Educated as a biologist, specialised in tropical marine ecosystems. Before entering the government she persued a career with AKZO Pharma. Francien Heijs has been working for the government for 20 years and has a broad experience of working in research management, funding and science policy and is now responsible for the strategy on research and science policy as well as international cooperation. During that period she has been active in various European and international activities. In the nineties she participated in EUREKA and she was a council member of the European Space Agency and participated in various programme boards.
Nowadays she is a member of the Committee on Science and Technology Policy and the Technology Innovation Policy Group of the OECD and she is a member of CREST and the SFIC high level Group.