Bordeaux-Waterloo, a long-lasting partnership!
For almost 8 years now, scientists from the University of Bordeaux and the University of Waterloo in Canada have been successfully collaborating in many fields.
There is an obvious proximity between the scientific minds from both sides of the Atlantic, which in just a few years has enabled the two institutions to build a solid strategic partnership.
The first formal collaboration between the two institutions occurred within the framework of IDSFunMat, the European project in the field of functional materials for energy, coordinated by the University of Bordeaux. Given the success of the partnership between the two institutions in the consortium (over 20 joint Bordeaux-Waterloo PhD theses in 5 years), the initiators of this relationship (Laurent Servant, Professor of chemistry and Deputy Vice-President of International Relations and Jean Etourneau, Emeritus Professor, former Director of ICMCB* for UBx; Eric Prouzet, Professor of chemistry and Terry McMahon, Professor of chemistry and former Dean of the Faculty of Sciences for UW) decided to go a step further. In 2014 they organized a workshop which, in addition to covering energy, proposed to extend the collaboration to new areas: water, ageing and biotechnology. And it worked! The governance teams for the two institutions further reinforced this strategic partnership with a letter of intent in 2014, and then a framework agreement, signed in 2016, during a visit by President Manuel Tunon de Lara to Canada.
Their success was such that in 2015, the two institutions decided to launch a joint fund to support collaboration between the two communities in education and research in all fields (more information about these joint funds). The 3rd call for joint projects is about to be launched (deadline: 31 August, 2017), and meanwhile, 18 projects have been supported to date on subjects as varied as the use of virtual reality for a comparative study of deterioration in the verbal and spatial memory in elderly patients and those with Parkinson’s disease (project managers: Myra Fernandes, UW and Hélène Sauzéon, UBx) as well as the design and manufacture of a new monitoring system for smart electrical networks based on MEMS* technology (project managers: Armaghan Salehian, UW and Hélène Débéda, UBx).
The next steps? Now Bordeaux and Waterloo plan to move forward together in the domain of education. An initial student exchange project in biosourced chemistry has just been created, which will enable Bordeaux students enrolled in the international track of the Bachelor degree in chemistry and Canadian students enrolled in the Bachelor of chemistry to spend a semester at the partner university during their 3rd year at university, thus paving the way for a new generation of Franco-Canadian collaborations.
*Institut de Chimie de la Matière Condensée de Bordeaux