Iliana Ivanova, European commissioner for innovation


June 29, 2023

Bulgaria’s Iliana Ivanova to become EU’s new research and innovation boss

The previous commissioner resigned last month to rejoin national politics in Bulgaria

Zosia Wanat

1 min read

Bulgaria’s Iliana Ivanova has been nominated to become the EU’s commissioner for innovation and research — the post that oversees the European startup ecosystem. 

The job has been vacant since the previous commissioner, Mariya Gabriel, resigned in May to rejoin domestic politics in Bulgaria. 

Ivanova, an economist, has an extensive career in EU institutions; she’s currently a member of the European Court of Auditors, the EU’s audit body, and was previously a member of the European Parliament. 


“Her experience is crucial in carrying forward the implementation of the EU's flagship research programme, Horizon Europe, to enhance the performance of EU's research spending and achieve a better impact on the ground,” Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement on Wednesday evening. 

Apart from Horizon Europe, the EU’s research budget, the innovation and research commissioner also oversees different elements of the New European Innovation Agenda, the EU's flagship strategy for startups, as well as the working of the European Innovation Council and its investment programme. 

Ivanova will now have to go through a formal approval process in the European Parliament. If she gets the job, her mandate will end in October next year, when the whole new group of commissioners will be appointed.

Zosia Wanat

Zosia Wanat is a senior reporter at Sifted. She covers the CEE region and policy. Follow her on X and LinkedIn