Executive agencies are established by the European Commission. Their raison d'être is the efficient management of EU programmes on behalf of the Commission. The lifetime of executive agencies is limited and linked to the duration of the programmes which they manage. The more detailed legal framework for executive agencies is set out in Council Regulation (EC) No 58/2003.
The Research Executive Agency (REA) was legally set up by the Commission in December 2007 to run parts of the 7th framework programme for research and technological development (FP7). The agency started operations in 2009.
In December 2013, the Commission extended the mandate of the REA (by Implementing Decision 2013/778/EU (738 kB)). The REA continues managing the remaining FP7 projects but also runs large parts of the new Horizon 2020 Framework Programme (2014-2020) and provides programme-related administrative and logistical support services to other Commission services.
The REA has its own legal personality, but it is supervised and controlled by the European Commission, in particular by the Commission departments with research portfolios. The agency is managed by its Director together with its Steering Committee.
The REA Director
Since November 2012, the Agency is headed by Gilbert Gascard.
As all managers in the Agency, the Director is an EU official seconded from the European Commission. The Director is responsible for ensuring that the Agency implements all the tasks delegated to it. He is also responsible for execution of the Agency's administrative budget, and he acts as the REA's appointing authority (as defined by the EU Staff Regulations).
The REA Steering Committee
The REA Steering Committee represents the Commission and ensures that the Agency carries out the tasks assigned to it. Together with the Agency's Director, it provides high level management by adopting the Agency's administrative budget and annual work programme, approving an annual activity report and adopting implementing rules for personnel management and public access to documents.
The REA Steering Committee is composed of five members and two observers who are senior managers from the Commission services. Its Chairman is Wolfgang Burtscher, Deputy Director General of the Commission's Research and Innovation Directorate-General.