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End of an era

Portret Robert-Jan Smits, DG onderzoek en innovatie bij de Europese Commissie

After decades in the Commission, Robert-Jan Smits, the man who knows European research better than anyone, talks to Craig Nicholson about his achievements.

Having spent 30 years working on R&D at the European Commission—eight of them running its research and innovation directorate general—Robert-Jan Smits has been looking forward to a change of scene. 

“It’s not like I have a pain in my stomach because I have to leave everything behind,” he told Research Europe after an “unbelievably hectic” day signing out from the Commission and journeying across the border from Brussels to his new home in the Netherlands.

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