Scottish Government

European Commission Confirms New Chief Science Adviser

Staff Writer

BRUSSELS—Two years after announcing that he will be appointing the European Union's first chief science adviser, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has confirmed today that Scottish microbiologist Anne Glover will be taking up the job in January. (Science Insider reported Glover's pending appointment last week.) She will act as an independent adviser to Barroso on scientific issues and controversies.

Additionally, Barroso said at a conference today that Glover will "act as a bridge with the scientific community to ensure that innovation contributes to our growth. We must communicate better … on the benefits of scientific advances and also on their risks. A good public understanding is key to guarantee social acceptance of innovation."

Barroso made the announcement at Innovation Convention 2011: the European Commission's event to celebrate the first anniversary of its Innovation Union initiative. The convention, which features well-known names such as Eric Schmidt of Google, Richard Dawkins, and numerous CEOs, is also an opportunity for the commission to show off several dozen media-friendly innovation projects that were funded under its Seventh Framework Programme for research, ranging from cute robots to nanoparticle antibiotic floor tiles.

"I've chosen a very competent person," Barroso said, describing Glover's role as being "not far from what other governments are doing" with their own science advisers. "Very important progress was achieved in Scotland" under her tenure as science adviser since 2006, he said. Glover had been scheduled to attend but had to cancel at the last moment, ScienceInsider was told. Barroso "is keen to base policy on scientific evidence, which is a great decision. It's an example of the mainstreaming of science; it will be part of all big policy decisions. I'm extremely delighted," says Robert-Jan Smits, the commission's director-general for research.

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