European Commission
Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
TOBE 2014 – 3rd BioEconomy Stakeholders' Conference

BioEconomy Stakeholders' Conference

"From sectors to system, from concept to reality"

David Wilkinson

David Wilkinson
European Commission - Director at JRC and Commissioner General of the EU for EXPO Milan 2015

David Wilkinson is British. He was born in Grimsby in the North East of England in 1956. He has a PhD in Theoretical Physics, is a chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology and a Fellow of the Institute of Physics. He also graduated as a European Engineer at the Fédération Européenne d’Association Nationale d’Ingénieurs (FEANI).
For his doctorate, he worked at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University and at the ICI Corporate Research Laboratory in the area of theoretical statistical condensed matter physics.
Before joining the European Commission in 1995, he worked from 1981 to 1995 for Smith System Engineering (now Detica plc), leaving as Managing Director (appointed in 1991) where he had final responsibility for all aspects of the management of the company.
His first appointment in the Commission was as JRC Director of the Institute for Systems, Informatics and Safety. For 7 years he managed the largest JRC Institute which, during the period, evolved dramatically by changing name, mission and culture. David Wilkinson re-oriented the Institute towards identifying and meeting customer demand both within the European Commission and outside; providing a solid basis of activities for the current Institute for the Protection and the Security of the Citizen; the new name of the Institute from January 2002.
Between November 2002 and January 2004, he was based in Brussels as Director of Science Strategy, responsible for the planning and coordination of scientific programmes across the JRC Institutes. Among other tasks, he initiated the first JRC Corporate User Satisfaction Survey and the setting up of a Crisis Response System allowing JRC’s scientific capability to be applied within hours in support of crises in Europe and worldwide.
In February 2004, he moved back to Ispra, being, as Site Director, responsible for all aspects of the running of the site. Some of his achievements include: the reduction of the site running costs per member of Ispra staff by around 15%; the establishment of a plan for the long-term infrastructural modernisation of the site and the launch of its implementation; and the construction of a new purpose built childcare building and 40% increase in the total childcare capacity available to JRC Ispra staff.
In November 2009, David was appointed Director of Policy Support Coordination. The Directorate, based in Brussels, has taken the lead role in the rapid repositioning of the JRC, reinforcing the links with policy makers in the Commission and other EU Institutions and strengthening cooperation with the science base in Member States, with industry and with international bodies. The Directorate has increased capacity in the areas of foresight, impact assessment, economic modelling and it hosts the recently launched EU Research and Innovation Observatory. It has thereby taken a central role in refocusing the JRC to effectively support the key political priorities of the European Union today and strengthening its identity as the Commission’s in-house science service.
David is the representative of the Commission to the World Exhibition 2015 in Milan.