Making the French Connection

Senior N8 university figures, including Leeds' Professor Lisa Roberts, have visited leading French research centres to explore collaboration opportunities.

Professor Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation, was part of a high-profile delegation organised by the Foreign and Commonweath Office (FCO) Science and Innovation Network and led by the N8 chair, Professor Koen Lamberts, University of York Vice-Chancellor. The delegation also included the UK Ambassador to France and the FCO Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor Robin Grimes.

The trip included visits to:

  • the Universit√© Paris-Saclay - a combined university created by two research-intensive universities, seven private company research centres, and nine engineering and business schools, based on a business-focused campus to the south of Paris
  • the French National Centre for Scientific Research - the largest government research organisation in France, and the largest science agency in Europe

The visitors and their hosts identified areas of research of mutual interest, and many of these are areas in which Leeds has great research strength: such as agri-food, global development, cities, and robotics.

The parties discussed how to maintain strong UK-France research collaborations even after Brexit.

N8 Director Dr Peter Simpson said, "This was a great opportunity for us to raise the profile of the N8 universities with a key international partner. It was mutually helpful to explore specific opportunities in which we can work together more closely and ensure the UK remains at the centre of European research partnerships.

"More than ever, British universities need their friends ahead of the negotiations on leaving the European Union and we see maintaining strong relationships with European partners as fundamental to the success of any UK industrial strategy.

“Universities are, by their very nature, international organisations. There are many existing research links between N8 universities and both CNRS and other members of Universit√© Paris-Saclay. We hope this visit can galvanise further ambitious research partnerships with France.”

Posted in: