EU Research Blog

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the new Commissioner responsible for research, innovation and science, was not prominently mentioned in the media reports on the European Parliament hearings (except perhaps in her home country Ireland). However, she did leave a positive “can do” impression and did not face any difficulties in passing the European Parliament’s assessment of the Barroso II Commission.

Born in 1950 she is a member off Fianna Fáil, part of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party. In Ireland Máire Geoghegan-Quinn served in a variety of functions in Irish governments, including as minister of tourism, transport and communications and as minister of justice. Most recently she has been a member of the European Court of Auditors. Geoghegan-Quinn describes herself as “a passionate supporter of the European Union” and “a very strong supporter of the Lisbon Treaty”.

Her priorities for European research and innovation (the latter term has been newly added to the research portfolio) may not be terribly original but they are a logical continuation of EU research policy in recent years:

  • a clear strategic focus in research policy in order to achieve the EU 2020 strategy and ensuring that research, innovation and science issues are at the heart of EU policy making
  • free movement of information and knowledge in the areas of research, innovation and science in Europe, including researcher mobility
  • A greater level of international co-operation
  • achieving the establishment of a modern European Research Area (ERA) and implementing the 2008 Ljubljana process for strengthening cooperation between the EU and member states in research
  • Simpflication in FP7, more participation of SMEs
  • Closer connections between researchers and industry

Those media that did report on Geoghegan-Quinn gave her the “thumbs up” as well. European Voice says she “sailed through” the hearing, showing “great enthusiasm” for her job and producing a few memorable sound bites. According to Science Business she came across as a “woman of action”. Neueurope adds that “nobody would accuse Ms Geoghegan-Quinn of being a shrinking violet, and her powerful and forceful manner showed that she was not to be messed with and provided some dynamism, so far missing from the hearings”.


Summary of hearing of Máire Geoghegan-Quinn – research, innovation and science

Maire Geoghegan-Quinn European Parliament Hearing Report

“I’m into action” says Geoghegan-Quinn

Irish nominee sails through her hearing

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