Brazil and France have a long relationship in the academic and scientific fields, dating back to the very origin of institutions such as the University of São Paulo (USP) in the 1930s and which should strengthen even further in the future.
The highlight was made by leaders of FAPESP and Université de Paris at the opening of the second stage of the FAPESP Week France symposium, held on Monday (25/11) in Paris. The event, which runs until 27 November in the French capital, follows on from two days of presentations and debates in Lyon.
“Brazil is a key partner for the French institutions. The scientific and academic cooperation between higher education and research institutions in France and Brazil is characterized by a robust and lasting history, which will surely underpin a long and strong partnership in the future, ”said Christine Clerici, president of Université de Paris.
An example of this strengthening will occur in the coming weeks, with the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Université de Paris and FAPESP.
“We decided here at FAPESP Week France to sign a cooperation agreement with the Université de Paris that will enable researchers from the State of São Paulo - from any university, public or private - to carry out joint work in collaboration with scientists from the Université de Paris”, said Marco Antonio Zago, president of FAPESP.
Clerici stressed that, in terms of the production of scientific articles, France is Brazil's main partner after the United States. “Our history of cooperation began in 1971, shortly after the creation of the Paris Diderot and Descartes universities,” he said.
“It was because of this long, lasting and fruitful relationship with Brazil that we decided to organize this event with FAPESP and we are very happy to be able to welcome colleagues from the state of São Paulo to strengthen and encourage partnerships with our researchers,” said Clerici.
Attending the opening of the event, Pedro Saldanha, Minister-Counselor of the Brazilian Embassy in France, mentioned some examples of cooperation between countries, such as the Santos Dumont supercomputer program - produced by the French company Atos / Bull and installed at the National Computer Laboratory. (LNCC) - and the Submarine Development Program (Prosub), which includes technology transfer for the manufacture of military vessels.
“We collaborate in many areas and France is one of the top destinations for Brazilian higher education students, with over 5,000 students in French institutions. This illustrates a huge potential for collaboration, ”said Saldanha.
University of Paris
Aiming to “transform the landscape of higher education” in the French capital, the Université de Paris was created by official decree in March 2019, following the merger of the universities Paris Descartes and Paris Diderot and the incorporation of the Institut de Physique du Globe from Paris. The universities will retain their names until December, when the transition period ends, and will cease to exist in January, being replaced by the new Université de Paris.
Clerici, president of the Université Paris Diderot (Paris 7) since 2014, was chosen to be the first president of the new Université de Paris.
"The new Université de Paris is a public university with three main colleges - Health, Science and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - plus the Institut de Physique du Globe of Paris," said Gilles Guiheux, Vice President of Research from the Université Paris Diderot.
Guiheux explained that the merger will result in an institution with 61,000 students, 4,500 professors and researchers, 3,000 other staff, 22 graduate schools, 142 laboratories, and 52 associated international laboratories. From the outset, the Université de Paris will be responsible for 10% of scientific articles published in France and 8% of doctoral degrees in the country.
“The new Université de Paris will be strongly connected with the city of Paris and one of the reasons behind the creation of the new university is to reduce the large fragmentation of the University of Paris,” said Guiheux.
One of the oldest higher education institutions in the world, the University of Paris, known as the Sorbonne - originally named for a building in the Latin Quarter - began its activities in the second half of the 12th century. Its facilities include names such as João Calvino (1509 -1564), Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Denis Diderot (1713-1784), Voltaire (1694-1778) and Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850), in addition to 50 Nobel Prizes.
In 1970, after the May 1968 protests that resulted in the closure of the Sorbonne, the institution was reorganized into 13 autonomous universities, from Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne to Université Paris 13 Nord.
“Out of curiosity, the name Université de Paris was not being used and as of January it will define our new university,” said Guiheux.
International Research Hub
“FAPESP's strategy of international collaboration has the mission of making the State of São Paulo an international research hub,” said Carlos Américo Pacheco, FAPESP CEO, at a presentation at FAPESP Week France shortly after the event opened in Paris.
“The support offered by FAPESP for this cooperation has two ways: it allows scientists from the State of São Paulo to be sent abroad and also makes it possible for researchers from other countries to come to universities and institutes of science and technology in São Paulo,” he said. Pacheco.
The CEO pointed out that the strategy goes beyond simply exchanging scientists. “Our idea is to support complete multi-year research projects based on complex and internationally competitive proposals that are conducted with equal participation on each side,” he said.
Pacheco stressed that international collaborations are very important for the development of research in the state of São Paulo and that, because of this, FAPESP has cooperation agreements with about 180 organizations in dozens of countries.
In 2018, as part of these agreements, 37 calls for proposals were launched by FAPESP in partnership with 27 institutions abroad. In the same year, FAPESP signed 28 new agreements with institutions in other countries.
The FAPESP Week France symposium will take place from 21 to 27 November thanks to a partnership between FAPESP and the universities of Lyon and Paris, both of France. Read other news about the event at www.fapesp.br/week2019/france.