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CNRS and University of Chicago launch research and education collaboration


The University of Chicago and the French National Centre for Scientific Research are launching a new collaboration to grow opportunities for research, education and scholarly engagement across a range of scientific fields.

The agreement brings faculty and students from the University together with the largest governmental research organization in France. UChicago and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (known as CNRS) will fund international collaborations in such areas as molecular engineering, physics, computer science, mathematics, biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology and the social sciences. This is the first agreement of its kind between CNRS and a university in the United States.

“The University of Chicago has a longstanding commitment to creating new opportunities for outstanding scientific and scholarly work, and that includes developing international collaborations with the distinctive potential to produce scholarly impact at the highest level,” said Robert J. Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago. “We are pleased that this important agreement will foster new collaborations with outstanding scholars in France, and advance the work of scientific discovery in both of our nations.”

“When I arrived as CEO of CNRS last year, one of my first objectives was to develop our international collaborations with the best research institutions in the world. This cooperation with the University of Chicago is an illustration of the achievement of this objective, and simultaneously is a strong opportunity to support young researchers,” said Antoine Petit, CNRS president and CEO. "This important agreement will foster new collaborations with outstanding scholars in France, and advance the work of scientific discovery in both of our nations.” said Robert J. Zimmer.

Earlier this year, the University announced plans to expand its Center in Paris through the construction of a new building designed by Studio Gang. Expected to open in 2022, the project will double UChicago’s space in Paris and include laboratory space. The center will serve as a hub for research and scholarly collaborations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, while further connecting the University to one of Europe’s leading centers of culture, education and innovation.

The agreement is expected to accelerate the advancement of new and ambitious projects between the University of Chicago and the CNRS. It will benefit from the University’s relationships with Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

“This agreement will help us build a powerful framework to foster new collaborative initiatives on both sides of the ocean,” said Juan de Pablo, UChicago’s vice president for national laboratories, the Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering and a senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. “This collaboration is the first of its kind for CNRS in the United States, and the University of Chicago is honored to have one of the world’s most prestigious research organization as its partner.”

The agreement is designed to support a series of three-year collaborative research programs for up to a total of 10 new PhD students per year, including students from UChicago and from French universities that host a CNRS research unit. Under the supervision of two primary investigators, one from UChicago and one from CNRS, the program will help PhD students broaden their perspective, gain experience and maturity in leading international research projects, and enhance their scholarly training in preparation for their future professional careers.

This communication was first published 24 September 2019 by CNRS.

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