Maria Cristina Russo is Director for Global Approach & International Cooperation in R&I in DG Research and Innovation with responsibility for developing and implementing the EU international strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation and the international dimension of the Horizon programme. She has been working for the European Commission since 1992 where she held several policy and managerial positions related to external relations, the EU decision-making process and various EU policies, in particular research & innovation.
She was member of the Cabinet of the Commissioner in charge of research policy. She was later appointed Head of Unit in the Secretariat-General of the European Commission holding different positions dealing with inter-institutional relations and policy-making, and in the department in charge of consumers' policies and financial services, before being appointed to her current position in 2013. She holds a degree in Political Sciences from the Luiss University of Rome and a Research Master Degree in European Studies from the College of Europe in Bruges.