The mission of the Department for Higher Education, Research and Innovation (Service Enseignement Supérieur, Recherche et Innovation - ESRI) include three main areas.
1. Keeping abreast of the UK science and technology sector
The Department watches, for the French Government and public and private research institutions, UK national and regional policies, public and institutional strategies as well as scientific and technological activities taking place in the research, development and innovation sectors.
This results in the production of documents related to STEMM (sciences, technologies, engineering sciences, mathematics and medicine) and their publication on our website and our social networks, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development website. In-depth reports on UK and French strategic and/or priority topics are also produced and published.
2. Promoting bilateral and multilateral scientific and technological cooperation
The Department fosters and facilitates bilateral R&D cooperation and collaborations between France and the UK, with an emphasis on those embedded in the European context (H2020, ERC, Interreg, COSME, etc.).
To achieve this, several tools are being managed by the Department:
- Funding for Seed Meetings: a biannual call for scientific projects aiming at strengthening and/or widening an existing bilateral collaboration between two research teams.
The selected proposals receive financial and logistic support for a 2-day meeting in London. Up to 20 participants can be welcomed for each of these meetings.
- Franco-British symposia: up to three large-scale scientific and/or technological events a year designed to gather key stakeholders of the research and innovation sectors in France and the UK. The aims are to foster exchanges and explore opportunities of cooperation and bilateral collaborations. Chosen topics fall into strategic priorities for both countries (for instance, a Franco-British symposium on composite materials was held in April 2015).
- Bilateral workshops: in partnership with British institutions (for instance University College London or the Royal Society of Edinburgh).
Those aim at fostering exchanges and collaboration opportunities.
- Institutional partnerships: agreements between the Department and British R&D flagship organisations.
Their purpose is to help French researchers to access high level infrastructures and research teams. Current British institutions include Eurofusion, Diamond and Cambridge University (in particular, a longstanding agreement with Churchill College).
3. Promoting French scientific and technological achievements
The Department invites French experts to the UK, and co-organises, or takes part in partnership with British research institutions in seminars and events targeting a non-specialist audience. High-level French scientists or entrepreneurs were thus offered the opportunity to speak about their work within prestigious institutions including the Royal Institution, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, University College London, Imperial College London and the Science Museum. The Department also maintains close ties with the Maison Française d’Oxford.
To be noted:
In 2013, the French Embassy launched a network of French scientists and engineers working in the UK. Dubbed CIFRU (Chercheurs et Ingénieurs Français au Royaume-Uni), this network is a privileged way for the Department to promote Franco-British scientific collaboration.
For further information, please contact us.