We have a new Commissioner (H/T ScienceInsider) for Research, Science and Innovation at the European Commission. (There are separate Commissioners for climate change and energy and for the environment and marine affairs.) Carlos Moedas, currently the secretary of state to the Portuguese Prime Minister, will take over the research portfolio from Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. Incoming Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker outlined his expectations for the portfolio in a letter to Moedas. The Commissioner-designate will have responsibility over the Horizon 2020 research programme as well as the following elements of Commission agencies:
- Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (RTD)
- The relevant parts of the European Research Council executive agency (ERCEA)
- The relevant parts of the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME)
- The relevant parts of the Innovation and Networks executive agency (INEA)
- The relevant parts of the Research Executive Agency (REA)
(The European Parliament must approve the full slate of Commissioners, and is expected to vote on them later this year.)
Moedas was in investment banking prior to his government service in Portugal. But his education was in civil engineering, and he worked for five years after school for a French engineering concern. That was almost 20 years ago. His relatively lack of experience in research is consistent with his predecessors in the position.
Also worth noting in the slate of designated Commissioners is that the Commission will be reorganized, with an eye toward encouraging more teamwork amongst the Commissioners.