New European commissioner for research

Welcome Máire Geoghegan-Quinn as the new European Commissioner for Research and Innovation.

The 59-year-old Irishwoman replaces Janez Potočnik (who becomes Environment Commissioner) though the portfolio has been expanded to include innovation as well as science and research. Scientists may be wary of this expansion, if it leads to any downgrading of basic research.

Geoghegan-Quinn was an active Fianna Fáil politician. She was a member of the Dáil from 1975, when she succeeded her late father in his Galway West constituency, until 1997. She held several Irish Cabinet posts.

Since 2000 Geoghegan-Quinn has served on the European Court of Auditors.

Her career to date shows no particular interest in science but that may not matter. Potočnik did a good job as research commissioner without relevant prior experience.

The world of research

The science blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

Clive Cookson, the FT's science editor, picks out the research that everyone should know about, in fields from astronomy to zoology. He also discusses key policy issues, from R&D funding to science education. He'll cover the weird and wonderful, as well as the serious side of science.