Our President, Sir Jim McDonald, has written to European Commission President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, respectfully urging that the portfolio of ‘Innovation and Youth’ should reflect all three areas of the knowledge triangle: research, education and innovation.
Support for and coordination between research, innovation and education is at the heart of a knowledge-based society and is required to provide the global scientific, economic and societal leadership needed to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Thus, the change in title would provide a strong signal about the strengthening of Europe’s global leadership, and about our ambitions for truly world-leading research, education and innovation.
Sir Jim welcomes the Commissioner-designate’s clearly stated objectives to “build a true European Research Area” and to make the “European Education Area a reality by 2025”.
The proposal for the next College of European Commissioners was announced on 10 September, assigning the portfolio of ‘Innovation and Youth’ to the Bulgarian politician Mariya Gabriel, the current Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society.
Ms Gabriel’s brief combines research and education into a single role, while they are now separately managed by Carlos Moedas, the current Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Tibor Navracsics, the current Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.
Ms Gabriel’s hearing at the European Parliament will take place on 30 September, and the Parliament will vote to confirm the proposed College of Commissioners during the week of 23 October. The new Commission is due to take office on 1 November.