Press release: 24 September 2018, London#

ACADEMIA EUROPAEA ANNOUNCES THE AWARD OF A GOLD MEDAL to Robert-Jan Smits at their 30th anniversary celebration event, held today (24 September 2018), at the Royal Society of London.#

The Board of Trustees of the Academia Europaea are pleased to announce that the Gold Medal has been awarded to Robert-Jan Smits, former Director-General for research and innovation of the European Commission.

Citation: This award is only rarely given, and is made “… to those members and non-members of the Academia and to organisations, in recognition of the contribution made to European science through inspiration, public support, management expertise or by financial means.

The Board of trustees of the Academia Europaea are pleased to recognise the substantial and sustained contribution that Robert-Jan Smits has made to European Research and Innovation policy, notably through the development of the European Research Area and through the design and implementation of HORIZON 2020, the EU multi-billion science and innovation programme, aimed at supporting collaborative research between researchers from Europe and at global level.

A laudation was given by Professor Eva Kondorosi MAE, a trustee of the Academia Europaea and a Vice-president of the European Research Council and a recent winner of a 2018 Balzan Foundation prize.

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Download the announcement of the Gold Medal award(info)


The Academia Europaea (AE) was formed in 1988. AE is the pan-European academy of science, humanities and letters, with a membership of almost 4000 eminent scholars, drawn from all countries of Europe, and all disciplines, nationalities and geographical locations. The AE today celebrates its 30th anniversary with a one-day event held at the Royal Society, in London. The Royal Society was a founder sponsor and long-time supporter of the AE, through the work of the then Foreign Secretary Sir Arnold Burgen FRS, who became the first President of the Academia Europaea.

The event has been graced by the presence of Sir Arnold and Lady Burgen (nee Kennard-also a founder member of the Academia Europaea) together with two other past Presidents (Professors Juergen Mittelstrass (Konstanz), and Lars Walloe (Oslo), the current AE President (Sierd Cloetingh, Utrecht), and in the presence of the President of the Royal Society Professor Venki Ramakrishnan (Cambridge) and 100 members and Fellows of the Academia Europaea and the Royal Society

Full information on the Academia Europaea, its regional knowledge hubs and the Young Academy of Europe, together with information about all individual AE members, AE events and activity can be found via the website at:

Academia Europaea 30th Anniversary celebration#

Monday 24 September 2018
Kohn Centre and Marble Hall#

Academia Europae are holding a 30th anniversary event today, at the Royal Society in London.


2pm Welcome#

Welcome by Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society and Professor Sierd Cloetingh, President of Academia Europaea.

2.15pm A brief history of Academia Europaea#

Chair and introduction
Professor Ole Petersen, Vice-President of Academia Europaea.

The Academia Europaea: original aims and their realisation
Sir Arnold Burgen, Founding President of Academia Europaea.

2.30pm Presentation of Academia Europaea’s gold medal to Robert-Jan Smits#

Professor Eva Kondorosi, Vice-President of the European Research Council.

Presentation of the Gold Medal
Professor Sierd Cloetingh, President of Academia Europaea.

Science, Europe’s most precious asset
Dr Robert-Jan Smits, Former Director-General of the European Commission’s Research and Innovation Directorate and currently the Commission’s Open Access Envoy.

3pm Making sense of science (roundtable discussion)#

Chair and introduction
Sierd Cloetingh, President of Academia Europaea.


Professor Richard Catlow, Vice-President of the Royal Society.

Professor Nicole Grobert, Member of the European Commission’s Group of Chief Scientific Advisors.

Dr Johannes Klumpers, Head of the European Commission’s Scientific Advice Mechanism Unit, Research and Innovation directorate.

Professor Ortwin Renn, Chair of the SAPEA [Science Advice for Policy by European Academies] Working Group on Making sense of science.

4pm Tea break#

4.20pm 30 years of scientific developments (a series of short lectures)#

Chair and introduction
Sir John Skehel, Vice-President of the Royal Society.

Advances in our understanding of the universe over its historical development
Professor Alexander Boksenberg, University of Cambridge.

Regulation of Mitochondrial Function
Professor Tullio Pozzan, Italian National Research Council.

Trust and trustworthiness
Baroness Onora O’Neill, the House of Lords.

6pm Reception (canapés and drinks)#

The evening will conclude at 8pm.

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