Europe’s influential science-policy chief on his successes and disappointments
Robert-Jan Smits, the European Union’s departing director-general of research, sets out his parting thoughts.
I am sorry that I couldn’t find a way to get all member states to invest more in science.
I also regret not having been able to embed science and innovation in EU agricultural policy, which is very conservative and hard to penetrate.
…we plan a European Innovation Council to support highly innovative companies, particularly start-ups.
I managed to persuade Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, to classify R&D as investment rather than expenditure. This was a small but important psychological breakthrough that helped change mindsets.