Máire Geoghegan-Quinn: European Commissioner designate for Research, Innovation and Science

In her hearing at the European Parliament on 13 January 2010, the European Commissioner designate for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, pledged to move research, innovation and science 'to the heart of European policy'.

Speaking to the European Parliament's committees on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and Culture and Education (CULT), the new Commissioner designate said that the European Union must become an Innovation Union. 'Knowledge, research and scientific excellence is a cornerstone of innovation,' she stated. 'In the new economy, refined knowledge will replace crude oil as the economy's prime motive force.'

Mrs Geoghegan-Quinn said that if approved as Commissioner, her policies would focus on three main areas: completing the creation of the European Research Area (ERA), addressing societies' grand challenges, and creating an innovation research culture. She also highlighted the importance of bringing more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) into the EU's research programmes, and leveraging additional EU funds, such as the Structural Funds, for research.

If approved by the parliament, Mrs Geoghegan-Quinn would be the first EU Research Commissioner to have 'innovation' added to her job title.

Until recently, Mrs Geoghegan-Quinn was a Member of the European Court of Auditors. She stated that procedures were already considerably simpler and shorter than in the past. Pointing out that research funds are public money, she said: 'I don't want to do anything that will compromise sound financial management.' Nevertheless, she admitted that more could be done, and noted, 'If we have less rules, we have less errors.'

The hearings of the Commissioners designate began on 12 January and will run until 19 January. The European Parliament will vote on the new Commission on 26 January.

More information you'll find in the cordis news and the European Parliament's hearings website. For a full CV please visit the European Commission website on the Commissioners designate.