Prof Grobert appointed Chair of European Commission’s Chief Scientific Advisors | University of Oxford
Professor Nicole Grobert
Professor Nicole Grobert

Prof Grobert appointed Chair of European Commission’s Chief Scientific Advisors

Professor Nicole Grobert, Professor of Nanomaterials and Associate Head of Department (Research) in the Department of Materials at the University of Oxford, has been elected Chair of the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors to the European Commission. Professor Sir Paul Nurse, Director of the Francis Crick Institute, joins her as Deputy Chair.

The European Commission's Group of Chief Scientific Advisors provides the Commission with high quality, timely and independent scientific advice on specific policy issues where such advice is critical to the development of Union policies or legislation. Recent published work included the scientific opinion ‘Environmental and Health Risks of Microplastic Pollution’. The group of seven is currently also working on a scientific opinion addressing ‘Biodegradability of Plastics in the Open Environment’ which is also led by Professor Grobert.

Science advice for policy has become more important than ever. For society to be able to tackle current and future challenges it is critically important for policymakers, scientists across the subjects, and the public to work together hand in hand

Professor Grobert says: ‘Science advice for policy has become more important than ever. For society to be able to tackle current and future challenges it is critically important for policymakers, scientists across the subjects, and the public to work together hand in hand – and this concept is pivotal to the mission of the European Commission's Group of Chief Scientific Advisors. It's a huge honour and responsibility to have been elected as Chair to this group. I am looking forward to continuing the fruitful collaboration with the Chief Scientific Advisors.’

Professor Grobert and Professor Sir Paul Nurse will succeed German particle physicist Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer, former Director of CERN and Dutch empirical sociologist Professor Pearl Dysktra, Deputy Chair and former Vice President of KNAW), respectively from mid-November 2020. Whilst members of the group are appointed in their personal capacity to act independently and in the public interest, it is remarkable that both the Chair and the Deputy Chair are UK scientists.

Ensuring policy makers are presented with sound evidence-based scientific data and understanding is vital at a time when science and technology is embedded in peoples' lives more than ever before

Professor Angus Wilkinson, joint Head of the Department of Materials, said: ‘Ensuring policy makers are presented with sound evidence-based scientific data and understanding is vital at a time when science and technology is embedded in peoples' lives more than ever before. Prof Grobert's work with the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors to the European Commission over the last years has been truly impressive, and her election as their new Chair an incredibly strong endorsement of her impact.’

Professor Grobert is a Royal Society Industry Fellow at Williams Advanced Engineering, a Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and a visiting Professor at the Bio-Nano Electronics Research Centre at Toyo University, Japan. Her research group focuses on the synthesis, processing, and characterisation of novel carbon and non-carbon based nanomaterials, including nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanorods, graphene and other 2D nanomaterials. Multifunctional hierarchical nanostructures are also developed and investigated for their implementation in the health-care sectors and for their use in energy applications.

Professor Grobert is a vocal defender of best practices and efficient leadership, experience obtained over almost 20 years as a frontline researcher and representative of young researchers in Europe, having previously been the Chair of the Young Academy of Europe and a founder member. She has been awarded three Royal Society Research Fellowships and has held has also held four ERC Grants. Moreover, she has been selected as an outstanding young scientist by the Royal Society in 2005, the STS Forum in 2008, and the World Economic Forum in 2013. In 2018, she was elected as Member of the Academia Europaea.