Development Policy Centre in Nairobi, and Makerere University.Formerly, Ayla was a Research Officer at IMI working on the Mobility in the African Great Lakes project and the Global Migration Futures project.

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Principal, Research | nillesen@merit.unu.edu

Eleonora Nillesen is Research Fellow at UNU-MERIT. She holds a PhD in Development Economics from Wageningen University. Her research interests include the impact of conflict on socio-economic indicators and institutional change, with a focus on Sub-Sahara Africa. She is involved in research projects in Liberia, DR Congo, and Kyrgyzstan, assessing the effectiveness of development interventions through field experiments.

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James H. Williams

Principal, North America | jhwilliams@cell.foundation

James H. Williams is a Researcher and Teacher in the field of International Education and Development. A graduate of Harvard University, James holds the UNESCO Chair in International Education for Development at The George Washington University. He directs the PhD Program in Education at The George Washington University, and the cross-disciplinary research team on Education and Inequality: Access and Identity. Dr. Williams has extensive international experience in East and Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Advisor, Neuroscience | mbeen@cell.foundation

Marin Been is a cognitive neuroscientist and an academic adviser at Maastricht University, faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience. Trained as a psychologist with a Master’s degree in both Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, she holds a PhD in Visual Neuroscience and wrote her dissertation on the neural correlates of learning induced plasticity in the visual cortex.

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Information and Outreach | brooijackers@cell.foundation

Bram Rooijackers is a researcher in the field of Science and Technology Studies and Public Health Policy and teacher of qualitative research methodology. He is a graduate from Maastricht University, where he has done research on problems related to labor participation, chronic illness and risk management in healthcare. At CELL, he is chiefly responsible for directing the information architecture and the technological backend to facilitate operations.

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