Robert-Jan Smits

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Robert-Jan Smits (born 1958) is the President of the Executive Board of the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands since May 2019.[1] In 2018-2019, he was a senior adviser for open access and innovation at the European Political Strategy Centre and from 2010 to 2018, he served as director-general of research and innovation (RTD) at the European Commission. He is known for his key roles in planning Plan S, to ensure that all publicly funded scientific publications are available in Open Access by 2020, as well as for being one of the main architects of Horizon 2020.

Early life and education[edit]

Robert-Jan Smits was born in 1958 in the Netherlands. He has degrees from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, Institut Universitaire d’Hautes Etudes Internationales in Switzerland, and Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy in the United States.[1]

Following his studies, Smits worked for the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs from 1985 to 1989, and left in 1989 to work at the European Commission.[2]

Career and impact[edit]

Smits is considered one of the main architects of Horizon 2020, an EU Research and Innovation program providing €80 billion of funding between 2014 and 2020.[1] Smits has also played leading roles in developing the European Research Council, the European Research Area, and the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures.[3]

Recently, Smits has spearheaded the Plan S initiative, which requires scientists make their publications open-access immediately on publication. 11 national funding agencies in Europe, who collectively spend €7.6 billion in research grants per year, have signed up to Plan S.[4]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Honorary degree from the University of Edinburgh (2016)[1]
  • Lifetime achievements award from EuroScience (2016)[1]
  • Academy Medal from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (2017)[3]
  • Excellence in Global Science award in South-Africa (2017)[5]
  • Nature's 10 (2018)[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Robert-Jan Smits Profile". TU/e. Retrieved 16 October 2019. Cite error: The named reference ":0" was defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ "Robert-Jan Smits Curriculum Vitae" (PDF).
  3. ^ a b "Robert-Jan Smits". Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  4. ^ Else, Holly (4 September 2018). "Radical open-access plan could spell end to journal subscriptions". Nature. 561 (7721): 17–18. Bibcode:2018Natur.561...17E. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06178-7. PMID 30181639.
  5. ^ "Mr Robert-Jan Smits". SFSA. 30 October 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Nature's 10". Nature. Retrieved 23 January 2019.