- Degree from Utrecht University in the Netherlands;
- Degree from l’Institut Universitaire d’Hautes Etudes Internationales in Switzerland;
- Degree from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy in the United States of America.
Robert-Jan Smits is Director-General of DG Research and Innovation – European Commission. His previous assignment was Deputy Director-General of DG Joint Research Center (JRC) where he was responsible for Programmes and Stakeholder Relations, Resource Management, and three Institutes, being the Institute for Energy, the Institute for Environment and Sustainability and the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies.
Before that Mr. Smits was Director for the European Research Area: Research Programmes and Capacity at DG RTD, where his responsibilities included: Joint Programming, coordination of national research programmes, cooperation with intergovernmental research organisations (EIROforum, EUREKA, COST), Research Infrastructures, Regions of Knowledge, Research Potential and the relations with the European Investment Bank (EIB).
General Director of the Directorate General for Research and Innovation, European Commission.