Franz is Head of the Fraud Detection and Prevention Unit at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. He graduated (PhD) in "Food Science and Biotechnology" from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna, Austria. In 1994 he was appointed professor of food chemistry at the same university. Franz joined JRC in 2002 as a programme co-ordinator for food and environmental reference materials. In 2007 Franz was nominated Head of the Food Safety and Quality Unit. As of July 2016 he heads a newly created Unit devoted to detection of fraud in the food chain and selected consumer goods such as tobacco. He represents the Joint Research Centre in relevant food related technical committees of standards developing organisations such as the European Committee for Standardization, International Organization for Standardization, AOAC International and the Codex Alimentarius.