Robert-Jan Smits is the President of the Eindhoven University of Technology (since May 2019). Prior to this, he was the Director-General of Research and Innovation at the European Commission (2010-2018). In this capacity he was the architect of Horizon 2020, the 80 billion EU Research and Innovation program. Smits has also been instrumental in shaping the successor program Horizon Europe (budget: 95 billion). In his last year in Brussels, Robert-Jan Smits was the Open Access Envoy of the European Commission and developed concrete policy proposals aimed to ensure that all academic publications resulting from publicly funded research are widely available and accessible through Open Access.
Smits has received several recognitions and awards for his contribution to European science and innovation. He received the Academy Medal of the Royal Dutch Academy, the Excellence in Global Science Award in South Africa, the Medal of Honour of the KU Leuven. He holds an honorary degree from Edinburgh University and is an honorary member of Academia Europaea.