Robert-Jan Smits is President of the Executive Board since May 2019. As President he believes that universities must seek a stronger connection with and relevance to society and its challenges. Educating young talents and carrying out excellent research is essential. The TU/e is embedded in a strong high-tech region. Together and in full partnership, university and industry in this innovation ecosystem are realizing the unimaginable.
Smits is the former Director-General of Research and Innovation at the European Commission. In this position he has been the architect over the past decade of the large-scale EU Research and Innovation program Horizon 2020. He was responsible for the design, negotiations and the execution of the 80 billion euro support programme for research and innovation. He has also given shape to the run-up to the future innovation programme, Horizon Europe (100 billion euros). Until his start at the university Robert-Jan Smits was the Open Access Envoy of the European Commission and launched the concrete policy proposal intended to ensure that in 2020 all publicly financed academic publications are indeed publicly available.