Portuguese secretary of state Carlos Moedas will be the next European commissioner for research, science and innovation

Portuguese secretary of state Carlos Moedas has been named as the next European commissioner for research, science and innovation by commission president-elect Jean-Claude Juncker, who has announced his new team for the commission.

Pending consent from the European parliament, who will have to approve all the new commissioners at a hearing later this month, Moedas will take over from the current research chief Máire Geoghegan-Quinn for a five-year term, overseeing all European research policy including the Horizon 2020 funding programme, together with the director general of research and innovation, currently Robert-Jan Smits.

With no background in research policy, Moedas is a surprise pick for the science and research portfolio, although he does hold a degree in civil engineering, and worked briefly as an engineer at the start of his career. He then went on to obtain an MBA and worked for several years in the finance sector before entering politics. As the prime minister’s secretary of state, Moedas worked on Portugal’s economic policies during the aftermath of the Eurozone financial crisis, negotiating the 2011 state budget and, earlier this year, helped the country extricate itself from its three-year €78 billion (£62 billion) international bailout.

In a letter to Moedas, Jean-Claude Juncker said he wanted the new commissioner to maximise the impact of Horizon 2020, increasing the participation of the private sector, especially SMEs, while ensuring commission activities are ‘based on sound scientific evidence’.