The Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA)

This is a vital unit, created in 2021 by the EU President to equip the EU member states in preparation for disease outbreaks and epidemics.

The Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) is established as a Directorate-General of the European Commission.


The Director General – HERA will report to the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety. HERA receives administrative support from the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) with the arrangements defined in a Memorandum of Understanding.


The HERA will eventually have around 120 Staff in normal operational mode. In case of declared emergency (crisis mode) the HERA will temporarily be reinforced by the deployment of additional staff. Part of the initial responsibilities of the Director General will be to fully staff HERA to capacity with suitable professionals in their fields.


The HERA shall assist the Commission to improve preparedness and response to serious cross-border threats within the EU in the area of medical countermeasures, in particular:

  • strengthening health security coordination within the Union involving all relevant actors during preparedness and crisis response times, and bringing together the EU Member States, industry and relevant stakeholders in a common effort;
  • addressing vulnerabilities and strategic dependencies within the Union related to the development, production, procurement, stockpiling and distribution of medical countermeasures;
  • contributing to reinforcing the global health emergency response architecture.
  • Coordination and communication in crisis situations to deploy assistance to member states in the event of a medical outbreak or pandemic


The HERA shall be responsible for the following tasks, which shall be exercised in close cooperation with the Member States:

  • assessment of health threats and intelligence gathering relevant to medical countermeasures;
  • promoting advanced research and development of medical countermeasures and related technologies;
  • addressing market challenges and boosting the Union’s open strategic autonomy in medical countermeasures production;
  • swift procurement and distribution of medical countermeasures;
  • increasing stockpiling capacity of medical countermeasures;
  • strengthening knowledge and skills in preparedness and response related to medical countermeasures.


The HERA is assisted by the Coordination Committee, the HERA Board and the HERA Advisory Forum.

The operations will be mainly funded from the following programmes:

  • EU4Health programme
  • UCPM/rescEU,
  • Horizon Europe Health Cluster
  • European Defence Fund


Role purpose

The Director General of HERA is responsible for taking, in close coordination with the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, all measures necessary for the efficient functioning of the HERA consistent with the regulations in force and the authority delegated to them.


Duties and Responsibilities


The tasks will be the following:

  • prepare a multiannual strategic plan for HERA and an annual draft work programme for HERA’s various fields of activity, taking into account the programming cycle calendar of contributing Union programmes;
  • negotiate and conclude procurement and other contracts related to medical countermeasures with third parties;
  • be responsible as Authorising Officer by Delegation (AOD) for the implementation of HERA’s activities and for the financial administration, respecting the governance of contributing Union programmes, in particular EU4Health, Horizon Europe and RescEU;
  • determine the internal organisation of HERA, within the constraints of the budget allocated to it by the budgetary authority;
  • within the limits of the powers delegated to them, exercise the powers conferred upon the appointing authority by the Staff Regulations of officials and upon the authority empowered to conclude contracts by the conditions of employment of other servants;
  • fully staff the HERA department
  • regularly report to the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety;
  • chair the HERA board


Education, Qualifications & Experience


Specialist skills and experience:

  • very good understanding of health policies within the EU and related issues;
  • excellent ability to define and focus on strategic priorities, evaluate progress and oversee implementation;
  • very good understanding of crisis management and related issues;
  • proven professional experience in a field relevant for this position.


Management skills:

  • proven capacity to think creatively and strategically so as to generate a clear vision and policy for the Directorate-General, taking account of needs, resources and constraints, while ensuring consistency with the overall objectives of the Commission;
  • strong achievements as a leader, manager and communicator, involving management of larger teams and financial resources at high level, being able to direct and motivate a DG staffed with highly competent professionals;
  • experience in effective planning and management of human and financial resources at senior management level.


Personal qualities:

  • Accomplished interpersonal, decision-making and negotiating skills at high level (including the political sphere) and a very good capacity to communicate effectively and efficiently with all stakeholders inside or outside the Commission and to build trusted relationships with them, in particular in crisis management situations;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, being able to communicate effectively with all of the HERA’s stakeholders.


Eligibility requirements


Candidates will only be considered for the selection phase on the basis of the following formal requirements to be fulfilled by the deadline for applications (see below How to Apply and Key Steps in the Selection Process).


  • Nationality: candidates must be a citizen of one of the Member States of the European Union.
  • University degree or diploma: candidates must have:
  • either a level of education which corresponds to completed university studies attested by a diploma when the normal period of university education is 4 years or more;
  • or a level of education which corresponds to completed university studies attested by a diploma and appropriate professional experience of at least 1 year when the normal period of university education is at least 3 years (this one year's professional experience cannot be included in the postgraduate professional experience required below).


Professional experience: candidates must have at least 15 years postgraduate professional experience at a level to which the qualifications referred to above give admission.


Management experience at least 5 years of the post-graduate professional experience must have been gained in a high–level management function. (Professional experience is only taken into consideration if it represents an actual work relationship defined as real, genuine work, on a paid basis and as employee (any type of contract) or provider of a service. Professional activities pursued part-time shall be calculated pro rata, on the basis of the certified percentage of full-time hours worked. Maternity leave / parental leave / leave for adoption is taken into consideration if it is in the framework of a work contract. PhDs are assimilated to professional experience, even when unpaid, but for a duration of three years maximum, provided that the PhD has been successfully completed. A given period may be counted only once.)


Languages: candidates must have a thorough knowledge of one of the official languages of the European Union and a satisfactory knowledge of another of these official languages. Selection panels will verify during the interview(s) whether candidates comply with the requirement of a satisfactory knowledge of another official EU language. This may include (part of) the interview being conducted in this other language.


Age limit: candidates must not have reached regular retirement age, which for officials of the European Union is defined as being the end of the month in which the person reaches the age of 66 years (see Article 52 lit (a) of the Staff Regulations).


Equal opportunities


In accordance with Article 1d of the Staff Regulations, the European Commission pursues a strategic objective of achieving gender equality at all management levels by the end of its current mandate and applies an equal opportunities policy encouraging applications that could contribute towards more diversity, gender equality and overall geographical balance.


Conditions of employment

The salaries and conditions of employment are laid down in the Staff Regulations.


The selected candidate will be recruited as an official at grade AD 15. He / she will be classified depending on the length of his / her previous professional experience in step 1 or step 2 within that grade.


The selected candidate should note the requirement under the Staff Regulations for all new staff to complete successfully a nine-month probationary period.


Independence and declaration of interests

Before taking up his/her duties, the selected candidate will be required to make a declaration of commitment to act independently in the public interest and to declare any interests, which might be considered prejudicial to his/her independence.


Additional important information for candidates

Candidates are reminded that the work of the selection panels is confidential. It is forbidden for candidates to make direct or indirect contact with their individual members or for anybody to do so on their behalf. Any query has to be addressed to the secretariat of the respective panel.


Protection of personal data

The Commission will ensure that candidates' personal data are processed as required by Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council [1]. This applies in particular to the confidentiality and security of such data. (Regulation (EU) 2018/1725 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2018 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by the Union institutions, bodies, offices and agencies and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 and Decision No 1247/2002/EC (OJ L 295, 21.11.2018, p. 39).)


Role Location

Brussels, Belgium


Selection and appointment

The selection and appointment will be conducted according to the European Commission’s selection and recruitment procedures (see: Document on Senior Officials Policy).


SRI Executive has been retained to source the best eligible professionals for the DDG HERA role to submit to the European Commission. The Commission will finalise the selection process as outlined below.


As part of this selection procedure, the European Commission sets up a pre-selection panel. This panel analyses all applications, proceeds with a first eligibility verification and identifies candidates having the best profile in view of the selection criteria mentioned above, and who may be invited for an interview with the pre-selection panel.


Following these interviews, the pre-selection panel draws up its conclusions and proposes a list of candidates for further interviews with the European Commission's Consultative Committee on Appointments (CCA). The CCA, taking into consideration the conclusions of the pre-selection panel, will decide on the candidates to be invited for an interview.


Candidates who are called for an interview with the CCA participate in a full-day management assessment centre run by external recruitment consultants. Taking account of the results of the interview and the report of the assessment centre, the CCA establishes a shortlist of candidates it considers suitable for the function.


Candidates on the CCA shortlist will be interviewed by the relevant Member(s) of the Commission.


Following these interviews, the European Commission takes the appointment decision.


The selected candidate must have fulfilled any obligations imposed by law concerning military service, produce appropriate character references as to their suitability for the performance of their duties and be physically fit to perform their duties. Candidate will be vetted for conflict of interest issues.


The selected candidate should hold, or be in the position to obtain, a valid security clearance certificate from his/her national security authority. A personal security clearance is an administrative decision following completion of a security screening conducted by the individual's competent national security authority in accordance with applicable national security laws and regulations, and certifying that an individual may be allowed to access classified information up to a specified level. (Note that the necessary procedure for obtaining a security clearance can be initiated on request of the employer only, and not by the individual candidate).


Until the personal security clearance has been granted by the Member State concerned and the clearance procedure completed with the legally required briefing from the European Commission’s Security Directorate, the candidate will not be able to access EU Classified Information (EUCI) at the level of CONFIDENTIEL UE/EU CONFIDENTIAL or above, nor attend any meetings at which such EUCI is discussed.


How to Apply

If you wish to be considered for this position, please complete the Application Form below on or before 25 November 2022. In addition, we encourage you to please attach a copy of the most recent English version of your CV.


All information will be treated in the strictest confidence.


If you have an inital query rather than an application, kindly email us at [email protected].


Applications from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged. Applicants from the following European Union Member States: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, or Slovenia are also highly encouraged, as are female applicants.


SRI Executive is exclusively retained by the Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) to undertake this assignment.

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