A future that promises major research programs

France is renowned for its excellence in research. With nearly 50 billion euros invested in the domain, the country is highly visible at an international level and attracts talented researchers from around the world.

  • 14/06/2019

The French research system

The French research policy is directed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and is conducted within universities and public research bodies (e.g. CNRS, Inserm, Inria, INRA). Research laboratories are known as “unités de recherche”, research units. When they are jointly managed by a university and one or more national research institutes, they are called “unités mixtes de recherche”, joint research units.

France’s 72 universities maintain 3,000 research units/laboratories (many administered jointly with other research bodies). The labs are staffed by research faculty that, in addition to their own research projects, are often responsible for training students, future research scholars and scientists.

The University of Bordeaux

A top ranked global university, recognized for its research excellence, its innovative learning environment and its contributions to the local, national and global community”*, the University of Bordeaux counts over 3,000 academic and research staff. In addition, 2,000 PhD students work in our laboratories and around 800 international researchers are welcomed each year thanks to a variety of visiting scholar opportunities.

Research at the University of Bordeaux is both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. Researchers and lecturer-researchers (“enseignants-chercheurs”) collaborate in and across research units, under joint supervision with national research bodies.

Over the past year, the research structure at the University of Bordeaux has been reorganized in order to strengthen the links between the university and both the research units and also the national research bodies. The overall objective is to facilitate the elaboration and implementation of a scientific strategy, based on a closely coordinated research organization.

The priority is to establish a strategy that accompanies the research units with shared objectives and a transparent management system.

Philippe Moretto — Vice-President for Research, UBx

11 disciplinary/thematic departments have been created and their main role is to lead and manage projects within and between the 73 different research units. With a specific focus on each thematic, this organization favors closer collaboration with local research units and also simplifies interactions with national research bodies.

Our research departments

  • Social sciences of contemporary changes (E. Macé, M. Coris)
  • Behavior, organizations and policy evaluation (O. Bargain, J. Cusin)
  • Law and social transformations (O. Décima, A. Pariente)
  • Bordeaux Neurocampus (N. Sans)
  • Biological and medical sciences (A.P. Gadeau)
  • Public health (R. Thiébaut, C. Tzourio)
  • Health sciences and technologies (G. Guichard)
  • Environmental sciences (J. Joubes, M. Baudrimont)
  • Engineering and digital sciences (H. Bertin)Material and light sciences (J.B. Verlhac, F. Hannachi)
  • Archeological sciences (B. Maureille, W. Banks)

In addition to the research units hosted within the University of Bordeaux, these 11 research departments also coordinate with external research units based in Bordeaux. This wider scope allows research to go beyond the university limits and to implicate the entire region.

The future holds many new major research projects for France. In 2019/2020, the Ministry is launching the latest call for proposals for “major research initiatives”. This program, which supports scientific excellence, follows those created in 2010 such as the Laboratories of Excellence (LabEx) and the Clusters of Excellence. Today, as leader of its IdEx (Initiative of Excellence), the University of Bordeaux  has launched its own call for the new major research programs that will succeed the LabEx. This call focuses on initiatives that drive top-level research, that are characterized by innovative, differentiating factors and that are active and ambitious on a European and international level.

With its 11 research departments, as meeting points that open up the boundaries between our different structures, interdisciplinary research will be greatly facilitated, thus expanding the potential and, most certainly (!), ensuring the success of such future major research initiatives.

Key figures

  • A Graduate Research School: 2,000 PhD students, 8 Doctoral Schools and several Graduate Research programs
  • 20 international joint research laboratories, 3 cross-border joint laboratories, as well as an international joint research unit.
  • Over 150 EU collaborative projects (H2020, FP7 & Interreg).
  • 43 projects awarded a European Research Council (ERC) grant (Bordeaux campus site).
  • 260 joint PhD agreements.
  • A Welcome Center for International Researchers (including PhD students) that welcomes and supports over 800 international researchers (representing 70 different nationalities) with administration, accommodation, social and cultural integration services.

* International strategic committee for the University of Bordeaux Initiative of Excellence (2016)

Source: Campus France (https://www.campusfrance.org/en/tools-Campus-France-foreign-researchers)