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The European Fee expands its function as head of analysis

Bulgaria, Mariya Gabriel, has been chosen to occupy a very powerful analysis submit of the European Fee.Credit score: Emmanuel Dunand / AFP / Getty

Bulgarian political scientist Mariya Gabriel has been named the EU's subsequent analysis commissioner – however, for the primary time within the bloc's historical past, the title of her division is not going to embody that phrase.

If appointed, Gabriel will lead the brand new Directorate Normal of the European Fee for Innovation and Youth, enlarged. The thematic division, beforehand known as Analysis and Innovation, will now oversee not solely analysis and innovation, but additionally schooling, youth and sport.

However the title change is basically superficial, observers say. Scientists shouldn’t have to concern that analysis will turn out to be much less essential within the new fee, says Christian Ehler, a member of the European Parliament from Germany, who has lengthy been concerned within the coordination of analysis insurance policies throughout the European Fee. the legislature. Gabriel will nonetheless be accountable for the subsequent main EU analysis program, Horizon Europe, making him probably the most influential figures in European science coverage. If it passes the parliamentary hearings subsequent month, it’s going to succeed the Portuguese economist Carlos Moedas, present Commissioner for Analysis and Innovation, in workplace since 2014.

The brand new President of the European Fee, Ursula von der Leyen, introduced on 10 September the appointment of Gabriel alongside 17 different commissioners in command of totally different coverage areas, in addition to eight vice-presidents. The appointments lead to a change within the construction of the fee, together with the modification of sure portfolios. The European Parliament should approve the appointees earlier than taking over their duties on 1 November.

Nice accountability

In an utility letter addressed to Gabriel, von der Leyen briefly describes the mission of the division and expressly entrusts him with the implementation of Horizon Europe, which would be the largest analysis program ever carried out by the Fee, for a complete quantity of about 100 billion euros. Analysis Council (ERC), the continent's main scientific funder. The letter additionally described the duty of selling "disruptive analysis and breakthrough improvements" by means of the European Innovation Council, a newly created department of Horizon Europe geared toward stimulating the commercialization of scientific discoveries.

As a part of his expanded portfolio, Gabriel would even be accountable for the schooling and networking of European universities – actions that beforehand fell beneath a separate Directorate-Normal for Schooling, Youth, sport and tradition. This directorate was additionally accountable for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Program, which promotes the mobility of scientists, and the Erasmus + alternate program; these initiatives will now fall beneath Gabriel.

However the accountability of the Joint Analysis Heart of the EU – a science and data service offering helpful info for the decision-making of the Fee and the Member States – should be transferred to the Commissioner for Interinstitutional Relations and to the the long run, Maroš Šefčovič, additionally vice-president. -the presidents within the new fee structure.

"Pooling sources for primary and utilized analysis, innovation, and schooling is a really believable factor to do," says Ehler. Gabriel beforehand held the place of Commissioner of the European Union for the Digital Economic system and Society, a place she had held since 2017, which made her completely suited to her new portfolio. "Armed along with her political expertise and affect within the fee, she is actually a godsend," he says.

And his expertise as a Member of the European Parliament must be helpful to him throughout his parliamentary hearings. "It is not going to come out simply and should put together in depth," stated Robert-Jan Smits, former analysis director on the former Analysis Directorate of the European Fee, who now chairs the Eindhoven College of Expertise within the Netherlands.

Smits agrees that bringing collectively innovation, schooling and youth in a broad portfolio will give him weight and visibility. "The European Space of ​​Schooling and the European Analysis Space are two sides of the identical coin," he stated.

Many universities have additionally lengthy known as for such unification, and the European College Affiliation – an umbrella group of the continent's universities – has welcomed the joint file and Gabriel's appointment.

Optimistic motion

Smits stated it was disappointing that the REB was not explicitly talked about in Gabriel's letter of appointment. However it’s reassuring that the European Innovation Council occupies an essential place, he stated. "The outgoing commissioner shall be relieved to see that his legacy shall be taken care of," he stated.

Amongst his different duties, von der Leyen selected the Dutch politician Frans Timmermans, first vice-chairman of the outgoing fee, as govt vp of the European Inexperienced Deal, an formidable plan to make carbon impartial in Europe from right here a number of a long time. .

Virginijus Sinkevičius, 28, at the moment Lithuanian Minister of Economic system and Innovation, is to turn out to be Commissioner for the Setting and Oceans. Von der Leyen has appointed Kadri Simson, former Minister of Financial Affairs and Infrastructure of Estonia, Commissioner of Power, and Stella Kyriakides of Cyprus, Commissioner for Well being.

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