Henrik C. Wegener

DTU’s provost appointed independent adviser to the European Commission

Seven leading researchers have been appointed to advise the European Commission on scientific matters. They include Henrik Wegener, Executive Vice President, Chief Academic Officer and Provost at DTU. 

The European Commission is establishing a new Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM). Here, seven researchers will make up the first so-called High Level Group of scientific advisors, who will advise the Commission in cases requiring a strong basis for decision-making that impacts the everyday lives of European citizens. For example within climate, energy, and food.

The purpose of the SAM is to ensure that the Commission has access to the best possible scientific advice, independent of institutional and political interests. The group will bring together evidence and insight from different disciplines and approaches, take into consideration the specificities of EU policy-making, and ensure transparency, writes the Commission in a press release.

Together with an upgrade of and an increased grant for European academies and learned societies (e.g. Academia Europaea, ALLEA, and EASAC), it marks a new approach to using independent scientific advice in the European Commission’s political decision-making process.

“This is a very interesting and challenging task, and I am humbled by the responsibility,” says Henrik Wegener, Executive Vice President, Provost at DTU, who is one of the seven researchers appointed to SAM’s High Level Group.

“Our task is to look at the EU’s research-based advisory system and consider whether it is adequate, and advise the Commission on how to put a system in place so that politicians always have access to the latest research-based knowledge. However, it is also about helping the Commission to navigate when handling individual cases.”

Some of the areas the group will advise on are acute issues, for example new outbreaks of epidemics such as Ebola virus disease. However, he work also involves long-term issues such as food and water security or energy and climate change.

The Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science Esben Lunde Larsen is delighted with the appointment:

“It is a very distinguished post to which Provost Henrik Wegener has been appointed, and once again it testifies to the fact that Denmark has skilled researchers in high demand worldwide. It is important that the European Commission has a sound basis for making decisions on scientific matters, and we can be proud that a Danish researcher will be helping to advise in cases requiring academic insight at the highest level.” 

Facts about SAM

The seven members of the group were selected following an open call for nominations and the recommendations of an independent identification committee. They are appointed for two-and-a-half years, with the possibility of re-election once. 

The mechanism is being launched six months after it was first announced by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Carlos Moedas, the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation. It draws on experience in Member States and worldwide and is based on a High Level Group of independent science advisors and a stronger relationship with national academies and other bodies. It will supplement the internal scientific services provided by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in the EU and existing academic committees. 

A new secretariat for the group has been established under the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation.


Learn more about The Scientific Advice Mechanism.