University of Strasbourg: winner of the 'university research schools' projects award

News, Headline news

11/12/17

4 Strasbourg projects out of 29 and 1 project in partnership with the University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne were selected by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the General Commissariat for Investment.

This success achieved with our CNRS and Inserm partners confirms the excellence of research, training and innovation at the University of Strasbourg. With the universities of Aix-Marseille and Bordeaux, the IdEx universities are strengthening their leading role in research excellence. It is also an encouragement to continue our partnerships to cross new frontiers.

The news erupted on Tuesday, October 24 in the late afternoon. The University of Strasbourg has won four graduate school projects, university research schools, in the Investments for the Future 3 programme, as well as a network project with the Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne University. In total, 29 projects (out of 191) were selected by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and the CGI on the proposal of an international panel. Among them, 33% come from the three IdEx perenne winning universities (Excellence Initiatives - Investing for the future programme): Aix-Marseille, Bordeaux and Strasbourg. In Strasbourg, the research teams involved in these 4 projects receive an amount of EUR 25.7 million, and bring together a total of 23 research units, 7 training components and 4 doctoral schools.

All the projects selected are the result of a consistent and structured research effort on the Strasbourg site: the project groups gathered around a specific theme, federated laboratories and multidisciplinary teams. It is therefore a spirit of federation, based on the strengths of each community, or specialisation that has enabled this new success.

If three sectors already have national, European and international visibility and recognition, one area is emerging in neuroscience: pain management. The distinction of this research also emphasises the importance of basic research in the development of new knowledge useful to society as a whole. The stubborn endeavour of the research teams has proved its worth. This new model of 'French graduate school' represents a new step in the teacher-researcher-student link in the preparation of the brains of tomorrow.

The challenge of university research/graduate schools: a master - doctorate - valorisation continuum and international recognition

The objective of the ministry, through the call for 'university research schools' projects, is to promote the internationally recognised model of 'graduate schools' in France. The selected projects combine university and research organisations, have a strong international dimension, and stronger links with business opportunities and economic actors.

This model aims to reinforce the research approach within training as from master's level. It is inducing a real change in French university organisation, favouring the clarity of international branches and creating a continuum between master, doctorate and professional integration, on the basis of research at the highest level.

The 'graduate schools' are also an opportunity to create a spirit of community, where the student integrates a path of excellence from the beginning of the master's degree, where the 'school' becomes a place of consistency between the second cycle and leaving the university, where teachers, students and researchers find themselves federated. On a daily basis, teachers and researchers are more and more motivated, students that are enthusiastic and better prepared. The challenge goes well beyond training and research, since these projects put in place synergies creating the necessary environment for new discoveries that will meet societal challenges and the emerging or future needs of our society.  

Initiatives of excellence: a real lever for innovative high-level projects

This new success for the University of Strasbourg is also the result of the work initiated by Labex with the Programme of Investment of the Future 1 since 2011. Six Labex (CSC - Medalis - INRT - NetRNA - MitoCross - NIE) and 2 Equipex (UNION, UTEM) are involved in these new graduate schools. It is also the result of close collaboration between the University of Strasbourg, research organisations -CNRS and Inserm- and the SATT Connectus Alsace, an instrument also resulting from the programme of future investments at the service of valorisation of research. It is once again the demonstration that transdisciplinary work and team spirit make it possible to share the best assets at the service of the same objective.

The three 'Sustainable Excellence Initiative' universities, Aix-Marseille, Bordeaux and Strasbourg, received 10 projects out of the 29 selected by the international paneljury. These three universities, in the regions, are the proof of high-level French scientific research, of which we can be proud.

An incentive to continue our efforts

This first wave of success should be seen as an incentive to continue our efforts at structuring and consistency, so that unsuccessful projects and new projects can apply for the next ministry appeal.