The Université de Paris, resulting from the merger of the Institut de physique du globe de Paris and the universities of Paris Descartes and Paris Diderot, will come into being on 1st January in a context of profound changes in higher education and research. Marc Chaussidon, Frédéric Dardel and Christine Clerici describe these major developments and the decisive role of this new university.
What is your reading of the major changes in the HER sector in recent years?
With globalization, our higher education and French research have entered a competitive universe that is reflected in university rankings. Born in this context, the Bologna process has created the conditions for a higher education area in Europe that combines emulation and trust between actors. This double logic has resulted in a profound transformation of HER in France.
The LRU law has led institutions to position themselves as full-fledged actors, which they are almost everywhere else, and no longer as state-administered services. By gaining autonomy, institutions are empowered. This dynamic not only leads to better management of the resources allocated by the State, but also leads institutions to adopt a strategy that enables them to develop their own identity in the long term.
For globally excellent universities such as we wish to create, it is particularly important to fully involve research organisations in the establishment strategy, consistent with their national strategy. These universities are becoming more visible internationally and become part of a clearer national and European university landscape.
For these universities, the appropriation of a culture of self-evaluation is a prerequisite for their ability to develop, to benefit from European funding for their training and research projects and to internationalise. They then participate fully in the Europe of higher education.
How do you enroll the Université de Paris project in these great transformations?
The creation of the Université de Paris comes at a time when the university landscape is changing: the division between universities, schools and research institutions is no longer as decisive. Like world-class universities, our university will cover all fields of knowledge and its laboratories will be, for the vast majority, joint research units.
At its creation, it will be one of the four clusters with high international visibility in research and training alongside Sorbonne University, Paris Sciences et Lettres and Paris Saclay. Poles that will naturally work together as a result of the links forged between laboratories over the last decades.
Health and Earth sciences are the first fields in which the University of Paris will be internationally recognized from its inception. In health, it will be the first European university. The Institut de physique du globe de Paris, through its national missions and advanced research, is an international reference in its field. In addition, the Université de Paris will benefit from a very rich disciplinary wealth, from science to the humanities, supported by a very high level of research.
The links that the Université de Paris will maintain with public authorities and local authorities, in a reinforced dialogue, will enable it to develop its strategy to the full. It will assume its social responsibility and will be a major economic player in its territory with a local anchorage and a global influence:”Paris for its home port and the world for the horizon”.
What will enable the University de Paris to carry out an ambitious strategy?
This new university will be endowed with a global institutional strategy that will integrate the international dimension into the various facets of its activities. It will take into account regional and national issues: it will bring expertise to public authorities, inform and participate in social debates. It will thus have an influential strategy, based on the values of scientific research, which will make it a major player.
With a clear division of tasks between the role of central management strategist and the carrying of training and research policies by faculties, the Université de Paris will promote the deployment of quality services for the benefit of all. The creation of the new university will make it possible to conduct a coherent and comprehensive policy of shared services, research infrastructures and widen the range of training opportunities. The interdisciplinarity, which is already very strong within its constituent institutions, will be the breeding ground for innovation and new disciplines.
How does IdEx and the calls for projects of the PIA support your project?
The awarding of the Initiative d’ excellence (IdEx) label will help make the University of Paris more visible internationally and position it in a new relationship with public authorities. Thanks to him, it will be a privileged interlocutor that local and regional authorities will strive to support.
IdEx is also a significant source of funding that will enable the pursuit of LabEx (Laboratories of Excellence) and IDEFIs (Initiatives of Excellence in Innovative Training), the launch of new initiatives, support for innovative and creative approaches in training, research or serving its missions. It will support the smooth transformation of our institutions towards the University of Paris.
Obtaining IdEx financing is not an end in itself, but it will have a leverage effect that will accelerate the achievement of our ambitions. Its role will be very important in terms of the challenges we face.