Research Team

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Michel Bauwens

Research Director

Michel Bauwens is the founder of the Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives and works in collaboration with a global group of researchers in the exploration of peer production, governance, and property. He has co-produced the 3-hour TV documentary Technocalyps with Frank Theys, and co-edited the two-volume book on anthropology of digital society with Salvino Salvaggio. Michel is currently Primavera Research Fellow at the University of Amsterdam and external expert at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (2008, 2012).

Michel Bauwens is a member of the Board of the Union of International Associations (Brussels), advisor to Shareable magazine (San Francisco), to Zumbara Time Bank (Istanbul) and ShareLex; and scientific advisor to the "Association Les Rencontres du Mont-Blanc, Forum International des Dirigeants de l’Economie Sociale et Solidaire" (2013-). He functions as the Chair of the Technology/ICT working group, Hangwa Forum (Beijing, Sichuan), to develop economic policies for long-term resilience, including through distributed manufacturing. He writes editorials for Al Jazeera English. He is listed at #82, on the Post-Carbon Institute (En)Rich list,

Michel currently lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, has taught at Payap University and Dhurakij Pandit University's International College. He is a founding member of the Commons Strategies Group.In his first business career, Michel worked for USIA, British Petroleum, riverland Publications, Belgacom, and created two internet start-ups.

Daniel Araya

General Coordinator and Open Learning

Daniel Araya is a Research Fellow with the Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. He is also a Research Associate with the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub at the University of California, and a Research Affiliate with the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto.

His newest books include: Smart Cities as Democratic Ecologies (2014, Palgrave), Higher Education in the Global Age (with Peter Marber) (2013, Routledge), and Education in the Creative Economy (with Michael A Peters) (2010, Peter Lang). He has a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is an alumnus of Singularity University’s graduate program at the NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley.

Paul Bouchard

Research Coordinator: Enhancing Human Capabilities

Paul Bouchard holds a Ph. D. from Université de Montréal. He is (full) professor of adult education at Concordia University. His current research is in the area of networks’ role in transforming the learning transaction. Paul has helped establish remote educational environments in Mali, Tunisia and Haiti, as well as developed higher educational resources in Ecuador and Cuba. He has published widely on such notions as learner agency, connected learning, the knowledge economy and so-called "human capital", network epistemics in massive online participation, the radicalization of proprietary rights, and more generally, on public policy in adult education. He has been a collaborator for the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), and is currently engaged in program evaluation with Yorkville University (Toronto). Paul has been a member of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada's program evaluation team, as well as Quebec's Fonds de recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC). He sits on a MOOC research panel for the Université des Mines de Nantes. Paul has been president of the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education. He is currently a member of the evaluation board of the program "Apprentissages" for the Agence nationale de recherche (France).

George Dafermos

Research Coordinator: Commons-oriented Productive Capacities

George Dafermos is an Internet researcher, a copyleft activist and an internationally recognised expert on the topic of governance of the commons, peer production, open/user innovation, online communities and new organisational structures enabled by the Internet. He holds a PhD in Technology Policy and Management from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and a BBA (Hons), MA and MSc from the University of Hertfordshire, Durham and Sunderland in the UK, respectively. His doctoral dissertation, entitled ‘Governance Structures of Free/Open Source Software Development’ (Next Generation Infrastructures, 2012), is available for download from:

John Restakis

Research Coordinator: Enabling Legal and Other Institutional Frameworks to Support Open Productive Capacities

John Restakis has been a committed activist and troublemaker most of his life. He was born in Athens and grew up in Toronto where he was expelled from high school (Thistletown Collegiate Institute) for general insubordination and being a bad influence. At the age of eighteen, he started working as a community organizer in Toronto’s Riverdale area, joining the staff of the Greater Riverdale Organization, at the time Canada’s foremost direct action organization. He then moved to Chicago to continue his training as a community organizer with the Industrial Areas Foundation.

Returning to Canada he settled for a year in Quebec City where he washed dishes in a Greek restaurant and learned to speak French badly. He then went on the road for a year traveling extensively through Southeast Asia and India and became an avid student of Buddhism. He returned to Toronto and became active in the parent movement as an organizer for school reform with the School Community Relations (SCR) Department of the Toronto Board of Education. To his great surprise, he was not fired for the aggravation he caused, but he did adopt a life-long respect for the infinite adaptability of bureaucracy.

Restakis went to India to study and to teach at the Rishi Valley School established by J. Krishnamurti. He returned to Canada to work as a popular educator and trainer in adult literacy. In the early 90’s Restakis became active in the co-op movement of Ontario. The combination of the election of Mike Harris and the bleak Toronto winters finally drove Restakis westward to take up a post as the Executive Director of the BC Co-operative Association, a position he held for 15 years.

Currently he is a Research Associate for Co-operatives UK and divides his time between BC and Italy. He does consulting work on international co-op development projects and researches and teaches on co-operative economies and globalization. Restakis is a founding member of the Advisory Committee for the MA Program in Community Development at UVic. He was also the co-founder and Co-ordinator of the Bologna Summer Program for Co-operative Studies at the University of Bologna.

Restakis earned his BA at the University of Toronto with a Major degree in East Asian Studies and specialist studies in Sanskrit and Classical Greek. He holds a Masters Degree in Philosophy of Religion.

Jenny Torres

Research Coordinator: Open Technical Infrastructures

Jenny Torres has just returned to Ecuador after 5 years abroad. She received her PhD in Computer Science at the University Pierre and Marie Curie, LIP6 (Laboratoire d’Informatique de Paris 6) in France, this year, and her M.Sc in Computer Science at University Paris-Est Créteil in 2009.

Before obtaining a governmental scholarship from SENESCYT (Secretaría Nacional de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación), in Ecuador, she had finished a Master in Networking and Telecommunications Management at Army Polytechnic School (ESPE) in 2008 and got her Computer Science and Informatics Engineer degree at National Polytechnic School (EPN) in 2006.

Her research interests include security, network management, identity management, wireless networks and open infrastructures. She was invited as visiting researcher during 6 months at Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba Brazil, being part of NR2 and BioNet research teams. She collaborated in EPN’s ICT Department in the implementation of a security architecture as well as the network configuration and administration.

Janice Figueiredo

Research Coordinator: Physical Infrastructures of Collective Life

Brazilian citizen, with a B.Sc. in Computer Science and a M.Sc. in Strategy and Marketing, she has worked for more than 20 years at the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). From 1997 until 2009 she was in charge of the IT activities of the Office in Europe (based in Paris), developing and managing IT projects and their budgets. Before that, she was IT Project Manager at the headquarters of the IADB, in Washington, DC, USA. In this capacity, she led the development of institution-wise IT projects, coordinated the technical support to about 500 users in a multi-cultural environment and audited several Latin-American Country Offices’ IT activities.

Since 2009 she directed her interests to researching the areas of collective intelligence, collaborative movements, P2P dynamics, the open and sharing society, social business, complementary currencies, sustainable development and poverty reduction, with particular interest in exploring alternative models to the conventional economic paradigms based in centralization and scarcity. Her 2009 Master’s thesis proposes a fair trade import/export model between Brazil and France for handicrafts made by native quilombola people (descendants of ancient slaves) who uses “capim dourado” (a plant found only in the central area of Brazil) to produce their goods.

Currently, she lives in Rio de Janeiro, where she is actively involved with several projects of dissemination of social technologies among poor communities in Brazil, many collaborative movements, as well as academic research groups about the Collaborative Economy in Brazil. She has been following post-graduate courses in the areas of Sustainable Development. She has a particular interest and passion for researching sustainable livelihoods’ possibilities that would allow people to be less – or not at all – dependent on the monetary system and yet allow people to have a decent and respectful life. She is fluent - in writing and speaking - in Portuguese, English, Spanish, French and Italian.