Joint Research Centre - European Commission

The European Commission's in-house science service
European Commission

Erik van der Goot

Erik van der Goot - © EU (2010)

Erik van der Goot - Action Leader in the Global Security & Crisis Management Unit
IPSC, Ispra, Italy

Action Leader in the Global Security & Crisis Management Unit of the Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen at the Joint Research Centre, Ispra, Italy

About me

I originally studied Mechanical Engineering in the Netherlands. My first job was as a programmer at the ECN in the Netherlands (Dutch Energy Research). In 1985 I moved to the UK and started working as a programmer for the Commission and that was the start of my career in the Commission. In 1994, I was called for an interview in Ispra and I was offered a job. For the first 5 years, I worked in the area of Crop Growth Monitoring (and simulation), and in 2000 I changed to the group I am currently working in. The current project, in which I have been involved since the very beginning, is the first pure IT project in my career (Information processing).

At the JRC since...


Job Description

As Action Leader, I lead the Optima Action (both technically and administratively) and contribute to scientific research and applied technical tasks within the action and related competitive projects of the Unit.

Describe a normal working day

I read and answer e-mails, deal with any technical or operational problems that have come up, work on the development of software, and make sure the rest of the team is busy. I discuss solutions and future developments, and research, and deal with administrative issues such as recruitment. We maintain close contact with the users/customers of the software systems provided and maintained by the Optima Action.

What inspires you in the job you do?

I am very interested in the creative process of software development and I try to be as much hands on as possible. However, it is also very interesting to extend this process to a larger system where the whole team contributes to the development. I also very much like that we work with real end-users and we can see how we make a contribution to their working environment.

What are the advantages of working as a scientist for the European Commission?

The main advantages are the relative stable funding of the research projects, an international working environment, challenging research projects, and last but not least job security which gives a more long-term perspective to the research being carried out.

Have you done any work at the JRC that you are particularly proud of?

I am very proud of the Optima project which started out as Europe Media Monitor (EMM). I have been involved in the project from the beginning and have contributed significantly to both the development and design of the actual system, and also the development and extension of the current customer base of the software. One of my contributions to EMM is now in the process of being patented.